Kirstin Carley and Jen Estrada are sponsors of South Surrey Financial Divas

Kirstin Carley and Jen Estrada are sponsors of South Surrey Financial Divas

Education priceless for Financial Divas

Local group holds workshops for women on money matters

Recognizing that finances can be a confusing – if not intimidating – subject for some, a number of female professionals have joined forces to empower local women with financial knowledge.

The South Surrey/White Rock Financial Divas not only help publish a free quarterly magazine on money matters – a collaboration with other Financial Diva chapters – but also hold monthly seminars in the community to educate women about everything from estate planning to home selling and purchasing.

The local chapter of the non-profit organization is run by a group of sponsors representing various financial fields, including real estate, accounting, home staging, and debt and bankruptcy services.

Jen Estrada, who brings expertise from her work as a mortgage broker, said women of all ages and backgrounds are invited to the free seminars, held every third Thursday (except July and August) at Semiahmoo Library.

“It’s an open forum for women to ask questions in a non-threatening environment,” Estrada said.

The concept began when businesswoman Kelly Landry started a two-page financial newsletter for women on Vancouver Island.

It eventually became a magazine and led to the formation of coffee clubs, where women could discuss and learn about markets, business and other money issues.

Financial advisor Kirstin Carley expanded the movement to the Lower Mainland about two years ago, when she was searching for a way to reach out to women.

“I was looking for something more broadly based to educate women in the community.”

The mainland chapter was formed, issuing its first magazine issue last year and organizing its own coffee clubs.

“As the groups grew, we branched out,” Carley said.

Financial Divas now has branches in communities throughout B.C. – including Langley/Cloverdale, South Delta, Richmond and Vancouver – as well as in parts of Alberta, and is currently awaiting the launch of its new, interactive website.

Sponsors on each team write articles for the organization’s magazine, and their annual fee is used towards its publication and distribution to grocery stores, libraries, coffee shops and businesses.

And not all sponsors are in financial professions.

There are therapists, life coaches and, in one chapter, a chocolate-shop owner.

Anyone is welcome who adds value to the Divas’ readership and shares the desire to help others, Carley said.

“The primary reason someone would want to get involved is to give back to the community without wanting anything in return.”

Which is why sponsors are not permitted to solicit attendees, Estrada said.

“It not our goal to get them as a client.”

Those attending the workshops have various degrees of financial knowledge, and it is not uncommon to see women who are forced to handle their own finances for the first time after losing a loved one or going through a divorce, Estrada noted.

Each workshop is presented in laymen’s terms to make topics easy to understand, allowing those attending to make well-informed financial decisions, she added.

“It’s good for them to know what’s going on.”

Up to 20 people are invited to sit in, Estrada said, but the groups have had as few as just three to four people.

“It’s meant to be a small, intimate meet up.”

Carley has seen firsthand how much of an impact such sessions can have.

One of her clients, a single mother, had been going through a divorce and career issues upon attending Financial Divas meetings.

“She had never had a handle on her finances – she did not care for finance,” Carley said. “Once (her husband) was gone, she was left with not knowing where to start and what to do.”

That woman is now in a new career and financially stable, and – in a recent meeting with Carley – became teary eyed when reflecting on the accomplishments.

“Now she’s holding herself much higher and (is) excited about the changes instead of being fearful,” she said. “It makes me feel really good.”

The more knowledge people have, the more confident they become, Carley said, which is why it’s never too late to learn.

“I think people procrastinate about things they don’t understand, and that can create fear. If you let something grow into a bigger problem, it gets harder to solve.”

Local women wanting to learn more about finances can start with the South Surrey/White Rock Financial Diva’s next workshop June 16 at 7 p.m., called It’s Not Rocket Science.

“It’s an investment class for women who don’t like investment classes,” Carley said.

For more information, visit or email

Just Posted

A Grade 8 class at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
B.C.’s return-to-school plan good, but Surrey teachers hope there is room for adjustments

Surrey school district to receive $1.76M of the $25.6M provincial pandemic-related funding

Surrey Fire Service battled a dock fire along the Fraser River late Friday night (June 18). It was on Musqueam Drive, near Industrial Road, around 10:45 p.m. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Fire engulfs pier on Surrey side of the Fraser River

Pier has reportedly been unused for a long time

A mixed-use development with 69 market rental units and 10 commercial units is proposed for the 2300-block of King George Boulevard. (Thinkspace rendering)
Pair of South Surrey apartment proposals move forward

Council gives third reading to rezoning applications for market-rental and residential projects

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Woman’s 100-km birthday marathon from Chilliwack to Abbotsford will benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Most Read