As a successful banker, Catherine Dangerfield is amply qualified to offer this brilliant and bankerly career advice: Reconcile yourself. This bit of wisdom came to her one day in yoga class — the word “yoga” defined literally as “to become one with.”
“I was in a pose and remember the instructor explaining the word means a polarity of opposites — that you are putting your body in two different directions at the same time. When I was in that pose, I realised that my life was a polarity of opposites and I had to find balance.”
Until this “aha” moment on the yoga floor, the conflict in her career was this: With the one hand, she had a firm grip on the corporate ladder with TD Bank; yet, in the other hand there was an artist’s brush eager to create something grand and beautiful. “Find a way to be authentically who you are,” she advises. “The sooner you get there, the more comfortable your life becomes.”
Catherine graduated from York University in Toronto with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She paid for her education working with TD, primarily as a bank teller. Her post graduate work was at Simon Fraser University, where she earned her MBA. “I avoided marrying art and banking for many years,” she says. “I was a little embarrassed about my art background. In the banking world it didn’t mean anything to anyone, and it wasn’t adding value to anything I was doing, so I would gloss over it.”
Today, Catherine’s title with TD is Assistant Region Head, Pacific Region Private Wealth Management. Aside from a few years working with a Vancouver credit union, her career has been entirely with Toronto-Dominion. She calls herself a generalist, having worked in a wide range of departments including human resources, retail banking, direct investing, and practice management.
“Outside of my work, it is all about the arts,” she says. Catherine sits on the board of the Vancouver Opera Association, and she is the Chairperson for this year’s Audain Art Museum gala. “I love being able to contribute my business skills to arts organizations. Some of them need that help — they might need introductions to corporate entities, or they need financial acumen on their board. It’s how I stay involved with art. It feeds my soul.”
Within TD, she sits on the governance board of the bank’s arts council. “Through the art council and my engagement with our art collection, I have developed partnerships with galleries throughout British Columbia. I am the person most of the galleries will reach out to if they want connections to TD. I love that part of my job.”
Catherine’s husband Paul is President of Capilano University. The couple first met when they were children in an unlikely location. “We both come from military families, so we grew up all over the world. We met when our dads were stationed in Pakistan. We didn’t meet again until years later.” Catherine was beginning a post-secondary education in Europe and Paul had just completed his degree in Canada when he contacted her and asked if she would be interested in travelling together. Fast forward a few decades and couple have two adult daughters and roots firmly grounded in Vancouver.
“When Paul and I talk about how we first met and how we got to where we are today, we joke that it feels almost like an arranged marriage.”
Outside of work and her involvement with the arts, Catherine loves family ski trips. The Dangerfields have a second home in Whistler. She also loves travel. Barcelona stands out as her favorite destination. “We like to get to Europe at least once every two years.”
Catherine joined the Terminal City Club six years ago. “The membership was passed on from a predecessor at TD. I use it a lot for entertaining clients, hosting events, wine tastings with colleagues. It’s just down the street from my office, so it’s quite convenient having such a great club so close to work.”