Brescia University College alumna Nicole Ewing ’01, confidently affirms that the secret to her success is that she never self-selects out and won’t allow notions like imposter syndrome or fear of rejection stand in her way. Ready or not, the passionate financial leader has always made it a point to open those doors available to her — knowing that she will grow through moments of insecurity and become comfortable in times of discomfort.

Nicole wasn’t always so confident though. “I was a troubled kid. I flunked classes, had my fair share of trips to the principal’s office, and dropped out of not one, not two, but three high schools.” She says that she may have even been expelled, though to be honest, she couldn’t have been bothered to confirm it at the time. She just stopped going. She was preoccupied. Preoccupied with figuring out where she was going to sleep. How she was going to come up with bus fare to get to work. What she was going to eat.

She eventually graduated and landed a job at a local factory. Thrilled to be earning $2 more than minimum wage, she packed cups for 12 hours a day. After a few months, she joined the janitorial team, then worked on one of the factory machines. But she knew she was meant for something more.

With the help of a guidance counsellor, she created a plan to get herself into university. One year later, she was accepted to Brescia, with the highest scholarship available, after working hard to bring her grades up to a previously unimaginable 93 percent.

Nicole graduated from Brescia with an honours degree in Philosophy and carried the school’s flag at her graduation ceremony — an honour reserved for the recipient of the gold medal! “Earning that gold medal was my proudest personal accomplishment. It was my North Star. Until now.”

Brescia recently awarded Nicole with the Professional Mentoring Program Mentor of the Year Award and the 2021 Carmelle Murphy Alumnae Award of Distinction. “I am humbled and yet so proud… of 20 year-ago me. The one who gave 44-year-old me the opportunity to give back. To share my experiences, my wins and losses, to guide another young woman on her journey.”

Today, Ewing lives in Ottawa, Ontario and serves as the National Director, Tax and Estate Planning at TD Wealth. In addition to her rewarding career at TD Wealth, and her mentoring work at Brescia, Nicole also proudly serves as the Deputy Chair of the Ottawa Branch of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and as Deputy Chair of STEP Canada’s Awards Committee.

Nicole says that the experience of mentoring is a professional and personal highlight. That she’s made life-long friends who she can celebrate, learn with, and console as they forge their own paths. An ardent supporter of women’s education and leadership, Ewing believes in the power and importance of supporting the next generation of women leaders and encourages Brescia’s students to: “Be bold. Be brave. Be prepared.”

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