Catherine Newman

Vice-President Finance, Financial Reporting iA Financial Group

“I know it’s going to hit hard and I have to prepare myself psychologically. I don’t like to get too much attention. But this initiative will be the hot topic, and that’s exactly the point!”

In 2021, Catherine Newman, CPA, CA, CFA, was named Vice-President, Finance, Financial Reporting for iA Financial Group. Previously, she spent 20 years at National Bank, rising through the ranks all the way to senior management. She contributed her talent in key roles such as Vice-President, Accounting, Capital Markets, Treasury, and International. The accomplished mother of two teenagers feels a genuine desire to make a difference.

As a passionate leader who knows how to rally people around her, Catherine believes in collaborating and sharing her knowledge to help her teams to grow. Innovation and boldness are part of the equation motivating her success.

Still, she joins the Audacieuses some degree of trepidation. Although she thrives in situations where she can apply her skills and expertise, she much prefers to evolve in the buoyancy and efficiency one finds behind the scenes. But she is aware of her potential to be impactful. “I know it’s going to hit hard and I have to prepare myself psychologically. I don’t like to get too much attention. But this initiative will be the hot topic, and that’s exactly the point!”

She is slowly coming to terms with this planned coup. She was especially moved by last year’s inaugural cohort of Audacieuses. She got goosebumps, watching those women from all walks of life rallying around Leucan’s cause. Catherine actually took the time to pen a beautiful homage to Brigitte Dagnault, a former Audacieuse, on LinkedIn. “With her long, glossy red hair, Brigitte had such a great presence. Her gesture really moved me. In the replies, Brigitte threw the ball back in my court, saying maybe it would be my turn next year.”

Privileged and Overwhelmed

As such, when Brigitte Dagnault issued an official invitation a few months ago, Catherine Newman could not refuse. “She convinced me in half a minute. Leucan is such a noble cause. When you give birth to children, you always worry about them getting sick. No one is immune from an accident, mental health issue, or cancer. I feel so fortunate to have two healthy daughters. Knowing that other parents do not share the same good fortune is shattering.”

By getting her head shaved, Catherine hopes, first and foremost, to raise money for the cause. “Causes like Leucan’s need financial support, and that’s how I can contribute. Of course, I also hope to raise awareness around me about the reality of families and children living with cancer.”

Catherine Newman has the possibility to reach out to a vast network. She is also thrilled to share this adventure with inspiring women. “It’s beautiful to see women who dare and who give back to the community.”

New Look, Big Shock

Whether on a run as the sun rises or enjoying a vacation at the cabin; speaking at a conference or attending a fundraiser; Catherine Newman always wears her blond hair down and perfectly styled. “I have long, thick, blond hair. Styling it is a part of me. It matters to me.” In fact, you’ll never catch her—or it—in a ponytail.

Unsurprisingly, she dreads the shock she will feel the first time she sees her bare face no longer surrounded by her golden mane. “I had short hair during my first year of high school and, quite frankly, it wasn’t a good look for me. This shave feels like a walk back through time, and a part of me worries about looking like the teenager I was.”

Thus, she is planning to uncharacteristically tie up her hair every day as soon as the official announcement is released. “Since we’re doing a lot of virtual meetings, I will get used to seeing more of my face on screen with my hair tied back. This will be a good preparation for the next year.”

An Opportunity for Introspection

While her first reflex was to acquire a wig for special occasions, her daughters and husband quickly dissuaded her. “I didn’t want people to focus on my head.  But I changed my mind when I thought of the potential impact I could have for the cause. So, I will live the experience fully and truly carry the cause.” She now plans on wearing make-up more and dusting off her jewelry collection (pretty much put away since the beginning of the pandemic).

“I’ll be turning 50 in May. I never thought I’d celebrate with a shaved head. My hairdresser can’t quite believe it! For the next year, I will be going through a constant metamorphosis, and he’s ready to suggest new looks to make every stage fun. He will dye my hair a very light blond as a first look. It’s all planned already!”

Catherine Newman believes she will emerge from the experience stronger. “We always say that beauty is skin deep, right? I will seize this moment as an opportunity for personal development. Yes, I have concerns but I think this will lead me to something new. I will try to understand how cancer patients feel and how others look at them.” Does she dread those watchful eyes trailing her whenever she goes out for a jog or a walk with her two dogs? “My worries are nothing in light of the reality of Leucan families.”

Proud to support Catherine