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Business Brilliance: Chatting Community Engagement with SBA Vice President and BMO Business Banker Abbie Sizer McIntosh

Abbie Sizer McIntosh is an experienced banker with a notable background in community engagement and volunteerism. With a passion for fostering connections and supporting local initiatives, Abbie has dedicated significant time to various organizations, including the Women’s Business Network, the Stittsville Business Association, Stittsville Cooperative Nursery School, as well as various other community and academic volunteer pursuits. From 2017 to 2020, she served as a Director of BMO’s LGBTQ Employee Resource Group, demonstrating her commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace and advocating for diversity. Abbie is recognized for her dedication to creating spaces that celebrate and embrace diversity, including playing a key role in the National launch of BMO’s Gender Pronoun Initiative. In 2019, she was named ‘Emerging Leader of the Year’ by the Women’s Business Network.

We had a candid conversation with Abbie about her definition of success, continuous learning, ethical business practices, and community engagement, with a focus on the power of the Stittsville Business Association and how you can get involved.

SBA: Abbie, tell us about yourself.

ASM: With seven years of dedicated experience in the banking sector, specializing in small business banking, I bring a wealth of expertise in customer service, finance, and business. My academic foundation includes a Social Sciences degree from the University of Ottawa. My journey in professional leadership is marked by a significant role as the youngest president of the Women’s Business Network of the National Capital Region from 2020 to 2021, where I dedicated three years of voluntary service. I have been serving as the Vice President of the Stittsville Business Association since 2023. I am a Director on the board for the Stittsville Cooperative Nursery School. Giving back to my community is important to me and these experiences have honed my skills in strategic planning, collaboration, and fostering growth within organizations. Beyond my professional pursuits, my personal life revolves around my family. I am a proud mother of two young sons, aged 2 years and 8 months, and I am happily married to my husband who works for Amazon Web Services. Since 2008, Ottawa has been my home; and since 2020, we have been enjoying the vibrant community of Stittsville. My interests extend beyond the professional realm; I am an avid traveler (my most recent travels were to Saint Lucia) who appreciates diverse cultures and experiences. Additionally, I am passionate about healthy living and love spending time outdoors and preparing plant-based meals. As I continue to navigate the intersection of finance, leadership, and personal pursuits, I am dedicated to contributing meaningfully to both my professional and personal communities.

Abbie Sizer McIntosh (L) and Arpita Dar (R) holding the Gender Pronoun Signage displayed in BMO branches across Canada.

SBA: Let’s dive in. How do you define success?

ASM: Success, to me, is synonymous with happiness. It’s not just about achieving milestones but experiencing profound fulfillment on both personal and professional fronts, all while addressing a genuine need. I believe true success comes when you can authentically tap into your capabilities, performing at your optimal level across various facets of life. It’s the harmonious blend of personal growth, professional achievement, and contributing meaningfully to others that defines success.

SBA: What has been your recipe for success?

ASM: My recipe for success centers around a steadfast commitment to continuous learning. Wholeheartedly dedicated to personal growth, I’ve discovered that success is a result of taking small steps daily and maintaining consistency. I believe in embracing curiosity, urging oneself to be courageous in trying new things, even if there’s a chance of failure. By transforming fears of failure into opportunities for learning and growth, we pave the way for enduring success.

Abbie speaking at EmpowHER Professional Development Conference in 2019.

SBA: What will you never compromise on in business?

ASM: In business, there is one non-negotiable for me: ethics. I am unwavering in my commitment to doing what is right. Each day presents choices, and I choose to navigate them with integrity in both my personal and professional endeavors. This commitment manifests in various ways in my professional life—I prioritize punctuality, approach my positions and decision-making thoughtfully, confront challenging conversations without delay, tailor solutions to meet my clients’ needs, make tough decisions when necessary, and consistently act as a role model. Importantly, I hold myself accountable in those rare instances when things don’t go as planned, always striving to learn and improve.

SBA: What advice would you offer to someone just starting their own business?

ASM: For someone embarking on their entrepreneurial journey, my advice is to establish a robust business plan from the outset. This serves as a foundational tool for long-term success, providing clear goals, insights into the market/industry landscape, and strategies for achieving success. While creating a business plan is crucial, it’s equally important to acknowledge that this blueprint should undergo regular updates. This ensures its relevance in the face of evolving operations, changes in the market/industry, and unforeseen external factors, allowing for adaptability and sustained growth.

SBA: Why do you love being a part of the Stittsville Business Association?

ASM: Being a part of the Stittsville Business Association is meaningful to me for several reasons. First and foremost, I’ve long held a belief in the significance of championing local businesses. This not only bolsters the local economy by retaining money within our community but also contributes to job creation. From an environmental standpoint, supporting local businesses aids in minimizing our carbon footprint. On a personal level, I derive immense satisfaction from forging connections within my local community. Joining the SBA has been a deliberate choice for me, serving as a means to strengthen my ties to the community and contribute meaningfully. Simultaneously, it has proven instrumental in enhancing my professional profile, creating a harmonious blend of community engagement and professional development.

SBA: How has being a Stittsville Business Association member helped you thrive?

ASM: While on parental leave with my second child (8 months old), my affiliation with the Stittsville Business Association (SBA) has been invaluable. It has provided me with a platform to hone my professional skills, allowing for continuous growth even during this period. Being part of the SBA also offers me the opportunity to give back to a community that brings me immense joy. As someone who typically operates as an individual contributor in my career, involvement in the SBA has served as a pathway to develop and refine my leadership skills. It’s a dual benefit, contributing to my professional development while allowing me to make a positive impact on the community I cherish.

Board members Andrew Tricomi, Abbie Sizer McIntosh, Andrea Greenhous (L-R) featured in the Your Community Voice newspaper (Issue: Dec. 21/23).

SBA: What would you say to someone considering becoming a Stittsville Business Association member?

ASM: Firstly, the Stittsville Business Association (SBA) is an excellent platform for promoting your business in Stittsville, especially if it’s a home-based venture. Beyond that, the key takeaway is that your involvement is as rewarding as your contribution. For those with the capacity to volunteer, there are opportunities to join the board or engage in community service, fostering relationships with fellow business owners and professionals. Take advantage of the platform to share your promotions, events, and services. This not only benefits your business but also allows the SBA to spread the word to its members and the broader Stittsville community. Attend our events; we are actively planning more to enhance networking opportunities. Additionally, consider joining and actively participating in our member-only Facebook and LinkedIn groups. Giving us a follow on our social media pages is another way to stay connected and engage with the vibrant community we’ve built. The more you invest in the SBA, the more you’ll find it to be a dynamic and supportive resource for both your business and professional relationships.

Learn more about Abbie by checking out her LinkedIn profile.

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