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Working Mom Highlights

Welcome back to The MotherBoard Profiles blog series!

Each blog post will highlight the experiences of an amazing woman succeeding professionally and personally, including as a mother. Prepare to be inspired!

This week's post features Nicole Garton.

Nicole Garton

Tell us a bit about your profession or business.

As the principal lawyer of Heritage Law, I’m a lawyer and mediator practising in the areas of wills and estates and family law. As the President of Heritage Trust, I lead a trust company that offers executor, trustee and power of attorney services to BC resident clients.

Why did choose your career?

I wanted to be a lawyer since I was child, inspired by family members in the profession. Many women end up leaving the legal profession. I stayed because I love learning every day, helping people, solving problems, and I found a way to do so that was sustainable for me by running my own law firm.

I co-founded Heritage Trust mid-career when I saw a gap in the marketplace for a caring, pragmatic and cost-effective trust company that offered executor, trustee and power of attorney services to all clients, including those who were considered too small for the larger banks. 

How did you get to where you are today? Design? Chance? Both?

I spent a long time studying - undergrad, law school and articling - to qualify as a lawyer, which was by design. But my current career iteration has been a circuitous path. I started out in a traditional role as an associate at a large law firm but my entrepreneurial nature lead me to start my own law firm and now a sister trust company. 

What is your most significant achievement? What are you proud of?

I am most proud of being a mom and step-mom to five smart, funny and unique children.

Heritage Trust is the first independent trust company founded by a practicing lawyer in BC. We are the only female led trust company in BC. In our first five years, we have grown from zero to over $100 million of assets under management. 

Also I am proud of North Shore Pro Bono and the MotherBoard, both which I co-founded. North Shore Pro Bono, a registered Canadian charity, offers free estate planning and family mediation services to low and modest income and asset North Shore residents. The MotherBoard is peer mentorship group providing education, support and social get togethers for local professional working mothers. 

What are some key challenges and opportunities for working mothers?

Embrace the chaos! The amazing thing about parenting children is the humility it affords when we realize in very concrete terms that we can try our best but ultimately we cannot control the outcome of the things that matter most to us– our children, our families, our careers, life itself. 

You are never going to achieve that illusive “work-life balance,” get it all done or get your home and life perfectly together. This acceptance will counterintuitively help you with mindset and motivation. Focus on the present moment and what is in front of you – be it your kids, what you are doing at work or even just the song playing as you drive home from work, in the only moment of the day you may have to yourself.

Once you drop the futility of getting your life perfectly together, that acceptance and peace gives you more energy to tackle the handful of things you do leave on your plate. What is possible for you to do right here and right now? Meaning and purpose come not from accomplishing great things in the world, but having an open heart to those right in front of you and doing all that you can, with what you have, in the time and place where you are.

What advice would you give a woman starting her career?

Samuel Beckett has a famous quote “Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” 

The best and most interesting things that have happened to me, were after I failed spectacularly at what I thought I wanted. Yes, have goals but don’t forget that the path is the destination and embrace the surprises and detours life presents to you. 

And humility, humour and compassion – for both yourself and others - always helps.

Read of the Week

In Her Own Words: Kelli Schroeder promotes networks, and vice versa (link)

A brief "how-to" guide to building your professional network.

"As we adapt to the ever-changing technological advancements, work models and societal needs of our professional communities, it's important that we continue to remember the value of human connection, collaboration and networking. I’m convinced we can’t grow without it."

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