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MCAN supports local organizations through kit-packing events in partnership with Troop.Provided

The last few years have been a test of agility for businesses. It’s proof of how well MCAN Financial Group passed this test that, in the middle of dealing with lockdowns and distance work, the Toronto-based company and its 124 full-time staff decided to rebrand from MCAN Mortgage Corporation.

“It really speaks to the confidence in our culture and the ability of people to lean in and help build something even bigger,” says Kim Mercer, director of corporate brand and marketing at the mortgage investment company. “It was a big swing in a fully remote environment, amid market uncertainty. We did it and it was very successful.”

“It might have seemed like an unconventional time to do it,” says Michelle Liotta, vice-president of human resources, “but we engaged all of our team members in reframing who we are and what our culture is.”

Liotta wasn’t working at the company at the time, but she was impressed by how MCAN and its team members rose to all these challenges. “The way MCAN moved to support its team members is a testament to the agility and personalized nature of a smaller platform.”

Home ownership is a volatile topic in Canada, and a company like MCAN has to respond quickly to the needs of its clients and partners. Close lines of communication in a small company help, according to Mercer.

“Many of us are homeowners and investors or aspire to be. And we understand how we might help Canadians achieve their own home ownership and investment goals, so it’s not like we’re in the business of something completely out of touch. We’re connected to our clients because we are them,” she says.

“These are the stories of real people. We all have a story. We all experience how the market can influence choices and opportunities. Because of the trust inherent in our small community, we have honest conversations. It inspires growth, innovation and empathy.”

This shows up in programs like MCAN ICON, where the company has gifted almost $250,000 in mortgage payments to clients across Canada. “When we go out to celebrate our clients with their free mortgage payments,” Mercer says, “everyone wants to be involved, from across the entire organization.

“I don’t know if that would happen in a bigger company. You wouldn’t have the benefit of those more informal lines of communication.”

This extends to the company’s charitable programs, many of which begin with suggestions from team members. Its support for Habitat for Humanity, for example, started with one employee’s volunteer work.

“Through our team member-run culture committee, ideas are formulated and activated. This team member’s passion aligned strongly with our mission and values as a company. We love having the opportunity to give back to the communities in which we live and serve.” says Liotta.

In a small company, accountability is critical. “We show up for the causes that connect us,” Liotta explains. The firm’s partnership with Troop, a community-based giving organization, has evolved to include in-person events, in addition to monthly online donations.

“Team members meet at our headquarters for kit-packing events aligned with the needs of local non-profits,” she says. “It’s been an amazing initiative that has pushed us off our computers and into action.”

Observes Mercer: “In a smaller company you get a lot of crossfunctional activity, more collaboration. There are very few people wearing one hat – there’s a lot of experimentation and diversity and innovation encouraged.”

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Advertising feature produced by Canada’s Top 100 Employers, a division of Mediacorp Canada Inc. The Globe and Mail’s editorial department was not involved.

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