About

We provide forward-looking solutions
to help our clients across the globe.

It’s all about
financial services
marketing.

When ext. was launched, we identified a growing trend in financial services. Companies like yours were overloaded and under-resourced, and you needed help. Today, the trend is even stronger.

But you wouldn’t entrust your marketing initiatives to just anyone. You need a partner with proven marketing expertise. A firm that lives and breathes financial services. With people who consistently deliver on your marketing and investment communications objectives, while adding great value along the way.

It’s all we do.
It’s in our DNA.

That’s why our clients count on us. We’re dedicated to supporting financial services companies like yours. Our job is to bring fresh ideas to the table and take a new angle or an elevated approach. Your message needs to be heard through the noise, be engaging and make an impact on your target audiences.

We make your life easier. We enhance your marketing capabilities. We provide bench strength whenever you need us. That’s why you keep coming back. Strong relationships are built on trust and respect. You appreciate what we do for you as much as we appreciate the opportunity to support your marketing needs.

Leading financial services marketing

Jillian BannisterCEO and Co-founderLearn More
Jillian Bannister
Jillian BannisterCEO and Co-founder

As CEO and Co-founder of ext., Jillian is responsible for the company’s business development and operations. At the highest level, Jillian leads and develops ext.’s long-term strategy. Drilling down, she is responsible for the day-to-day functioning of the company, including staffing, budgets, risk-management, systems and corporate citizenship. Jillian was Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter and has held senior marketing and sales roles at an early fintech company and Franklin Templeton Investments. Jillian has an Honours Bachelors of Arts from the University of Western Ontario as well as a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics.

Jason KlincansArt DirectorLearn More
Jason Klincans
Jason KlincansArt Director

Jason is Art Director at ext. He has more than 20 years of experience working with clients across a range of industries. He brings a passion for developing and executing highly effective marketing and brand identity campaigns across multiple platforms, including print, digital, signage, web and social media.

Within the financial industry, Jason’s previous work includes leading design projects for OMERS, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and CAAT Pension Plan. He excels at collaborating with and guiding other creative professionals to ensure that project goals exceed client expectations. Jason is a skilled communicator and enjoys working directly with clients to help achieve successful outcomes.

Richard HeftPresident and Co-founderLearn More
Richard Heft
Richard HeftPresident and Co-founder

As President and Co-founder of ext., Richard is responsible for the company’s business development and communications teams. Richard’s days are spent building ext. into a global leader in financial services marketing, as well as creating content that will get our clients’ messages in front of the right people – meaning everyone. Prior to ext., Richard ran a communications firm catering exclusively to the financials space, as well as occupying various marketing roles at some of the world’s largest financial services firms, including Dynamic Mutual Funds, TD Asset Management, Franklin Templeton Investments and John Hancock. When not in the office, Richard spends as much time as possible watching CNN to ensure he knows exactly what’s going on. The rest of the ext. team implores you to never talk politics or religion with this guy.

Guy Ben-AroyaDigital Account ManagerLearn More
Guy Ben-Aroya
Guy Ben-AroyaDigital Account Manager

As Digital Account Manager at ext., Guy brings a deep understanding of the digital landscape to all our clients.

Guy has over 20 years of experience working in digital space with a very strong focus on the financial sector. He has worked across a variety of digital platforms, including web development, email marketing, video production, digital advertising, social media and analytics analysis. Guy’s previous experience includes Director, Digital and eBusiness, Advisor Services at CIBC Asset Management, where he led a team working on a broad scope of digital projects. He was also Digital Marketing Manager at VenGrowth, where he worked on award-winning integrated campaigns.

When not at work, Guy spends his time with family and his two dogs.

Ira BergManaging Director, U.S.Learn More
Ira Berg
Ira BergManaging Director, U.S.

As Managing Director of ext.’s U.S. operations based out of our New York office, Ira leads our U.S. operations, including business development and marketing. He has extensive experience in the financial services industry, most recently as Chief Operating Officer (COO) and General Counsel (GC) of a Manhattan-based creative agency specializing in financial services. He has also served as COO, GC and Chief Compliance Officer of a hedge fund with $2 billion in regulatory assets under management. Trained as a lawyer, Ira’s marketing career spans almost 20 years. During this time, he acquired a deep knowledge of the traditional and alternative asset management industries, including hedge funds, private wealth, venture capital and private equity firms.

