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Investment Management Corporation of Ontario upholds learning and development with courses on soft skills and technical topics.Provided

When a recruiter proposed a job interview with Investment Management Corporation of Ontario (IMCO), Melissa Dempsey says she was initially hesitant. Not only was she unfamiliar with the burgeoning organization, she already had two job offers in hand.

Nevertheless, Dempsey went to the interview with the Toronto-based institutional investor, where she met members of the team, learned how IMCO is a purpose-driven organization and came away with another job offer. This time there was no hesitating.

“When I heard about what IMCO’s building, I really wanted to be a part of that,” says Dempsey, who started in 2019 as an executive administrative assistant.

IMCO was founded in 2017 after the province determined that pooling the assets of Ontario’s broader public sector pension and benefit plans would help secure their long-term sustainability. Before that, there were more than 100 such plans, some too small to realize significant returns on their investments.

Today, IMCO administers over $73-billion annually on behalf of its clients. The voluntary membership includes Ontario government agencies and Crown corporations, colleges and universities, municipalities, and non-profit entities.

President and CEO Bert Clark, who’s been with IMCO since its inception, says his proudest achievement is the first-rate team the organization has put together.

“Toronto is a very competitive market,” he says, “yet we’ve been able to attract and retain a fantastic group of people – some of the brightest and most talented professionals in the business.”

Clark attributes that, in part, to IMCO’s purpose and values, its collaborative and caring workplace culture, and the unique niche it occupies in Toronto’s financial services sector. “We have a public purpose, but we operate like an entrepreneurial firm,” he says.

IMCO’s public-service mandate is to achieve the best possible returns on investments so clients can meet their financial obligations. “We make sure injured workers and pensioners are paid,” Clark says. “If those payments aren’t made, it can have serious ramifications.”

On the other hand, IMCO is quite different from public-sector employers, Clark says. Guided by an independent board of directors, the organization operates at arm’s length from government and receives no government financing. Able to make its own operational and professional decisions, IMCO is as nimble and innovative as any private sector firm when it comes to investment decisions, Clark says.

IMCO also invests in employee learning and development. Udemy, for example, is an online learning platform available to all employees. It offers hundreds of courses on key soft skills and technical topics such as project and product management, leadership, business operations, data science, cloud computing, cybersecurity, language learning and more.

Dempsey made good use of Udemy thanks to an internal job posting that excited her. With her manager’s encouragement and support, she successfully applied for the position of associate in the office of the chief investment officer. She’s now part of a team that ensures all the investment groups have the tools and resources they need to perform.

“I had a huge learning curve but the training is so thorough I acquired the daily skills and conceptual knowledge I needed,” she says. As chair of the social committee since 2020, Dempsey has also played a key role in fostering the collegial culture that makes IMCO so welcoming. She and a team of other volunteers plan a wide range of activities, from fun pub nights to successful fundraisers.

“So many people show up at these events,” Dempsey says. “That includes a lot of senior executives. It just shows what an amazing team we have here.”

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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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