Staff Spotlight | Simon

Whether it’s the courses we offer or the instructors we onboard, we’re always looking to improve and become more efficient.

Like most IBAO staff, Simon had quite a career journey before landing his current role at the association. “I went to school at the University of Toronto to pursue a business degree. Throughout my studies I was teaching and tutoring on the side, and during my summers off I’d teach abroad or locally and volunteer with youth.”

Needing a change of scenery, Simon took a gap year and taught abroad before returning to Toronto to finish his degree. “After I graduated, I left Ontario again and taught in Japan for a year. When I came back, I started looking for opportunities to get involved in education.”

Simon veered off course for a brief period to attend fish school. “I was literally going to become a fish farmer. I was thinking of heading to the east or west coast. I enrolled in an aquaculture program for a semester and enjoyed it, but realized if I wanted to stay in Ontario, I wouldn’t be able to continue. That’s when I found the posting at IBAO, shot my shot and here I am. While I don’t get to work with fish, maybe we can get a fish tank in the office one day.”

As one of the newest members of the IBAO team as Education Program Coordinator, Simon has become the go-to for people wanting to learn more about becoming a broker. “I help people figure out if becoming a broker is the right career choice and help register them for our education courses. I handle eLearning, accreditation and webinars. One of our key initiatives right now is figuring out how to improve our value proposition. Whether it’s the courses we offer or the instructors we onboard, we’re always looking to improve and become more efficient.”

When he’s not teaching or volunteering, Simon enjoys playing basketball, staying active and learning new languages like French. But that’s not the only language he knows. “My parents speak Cantonese so I’m able to speak that. When I was in Japan, I picked up Japanese.” When it comes to learning French, he says it’s not as difficult as you’d think since vocabularies are similar. “If you were to stare at a jar of peanut butter, I’m sure you’d be able to guess what a lot of the words mean, and that’s how it all begins.”

As for his love of fish, his first journey into aquatics didn’t go so well. “I used to have a pet fish when I was a kid, but as most kids with pet fish, it died. It wasn’t until 15 years later I figured I’d give it another shot and started acquiring fish tanks. From there I became hooked, creating ecosystems inside these tanks with live plants and breeding fish—it’s very exciting and rewarding.”

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