Andrew Broadhead, CIMHead of ContentLearn More
Andrew Broadhead, CIM
Andrew Broadhead, CIMHead of Content

As Head of Content at ext., Andrew plans, creates and manages content that is easy to find, understand and share. Andrew spends his days uniting excellent strategic thinking and engaging creative – and getting that output seen by the right people. In his previous role as Communications Manager, he launched ext.’s content and social efforts via blogging, newsletter, LinkedIn and Twitter. He’s also deeply familiar with the ins and outs of investment commentaries.

His previous experience encompasses a range of in-house positions, from the darkest and most demanding corners of the back office to the creative suite at one of the world’s largest investment managers, Invesco Ltd. Andrew sharpens his mental focus every day while cycling his single speed through the rough and tumble streets of Toronto.

Mark BrownSenior Director, CommunicationsLearn More
Mark Brown
Mark BrownSenior Director, Communications
Katie BrayJunior Account ManagerLearn More
Katie Bray
Katie BrayJunior Account Manager

Katie Bray is a Junior Account Manager on the Accounts team at ext., Katie plays a key role at our company in ensuring workback schedules are followed and projects stay on track. She is also in regular contact with ext.’s clients, making sure their experience working with our firm is consistently positive.

Katie graduated from St. Francis Xavier University in 2018 with a BA in Political Science. Her previous work experience includes her first internship at ext. in 2017, where she learned the ins and outs of agency life and the financial services marketing world, including communications and account management. When Katie is not catching up on current news, she is usually shopping for the latest fashion trends

Martin DessureauxConsulting Creative DirectorLearn More
Martin Dessureaux
Martin DessureauxConsulting Creative Director

As Consulting Creative Director at ext., Martin brings creative and design leadership to all our clients. Martin is bilingual (French and English) and has over 20 years of experience building brands locally and globally. His work spans across a variety of creative platforms, including digital, video, social, print, TV and experiential, in industries from financial services to fashion, tourism, consumer packaged goods and automotive. Martin’s previous experience includes Creative Director at Y&R/GTB Canada, where he mentored a team of 12 creatives and led award-winning campaigns for the company’s Ford Canada business. He also recently did work for The Toronto-Dominion Bank. His work has been recognized by Applied Arts, NAA, Cassies, Summit Awards, Promo! Awards and more.

George Di FalcoSenior WriterLearn More
George Di Falco
George Di FalcoSenior Writer

As Senior Writer at ext., George turns a wide range of financial concepts into sharp, compelling copy. He spends much of his day delivering content that underscores the financial innovations and benefits that ext. clients bring to the industry. From new website launches to in-depth white papers, George covers a spectrum of writing projects and plays a key part in shaping marketing campaigns. George began his career as a journalist, writing for a number of trade publications and financial magazines, and later switched gears into the world of financial services marketing. His roles with major household names include CIBC and BMO Nesbitt Burns. If he finds a shred of time between his work at ext. and running after his two young daughters, he’ll hit the mountain bike trails or challenge a neighbour to some hoops. He’s still working on a deep three.

Ilda FidaAccount ManagerLearn More
Ilda Fida
Ilda FidaAccount Manager

As an Account Manager at ext., Ilda supports our clients and internal teams as they produce content, marketing and communications that deliver.

Before joining ext., Ilda worked at an advertising agency in both finance and marketing roles. There she played a strategic role in providing support to redefine how finance and accounts supported the business in achieving near-term and long-term objectives. Ilda started her career at CIBC Mellon where she worked in investment accounting and focused on mutual funds and hedge funds. Ilda studied International Relations at Assumption College in Massachusetts and later continued her studies in Economics at York University.

Ilda has been an active volunteer from the age of 14. Currently, she sits on the ACE Society board. When not at ext., Ilda likes to bike and explore different places around the city, and then pack up and travel around Europe.

Vanessa FocklerProject ManagerLearn More
Vanessa Fockler
Vanessa FocklerProject Manager

As Project Manager at ext., Vanessa works within the Project Management Office (PMO) to manage and deliver the design, production and development of projects. She coordinates with Account Managers and collaborates with internal team members to deliver completed projects on time, on specification and on budget. Vanessa also manages ext.’s CRM & Project Management systems. She helps to maintain the sites’ data integrity. She also tests and implements new processes and features, as well as manages project openings, change request and closing processes.

Vanessa’s previous experience includes five years of customer service and back-office work at Scotiabank, two years in administrative, donor relations and marketing roles at Tyndale University in North York, and four years as ext’s Office Manager. Vanessa’s focus outside of work is international development and music. She likes to educate herself in current global development issues and learn how she can help make an impact on alleviating poverty in a sustainable way. Vanessa also loves playing guitar and piano, singing, and recording covers and original music.

