Carmen Alpaerts

Carmen Alpaerts

Where: Invis Any Mortgage for You
Number of years spent in the business: Approximately 30 years

• Refinancing of a family-owned award-winning boutique winery in Niagara on The Lake, helping to reduce operating costs and allowing the expansion into health-related products.
• Assisted with original expansion of U.S Stouffer Hotel Chain into Canada by helping arrange financing for seven hotels.
• Helped with the Gulf Oil move back to Calgary (worked direct with Human Resource Manager).
• Teaching many realtors (holding seminars) to learn how to put a transaction requiring financing together.
• Holding first-time home-buyer seminars.
• Helped to start up a clinic for doctors by arranging their mortgage. They are now in the process of building a plaza.
• In 2013 was nominated for Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award and winner CMA Awards for best community service.
• I have won many awards from the brokerage firms I work with and from lenders for being top or one of the top producers in my region and in Canada.
• I am on the Mayor’s Economical Outlook Committee and the small business task force.
• I have been published in a few articles one in Our Home magazine on reverse mortgages.

What are some of the challenges that face female brokers?
When I started in this industry it was known as the “old boys’ club” and there are some who believe it still is. I was in Calgary running my own car reconditioning business and a lot of the major dealerships were my clients. I was in my early 20s so it was much tougher being a young woman with her own business in a man’s world.

The owner of the dealership used to bring his friends with their very fancy cars and ask me to give them a quick clean. They were very good tippers. One day the two owners of a mortgage company asked me to go for lunch to thank me for cleaning their cars. At that point I found out the dealership was being sold and the owner did not want to put me out of work so these two mortgage brokers offered me a job to learn how to be a broker.

I thought about it and sold my business to my brother and decided to be a mortgage broker. After learning a lot about the business I went on my first realtor call and they proceeded to ask me what I would give them in return for a deal (in a very sexist manner). One of the brokers I worked with always told me to go home and cook and clean as this was what women do and that the mortgage business is not for women.

I lasted because I thought I had as much right to be in this industry as they did. I feel that a lot of women may still look at the industry as the old boys’ club and are afraid to step up. I found mostly in the commercial world that most bosses and managers have been men used to dealing with men. I had to prove myself.

Why are you influential?
By interacting with prominent members of the community, I have built a reputation with major banks, trust companies, lending institutions and clients by being honest, transparent, loyal and ethical. Other mortgage brokers also send me deals or ask my advice as they know I get the deal done.

I have done community work throughout my whole career; from sitting on the board of Crime Stoppers, contributing to the Unity Project, the Heart and Stroke Foundation to belonging to Optimist Club. I also helped raise $97,000 with golf tournaments, turkey and ham raffles with a small group called John Scott Memorial. We took the money to Sunshine Foundation and we were able to take 76 children on a dream lift to Disney Florida in one day.

Under the Angels In The Night umbrella, we are raising the bar and going to the Namarind Friendship Centre to build them a new kitchen as they have a social on every Wednesday of the month and feed over 200 homeless people. This will all be funded and donated by local community businesses. The media seems to follow and show up to all my fundraisers; from CTV and major London news outlets to radio and small local papers. I believe that my business is successful because the community gives to me and it is only right to give back.

FSCO license: M08008850