Partner, Deals and Senior Vice President, Corporate Advisory & Restructuring
Vancouver, British Columbia
A rigorous job interview introduced Michelle Grant to a fascinating career.
“I was interested in becoming an investment banker and didn't really know what ‘corporate restructuring’ was,” she says. But during the interview process for a job in the Corporate Finance practice of a “Big Four” firm, she met several people from its Corporate Restructuring practice.
“They had the most engaging stories about the work they were doing. And it turned out that corporate restructuring combined my love for finance, law and operations management all into one interesting career. It sounded like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get involved.”
At 22, fresh out of Queen’s University with a B.Comm. (Hons), she figured, “Why not give it a try?” She aced the interview and the rest is history.
Michelle’s career choice has lived up to her high expectations.
Now a Partner in the Deals practice and a Senior Vice President, Corporate Advisory & Restructuring with PwC Canada based in Vancouver, she has almost 20 years of experience in corporate restructuring. She’s experienced in advising clients across a range of industries, including agriculture, food and beverage, manufacturing, mining and metals, real estate, technology and transportation. She has a reputation as a go-to person for complex cases.
Along the way, Michelle earned her designation as a Chartered Insolvency and Restructuring Professional (CIRP) with CAIRP. She continued on the path to become a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT), becoming the youngest person to do so in 2005.
In 2016, at 37, she received a Business in Vancouver Top 40 Under 40 Award and the Association of Women in Finance’s Rising Star Award. This PEAK (Performance, Excellence, Achievement, Knowledge) Award recognizes a leader who has made outstanding professional contributions, who guides and encourages women, and who is actively involved in her community.
It’s obvious Michelle is passionate about corporate restructuring, and she considers it a great career for anyone enthusiastic about finance, law or operations management.
“I love the fact that each client’s circumstances are unique and there’s no set playbook,” she explains. “We have some fantastic tools in our toolkit that allow us to come up with creative solutions to complex problems. It’s a great feeling to see a client flourish coming out the other side of the restructuring process.”
There’s never a dull moment, she also points out.
“One day, you could be running a large business as a court-appointed receiver. The next, you might be negotiating new leases for 30 retail locations with a group of landlords.”
The job can be stressful, and it takes years of practice and experience to recognize what is really important to a successful process. That’s why Michelle highly recommends building your knowledge by pursuing the CIRP designation. At the same time, you build a network of supportive professionals in the community that you will turn to throughout your career.
“They are a wonderful group of people across Canada – and internationally, if you’re lucky enough to work on cross-border assignments,” she says.
Michelle readily acknowledges the help of others who have mentored her over her career, and she’s quick to pay it forward.
She volunteers with the Insolvency Institute of Canada on its BC Membership Committee and Nominating Committee, and with CAIRP on its Finance and Nominating Committees. She’s a member of the board of the ARIL Society Inc., co-chaired its in-person conference in 2020 and was on the planning committee for its 2021 conference. She’s also loaned her talents to the International Women’s Insolvency & Restructuring Federation, the Cerebral Palsy Association of BC, and the United Way in the Lower Mainland.
“It’s very important for me to give back to this profession that has provided me with such a rewarding career,” she says.