Rebecca JanSenior WriterLearn More
Rebecca Jan
Rebecca JanSenior Writer

As Senior Writer at ext., Rebecca applies her extensive industry knowledge to provide our clients with creative, original ideas. She helps them convey often complex financial information in client-friendly formats to successfully drive key business outcomes.

Rebecca’s diverse financial services experience dates back to the dark ages on the client administration side, she’s worked for a Canadian market regulator focused on investor advocacy and also has 15 years under her belt as an in-house writer for various global investment managers where she was responsible for the kitchen sink of communications deliverables for both print and online.

To the chagrin of her parents and her social life, Rebecca has a degree in English lit, is an avid bird watcher and buys newspapers just to do the crossword.

Brenda SpieringSenior WriterLearn More
Brenda Spiering
Brenda SpieringSenior Writer

As Senior Writer at ext., Brenda specializes in transforming complex financial information into client-friendly content to engage readers, boost brands and drive leads.

Brenda brings a wealth of industry experience, having started her career as a personal finance columnist before moving over to become the founding editor of several award-winning digital content marketing platforms for large U.S. and Canadian financial services companies.

Her extensive background includes the development of targeted, plain-language content for social media platforms, e-books, blogs and newsletters.

In her free time, Brenda enjoys gardening, kayaking and spending time with her family and three sons.

Mona MohammadDirector, Client AccountsLearn More
Mona Mohammad
Mona MohammadDirector, Client Accounts

As Director of Client Accounts at ext., Mona helps our clients accomplish their marketing goals. Her responsibilities also include managing members of our Accounts team.

Mona spends her days meeting and strategizing with clients, helping them formulate and then achieve their marketing objectives and visions. She manages client marketing projects, working as a liaison between her clients and the ext. teams. Her main goal is to ensure our clients are happy, and she will do whatever it takes to make their projects successful and lives a little easier.

Mona started off her career at TD Auto Finance, before moving on to Invesco where she spent over eight years in various roles in both Sales and Marketing. Most recently, Mona worked at an advertising agency as an Account Executive before coming to ext. Mona is a huge Toronto Raptors fan. She spends her free time trying new restaurants, reading fashion blogs, watching the NBA and researching where her next big trip will be.

Sanjeev SharmaStudio ManagerLearn More
Sanjeev Sharma
Sanjeev SharmaStudio Manager

Sanjeev is Studio Manager at ext. He brings with him over 10 years of experience. In his current role he manages budgets, timelines, workback schedules, and estimates for print, broadcast and digital deliverables. Sanjeev manages a team of designers, developers and project managers, works directly with vendors and clients, and implements workflows and processes.

Sanjeev’s previous experience includes launching integrated marketing and communications campaigns, loyalty and promotional programs, sales collateral and direct mail campaigns, media campaigns, interactive and social media programs, as well as web and e-commerce initiatives.

When not at work, Sanjeev loves to spend his time with family and friends.

Allison WilsonHuman Resources LeadLearn More
Allison Wilson
Allison WilsonHuman Resources Lead

As the Human Resources Lead for ext., Allison spends her time supporting employees and leaders with not only their day-to-day HR needs, but also provides strategic guidance on the growth, development and engagement of ext. employees. Allison has over 15 years of experience in Human Resources, partnering with leaders in firms such as Morningstar, Manulife and ZoomerMedia. Allison plays a key role in building the ext. culture, in establishing the framework to ensure ext. continues to be set up for exceptional employee development. Allison is a trusted advisor and member of the Senior Leadership Team.

When Allison isn’t working in HR, she works as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and a Yoga Therapist. Allison has a passion for food and its healing abilities, and the practice of yoga as a tool for creating balance and connection in our lives.

Lauren CainGraphic DesignerLearn More
Lauren Cain
Lauren CainGraphic Designer

As a Graphic Designer at Ext., Lauren brings creative ideas to life through print and digital materials. Lauren attended George Brown College’s School of Design in Toronto, Ontario, where she obtained an honours certificate in Art & Design Foundations, as well as an honours diploma in Graphic Design. Soon after graduating, Lauren started as a junior design intern at Ext., and has since become a full-time member of our team.

Before Ext., Lauren worked as a freelance designer and for George Brown’s IN Studio and Web Design team. When she’s not tackling design problems, she’s usually trying to get away from her computer screen. Lauren loves spending time outdoors, creating art, and catching up with friends and family.

