22 Oct

15 Years of Kiva

Fifteen Years of Kiva

Kiva just turned 15 and featured the AF Kiva Project as one of their stories of impact from around the world! We’re so grateful to Kiva, their field partners, and of course all our generous lenders. Thanks to you, we’re on track to hit $1 MILLION in loans by the end of 2020! Watch Danielle’s interview below, and check out Kiva’s page for more.



28 Jan

The biggest challenge

Making room at the table for women in this industry.

16 Jan

Giving Globally and Locally: Introducing Kiva 250

Giving Globally and Locally: Introducing Kiva 250

We have some exciting things to announce at the top of this new decade. Firstly, we’ve now loaned over $850,000 to women in the Global South through our Kiva project. Secondly, we launched a new component of the program in 2019 that we’d like to tell you about: Kiva 250.

To integrate social giving further into the fibre of our business, we now automatically loan $250 for every insurance policy we sell. In 2019, we settled over 230 new policies, which means we added almost $60,000 to the total lent last year, thanks to clients like you!

75% of you have also chosen to keep your money in the lending pot, rather than accepting repayment at the end of the loan year. This means we’re able to re-loan the money to new entrepreneurs, exponentially grow the program and do a whole lot of good.

Thanks to your generosity, we’re hoping to hit one million dollars lent in 2020. Can you believe it?! We can’t!


It’ll be a close call, but with your help, we can celebrate this milestone. It’s beyond what we ever dreamed for this project.

That’s what we’re doing on the global level. At the local level, we’ve also decided to donate an additional $250 for every policy bought by Bowen Island clients to the Foxglove Fund, our endowed fund through the Bowen Island Community Foundation that provides bursaries for the Bowen Children’s Centre.

More information about the Foxglove Fund and the Kiva Project can be found here.

29 Oct

Kiva is Celebrating the Big Billion!

Kiva is Celebrating the Big Billion!

This month, Kiva celebrated hitting 1 billion dollars in micro-loans to women across the Global South. And we at AF are celebrating that over $800,000 of that billion was lent by our community! Thanks to the generosity of our lenders, we’re looking forward to hitting the 1 million mark in the coming months! This is beyond what we ever thought was possible.

We couldn’t agree more with Kiva when they say: “Lenders like you continue to prove that fueling her future means fueling our future. Investing in women is one of the strongest levers we can use to advance global development for everyone. When we uplift women, we uplift entire communities.”

23 Jun

Words on Words


This month I’ve been reflecting on the importance of language. We rely so heavily on words – they’re the building blocks of everything. And yet there’s so much potential for miscommunication based on the different connotations we all have with certain words. Language can determine whether an environment is exclusive or welcoming, uncomfortable or respectful, volatile or productive. And, since our speech is so ingrained and habitual, it’s also a clear revealer of our unconscious biases.

Our team recently had a discussion about the kind of language that bothers us as female professionals. Much of what came up was what this article (a great resource!) refers to as “benevolent sexism.” These are words, such as terms of endearment, that “may seem polite or harmless, but […] undermine authority and impact perceptions about women’s competence.” As a team of all women, we often get called “girls,” and terms like “sweetie” are pretty commonplace.

I find this language belittling, particularly from men I don’t have a personal relationship with. And while it’s not (usually) intended this way, intent is not the same as impact. Gendered words that get used in the workplace don’t exist in a vacuum – they reinforce sexist attitudes and structural power imbalances that affect women’s livelihoods.

Another thing I’ve also noticed is the discrepancy between the words used to describe male and female leaders in our industry (similar to what’s described in this article). This may seem trivial, but when you think about how it correlates with the low percentage of women in the industry, particularly in leadership positions, it takes on a deeper significance.

Language is one of the easiest ways we can show respect, yet there is often a feeling of resistance when a person or group of people asks us to change the words we use. Some of you may have even felt resistant or defensive reading this post. Trust me, I get it! I feel the same way when I learn that words I use are causing harm.

Language feels like a difficult thing for all of us to change, but we really can re-train ourselves. It’s about having the humility to admit when we’re wrong, the vulnerability to ask, and the empathy to make the effort.

28 May

AF Gets Sporty

This month the AF team has been gearing up to participate in the annual Motionball Of Sport tournament on June 1st, which raises funds and awareness for Special Olympics Canada.


We’ll be competing as Team Office Space (high five if you love this movie as much as I do), teaming up with local Special Olympics BC athletes to compete in a whirlwind of sports – soccer, football, basketball, you name it!


Even Ross will be playing in the tournament, and I, for one, can’t wait to see what he calls “the iceberg” (his athletic foundations, laid in his UBC Phys Ed. days) out on the field. Stay tuned for photos of that.


The idea to have an AF Motionball team was brought forward by our Product Design Associate, Megan, who stepped up and got the whole team on board, coordinating the initiative and supporting us all in our own fundraising efforts.


