Kerri-Lynn McAllister, CMO, Ratehub.ca

Kerri-Lynn McAllister, CMO, Ratehub.ca

Kerri is the CMO of Ratehub, a website that compares mortgage rates, credit card deals, savings accounts, and insurance.

What is your morning routine?

I am well aware that “highly successful people” are early risers, but I am not. I am more of a nighthawk than a morning person. My mom says that she used to have to wake me even as a baby (hi, Mom!).

I start my day a little later and work into the evening. I am generally in meetings during the day, so it’s nice to have some quiet time to work on my own projects once everyone else has gone home.

My morning routine consists of snoozing my alarm three times, savouring a long shower, picking up an advance order Starbucks, and then walking to the office with my dog. I only dress up for work on days I have external meetings – otherwise, I embrace our tech casual dress code.

Tell us about your career path

I am a founding team member and marketing director at RateHub.ca, a website that compares mortgage rates, credit card deals, savings accounts, and insurance.

After graduating university, I moved to Belgium and worked as a management consultant in the diamond industry. It sounds glamorous, but it really wasn’t. It’s a very archaic industry, and I discovered I needed to be in something more forward-thinking.

When I moved to Toronto in 2010, my classmate from Queen’s School of Business was starting RateHub, and I ended up loving tech and startup life. I have a strong bias-to-action and I prefer working in an agile, flexible environment.

What challenges do you or women face in your industry?

The tech industry is male-dominated, but I consider myself fortunate to be part of a female-led company that employs a lot of other females. When I worked in the diamond industry, we had clients that considered women to be second-class citizens, which is not okay. I am hyper-aware of female dynamics in the workplace now and – happily – accept the responsibility to do what I can to level the playing field.

Like many other women, it makes me uncomfortable to ask for things for myself and I often feel “imposter syndrome.” Experiencing these things first-hand has really informed how I encourage the other women on my team. Salary increases are given pro-actively based on impact and results achieved, and we invest in leadership coaching and mentoring.

Women make 77 cents on the dollar that men make. It’s just not right.

What advice would you give to young girls who want to be the NEXT you?

Every decision you make impacts future you. In high school, you may not know what you want to be when you grow up, but you can equip yourself with options. If you take math and science courses, there’s nothing you can’t do. But if you don’t take those courses, you rule out the opportunity to get into many lucrative and interesting careers later on. This is especially true as we move more into the future, when STEM careers will overtake all others. What you choose to do in high school impacts what you can do in university, which impacts what you can do as an adult graduate.

The other thing is to branch out and embrace the unfamiliar. I grew up on an island and had a really sheltered (but wonderful) upbringing. The only businesses on the island were a grocery store, a gas bar, and a restaurant. It didn’t exactly give me a lot of insights into commerce. I was really observant, though, and I took advantage of every learning opportunity. I have an uncle with an accounting firm in Toronto, so I used to train up to visit his office. My dad manages a members-only hunting lodge and the members are wildly successful businessmen. I would hang around and ask them questions. One of them helped me with math problems in elementary school, another assisted with finance equations in university, and now I can talk to any one of them about business.

Finally, don’t be afraid to be a “nerd”. The stories above certainly establish my nerdiness.

How do you separate work life from your personal life?

I have a flexible lifestyle that allows me to work longer hours during the week. I really like my work, and I work hard. I’d rather work long hours during the week to free up my weekends. I think it’s different for women (and men) with kids.

What inspires you?

When you hold a leadership position in a company, there are limited sources for internal coaching and mentorship, so it’s really important to seek out external sources of inspiration. I go to conferences and listen to podcasts, and I have a couple of mentors I can reach out to on specific topics. I also am part of a female leader mastermind group. We meet once a month for breakfast and support each other with advice and insights on decision-making.

I love listening to interviews with founders and leaders who are at the top of their game – whether it be marketing or negotiation. (Good) Podcasts have a storytelling element that is very engrossing. My favourite leadership podcasts are Building a StoryBrand with Donald Miller and Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman.

When you’re off the clock, what are your indulgences?

I love to travel and live like a local, albeit a well-heeled one. My perfect trip involves staying at a hip boutique hotel, eating at the best restaurants and visiting hidden landmarks and independent shops.

When I’m not traveling, I live for my dog @kingstonatwork and am a hardcore member of #BachelorNation (The Bachelor fanatics).

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