The ability to relate continues to be an underappreciated skill. Popularity can be achieved from halfway across the world while sitting behind a computer screen. In our ever-developing world, we are becoming closer by staying farther apart. But there are still a few that break the mould. Serena Cheng is one of them.

As an investment advisor at Richardson GMP, a leading, independent wealth management firm, serving Canada’s most successful families and entrepreneurs,  Serena meets with people every day. She speaks with them face to face. She learns about their lives, their accomplishments, and their dreams in order to help them plan their financial future. As she says to her clients, “the most important thing is to find what you’re passionate about and make it a part of your life and livelihood.” If you want to send your kids to private school, if you want to travel the world, or if you want to retire in Florida, Serena helps marry personal milestones with finances.

Due to the intimate nature of her work, Serena is accustomed to getting involved with people’s personal lives. But her work gives her the ability to connect with Toronto and others at large. She has the opportunity to get involved with various charitable projects and fundraising activities, including the “Holiday Groove,” which Serena has helped organize for over 15 years. She is also active in the arts and food scene, developing relationships with emerging artists and restaurateurs.

Serena also serves as an amazing role model for women in the workforce. Whether its young women facing new challenges and the pressures of the workforce or women planning for retirement, Serena understands their concerns and helps them through.

The advice Serena gives is based on her personal experiences. She understands that everyone makes mistakes, but stresses that you have to learn from them. As an investment advisor whose focus is on the development and implementation of customized solutions for clients encompassing financial, tax, estate, philanthropic and succession planning strategies, Serena has seen even the best plans go off course based on unexpected events. Only when she can help someone realize that nothing ever goes exactly as planned, can Serena focus on what truly makes you happy. Only then can you develop your life, your goals and your plan based on your true principles and motivations. By meeting more people and getting to understand their joys and struggles, Serena has a rare empathy and openness for people.

The sense of understanding others comes from understanding herself. Serena practices what she preaches. She has adjusted her goals many times based on circumstances. Serena has long been hard-working and motivated. But she has gone through many personal achievements and challenges, which have shaped her perspective on life and of herself. From the teachings life has given her, Serena has realized that nothing really ever happens the way you plan it. Therefore, you have to live for what truly makes you happy. For Serena Cheng, the people and things she loves allow her to achieve the things she wants and to do something she believes in, developing relationships and helping people in whatever way she can.