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.

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
Elaine CoombesGraphic DesignerLearn More
Elaine Coombes
Elaine CoombesGraphic Designer

Elaine is a graphic designer at ext. She is a seasoned designer with over 25 years of experience in communications and creative services.

Elaine has built her career focusing on the financial services industry, providing communications and design support to marketing and product teams. Her past roles include Senior Graphic Designer at Maritime Life and Royal & SunAlliance, and Manager of Art Design at Bridgehouse Asset Managers. Elaine successfully operated her own design company, Graphic Gun, for eight years before joining ext.

In her spare time, Elaine enjoys reading, writing and gallivanting with her friends, family and dog … anything to avoid housework!

Martin DessureauxCreative DirectorLearn More
Martin Dessureaux
Martin DessureauxCreative Director

As 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 FocklerOffice Manager & Executive Assistant to CEOLearn More
Vanessa Fockler
Vanessa FocklerOffice Manager & Executive Assistant to CEO

As Office Manager & Executive Assistant to the CEO at ext., Vanessa ensures that ext. is operating smoothly, from managing the accounting functions and various technologies we use to running effective meetings. On top of helping with the day-to-day operations at ext., she also provides vital support for the account management and executive teams. Vanessa’s previous experience includes five years of customer service and back office work at Scotiabank. She then moved on to administrative, donor relations and marketing roles at Tyndale University in North York. Vanessa’s focus outside of work is playing guitar, singing, as well as recording covers and original music. She loves to collaborate with other musicians to create new material and put her own spin on songs.

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 MohammadAccount ManagerLearn More
Mona Mohammad
Mona MohammadAccount Manager

As Account Manager at ext., Mona helps our clients accomplish their marketing goals.

Mona spends her days meeting and strategizing with clients, helping them formulate and then achieve their marketing objectives and visions. She works as a liaison between her clients and ext.’s content and creative teams. Her main goal is to ensure our clients are happy, and she will do whatever it takes to make their 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.

Stefani SanticAccount ManagerLearn More
Stefani Santic
Stefani SanticAccount Manager

As Account Manager at ext., Stefani manages projects for clients, coordinating all resources required to make marketing dreams comes true. Stefani spends her days maintaining a high level of service for ext.’s existing clients. Her priority is ensuring our clients are happy, and she’ll do whatever it takes to achieve this. She is also responsible for managing workflows and work back schedules. Stefani comes from an entrepreneurial background, helping small businesses grow into large, successful ones. She also started her own successful catering business, building it into one that serviced more than 50 clients on a weekly basis. Stefani spends her free time visiting local farmers’ markets in search of seasonal produce to use in her next big recipe idea.

Kimberly GiammarcoAccount Manager, Investment CommunicationsLearn More
Kimberly Giammarco
Kimberly GiammarcoAccount Manager, Investment Communications

Kimberly is an Account Manager at ext., where she manages accounts that are related to investment communications, while also developing and maintaining strong relationships with clients.
Kimberly spends her days managing commentary production, ensuring tight deadlines are met, working through excel spreadsheets and speaking with clients.

Kimberly’s previous experience includes working in the mortgage industry for Home Trust Company. There, she held multiple positions within different departments including underwriting, funding and underwriting operations. She previously worked for ext. as an Investment Communications Coordinator and decided she loved it here so much she would return as an Account Manager.

Kimberly is a proud homebody and loves everything to do with her home. In her free time, she loves furnishing and decorating, doing DIY projects and/or some kind of renovation. You will always find her up to something new. She also loves to entertain and host, enjoying nothing more than a table of food surrounded by family and friends!

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.

Katarina UlsrudAccount AssociateLearn More
Katarina Ulsrud
Katarina UlsrudAccount Associate

Katarina is an Account Associate at ext., where she works alongside the Accounts team to manage projects and ensure great client experiences. Katarina spends her days meeting clients, preparing proposals and budgets as well as keeping projects on track. She also helps kick-off projects, creates sales presentations and makes sure our clients are happy.

Katarina graduated from the University of Toronto in 2019 with a Bachelor of Commerce. During her time at U of T, Katarina served as Vice President and Financial Vice President of her sorority. In these roles, she gained valuable financial and leadership experience. Katarina likes to spend her free time with family and friends. She’s an avid skier and loves being outdoors.

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, Investment CommunicationsLearn More
Laiyal Yassawi
Laiyal YassawiDirector, Investment Communications

As Director, Investment Communications 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 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. 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.

Thomas YeungSenior EditorLearn More
Thomas Yeung
Thomas YeungSenior Editor

As Senior Editor at ext., Thomas leverages his experience in investment management and media to provide top-quality communications to companies in the financial services industry. With responsibilities ranging from regulatory and investment commentaries to marketing campaigns, Thomas strives to ensure maximum clarity and usability of content in our ever-evolving industry. He began his career as a journalist before moving to finance. Before joining ext., he held a Supervising Editor role in the marketing group at Franklin Templeton Investments. In his spare time, you can often find Thomas checking out the theatre scene in Toronto and New York City, or working on his ballroom dancing skills. He looks forward to the Tony Awards one day instituting a participation trophy.