It’s almost too common for mortgage professionals to come from the banking world, but that isn’t the case for Hali Strandlund. One of the most recognizable faces in the Canadian mortgage industry, Strandlund began her career as a realtor who had a background in property management, investing, land development, and construction.
Strandlund’s father is Wayne Strandland, who founded Fisgard Asset Management—where she’s the senior vice president of mortgage broker relations—inspired her to pursue careers throughout real estate. She credits captivating dinner table conversations about the mortgage industry for beckoning her to a true calling.
“He told me to be involved with the dirt—whether I’m developing it, building it, financing it, finding a way to rent it out, or appraising it—to be involved somehow in the dirty and I will always have employment and opportunity, and he’s right, we live on a planet with billions of people who need someplace to live. So my family has always been involved in real estate in one way or another.
“I became better on the lending side than as a real estate sales person. It just wasn’t my thing, but having these experiences in construction, land development, and land valuation has made me a much better lender. But, being philosophical, my father, who’s a legend in B.C. and in finance, led me to do all of those things.”
The mortgage industry has long been male-dominated, however, that’s begun changing and Strandlund, an industry icon, is part of the new guard. In 2013, Strandlund was named among the 100 most powerful women in Canada by Women’s Executive Network—“That was incredible because there was an astronaut on that list. Then a woman who was a general in the Canadian army, and then there’s Hali from Fisgard”—and she’s been named a CMP Woman of Influence four times.
“I think it’s awesome and humbling. I have followed in the footsteps of other great women, like Kathy Gregory, but you have to have someone lead the charge and I’m a very ‘why not’ person. I grew up in a family business where we thankfully didn’t have any glass ceiling, so I was very much a soldier, and I believe you have to go through that before becoming the general. I am a trailblazer, but I certainly didn’t do it alone. You hear about people like me without hearing about the generation before me.”