John SeeleyProject Manager and Analyst, Investment CommunicationsLearn More
John Seeley
John SeeleyProject Manager and Analyst, Investment Communications

As Project Manager and Analyst, Investment Communications at ext., John helps financial firms navigate the complexities of producing investment commentaries. John spends his days ensuring investment commentaries are completed on time and on budget for ext.’s clients. He also acts as a knowledge hub at ext., tracking and updating the ext. team on economic and industry news. He writes a monthly macroeconomic newsletter and monitors the global regulatory landscape to deepen ext.’s industry insights. John’s previous work experience encompasses a variety of positions at multiple financial firms, including John Hancock, Manulife Financial, Scotiabank and CIBC. John stays active by playing hockey a couple of times a week, along with some early – very early – morning runs.

Laurie LuptonVice President of Accounts & Client StrategyLearn More
Laurie Lupton
Laurie LuptonVice President of Accounts & Client Strategy

Laurie is Vice President of Accounts & Client Strategy. She leads a team of the financial sector’s top account managers and ext.’s creative studio.

Laurie is recognized for building, transforming and promoting leading financial services brands, including Manulife, HSBC and Merrill Lynch. Her deep financial, capital and regulatory expertise has helped to drive informed strategies, strong execution and measurable results. Prior to joining ext., Laurie led Global Marketing for Manulife Asset Management. Her previous positions at Manulife included Managing Director of Investment Communications, AVP of Corporate Communications and Social Media, and Director of Brand Communications. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto, and has completed her Canadian Securities Course and Partners, Directors and Officers Exam. More recently she earned her Diplome d’etudes en langue français and completed Ivey’s Investor Relations Program.

Outside of the office, Laurie is a runner and a sometimes-successful gardener.

Naomi HamersleyDirector, CommunicationsLearn More
Naomi Hamersley
Naomi HamersleyDirector, Communications

As Director, Communications at ext., Naomi provides strategic communications and marketing counsel to help clients achieve their objectives. She specializes in creative solutions and skillful project execution to help organizations connect with their customers and stakeholders.

Naomi is a seasoned marketing and communications professional with over 20 years of experience in financial services. Prior to joining ext., Naomi held increasingly senior marketing and corporate communications roles at Sun Life where she gained experience across a diverse range of disciplines including, product marketing, thought leadership and content strategy, external and internal communications, and sales enablement. Her most recent role was leading the marketing and communications function for Sun Life’s defined benefit pension team. Naomi has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism from Ryerson University.

Katie McManamonAccount AssociateLearn More
Katie McManamon
Katie McManamonAccount Associate

As Account Associate at Ext., Katie’s daily duties include supporting Account Managers, assisting on projects and helping with client communications. Prior to joining Ext., Katie spent six years in customer service and cash office administration within a large retail chain. Upon moving to Canada from Ireland in 2019, she began working at Cision. She spent two years as Office Administrator, where she helped with day-to-day operations and supported teams throughout the company.

Katie attended the National University of Ireland, Galway where obtained a BA in Geography & Economics, followed by a post graduate diploma in Business Studies. Outside of work, Katie likes to stay active – you’ll find her trying out a different sport any chance she gets! Otherwise, she spends her time catching up with family and friends.

Sandy WongVice President, CommunicationsLearn More
Sandy Wong
Sandy WongVice President, Communications

As Vice President, Communications at ext., Sandy is a seasoned marketer and content strategist who has spent nearly 18 years working in the financial services industry. Equally at home on Wall Street, Bay Street or Burrard Street, she has run successful campaigns for respected wealth managers, including Philips, Hager and North; Franklin Templeton Investments; and RBC.

Sandy has helped brands ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 firms get noticed. She has worked extensively with conventional mutual funds, ETFs, venture capital, private equity, SRI and ESG solutions, and alternative investments. Having led high-octane creative teams, she knows a thing or two about how ideation turns into return on investment. When she’s not working, Sandy ensures her passport is well worn – and can often be spotted in airport waiting areas with two small children in tow.

Laiyal YassawiDirector, Relationship ManagementLearn More
Laiyal Yassawi
Laiyal YassawiDirector, Relationship Management

As Director, Relationship Management at ext., Laiyal spends her days speaking to ext.’s clients located around the world, ensuring deadlines are met and the quality of our commentaries and work is exceptional, as well as keeping all our valued relationships strong.

Over the years, she’s played a crucial role in developing this side of ext.’s business. Laiyal’s previous experience is a special one here at ext. She started as an Intern and stayed with the company as a Regulatory Coordinator while in school. Once she graduated, she became a Project Manager before moving into the role of Regulatory Manager and Director of Investment Communications. When she’s not crushing it at ext., Laiyal’s either working her way through the menu at a hip restaurant or binge-watching TV shows.