Meg came to me with the Motionball idea after she participated a couple years ago with her friends, under AF’s sponsorship. She told me that the tournament day was one of most fun days of her life, and that it was full of positive, inclusive vibes and cool people. This year she wanted to get more people involved and make a bigger impact. It sounded like a fantastic opportunity for the team to have some fun and do some good, so I said yes!


Megan has been so on top of the project, and so supportive of everyone’s individual fundraising efforts. It’s honestly been really inspiring to see a close friend and team member take this kind of initiative, and to see her show such beautiful and fun leadership for something she cares about.


With the big tournament coming up this weekend, we’re still accepting donations to our team page! You do that here.


I’m so excited for the tournament, and can’t wait to see what other projects and team-building opportunities other AF team members cook up in future!

08 Mar

Let’s Make International Women’s Day Count

Danielle Allan Reflects…

International Women’s Day feels different this year to me than it has before. Like it carries more weight. The world is shifting. We hear voices and stories that we likely didn’t before. This year I’ve been privy to far more conversations among women who belong to different communities than me, who look different than I do, and who have drastically different experiences of the world. With movements like #metoo being so central in the social consciousness, I’ve been reflecting on the need for allyship and accountability in all corners of my life, from personal to professional.

I’m often surrounded by wonderful, thoughtful, kind men. Men who want to support women; support their families; support each other. But it’s no secret that the life insurance industry is an old boys’ club. It hasn’t held space for non-traditional, non-masculine ways of operating and doing business. It has, intentionally or not, excluded women and minorities from being in positions of power and influence. And it has made it even harder to feel that we belong in those positions once we fight hard enough to get there. Ask any woman in this industry, and she’ll have a mental rolodex of stories about being undermined, disregarded, or sexualized as she’s moved through professional interactions. Account for layers like race or sexual orientation, and you’ll hear about distinct sets of barriers and biases that she faces in her day-to-day.

A year ago today, I was attending an industry conference in Vancouver. In a full day of panels and speakers, I only saw two women on the stage. I saw no women in the banners and marketing materials surrounding me. I saw many women in the room who deserve to be celebrated and learned from. International Women’s Day was mentioned once, in passing. This was a missed opportunity, and one that stuck with me and motivated me to do things differently.

Allan Financial is in a unique situation having so many women on our team, but this in itself doesn’t mean we don’t have work to do. We’re just now starting an intentional and meaningful conversation about how we can strive for equality and diversity, both within our company and in our community at large.

There’s so much opportunity for growth here, and this kind of growth stands to benefit everyone. This isn’t about pointing fingers or tearing anyone down. It’s about ensuring that no one is silenced for fear of losing their job. It’s about showing up for each other, engaging in compassionate conversation, and creating much-needed change. This change is already happening, across industries and all over the world. It’s just a matter of getting on board.

So, Happy International Women’s Day, everyone! Let’s make it count.

17 Aug

Hold My Avocado: Life Lessons from a Millennial

Recently, I was recognized by my alma mater, Island Pacific School, for my work on the Allan Financial Kiva Project. If you want the full story, this short documentary tells it beautifully. We started in 2013 with a $25,000 loan from Allan Financial. Then, our team pitched hundreds of clients, business partners and friends to lend with us. The response was overwhelming: we reached our goal of $250,000 of impact in under two years.

I’m proud to say that as of last month, the project has seeded over $500,000 of microloans to female entrepreneurs around the world!

I’ve learned two important life lessons here:

  1. The importance of surrounding myself with people who inspire and challenge me.My family, friends, coaches, and mentors have seen things in me that I couldn’t. Time spent with these people motivates me to become a better version of myself. The team who co-founded the Kiva Project were this for me. What we accomplished together far exceeded what our individual efforts ever could have. Who are these people in your life? Write down three names. Right now. Hang out with these people!
  2. How to find ‘the sweet spot.’ That is when things I’m good at and passionate about overlap with a way to meaningfully serve others.Through the Kiva Project, I identified skills that make me ME – consulting my people from life lesson #1 whenever I felt stuck. I then developed those skills and abilities within a platform that I knew was making a positive impact. Where are these intersections for you? What inkling did you just dismiss in your mind? If you’re having a hard time finding an opportunity that fits, create one!

This project was aimed at female entrepreneurs around the world, but we are beginning to work on something very local. In fact, it might even impact your family!

If you’d like to be kept updated on this, just send an email to thinklocal@allanfinancial.com.

10 Mar

Team Building with a Mission

While we knew that raising funds for services for homeless youth would have an impact for them, we never imagined how this experience would be felt by our team.

15 Feb

Revive Your Firm

Most of us have had to go through reinvention at some point in our lives, and while it is never an easy path, we always knew it was crucial for us to remaining relevant.

We’re pretty pleased, and honestly, a bit amazed, to have such a high profile feature. We hope you enjoy seeing a bit of a behind-the-scenes view of Allan Financial. Read the full article from Forum Magazine, Revive Your Firm.



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