Steve’s practice is primarily focused on helping different generations of enterprising families find the meaningful intersection between their wealth and their legacy goals and aspirations. This focus on family business has ties back two generations where he saw his grandparents exercise those deliberate small-town Saskatchewan values as they operated their own farm enterprise for many decades. It was here that he witnessed the hard work and grit required for success, while at the same time seeing the value of generous giving and a supportive community. All of these experiences ultimately helped to shape perspective for the future.
Flash forward, and that same entrepreneurial family enterprise gene was put to work by his father – Brad Willems – who started the wealth planning practice back in 1987. Being raised in the family business wasn’t without its quirks though. Memorably, two of Steve’s earliest childhood concerns were raised during a Kindergarten parent teacher interview, where Steve expressed worry about both rising gas prices and the effects of taxation. For better or worse, Steve realized that he was wired to think about things that others his age were not.
As the internet was coming of age, Steve saw opportunity to deliver value to businesses trying to navigate the changing times, successfully starting a web design and digital strategy business. Helping business owners adapt to change, as traditional marketing methods were being put to the test, fueled Steve, motivating him to ultimately land back in the family business.
It was here, after all, where his three principle passions collided: philanthropy (helping people give), marketing (communicating well), and finance (how to handle money well).
Personally and professionally, Steve wants to know “the answer”. He is a lifelong learner. When he comes across new situations, he is wired to want to provide valuable feedback for whomever he is working with. He’s been told he’s been this way from day one. Steve loves solving problems for people and will work to find a solution, even if it means constantly leveling up his own capabilities and competencies. In pursuit of this, Steve has completed his CERTIFIED FINANICAL PLANNER ® designation, and has continued his focused study of business families by completing the Family Enterprise Advisor (FEA) designation - a rigorous multi-disciplinary program that is university-backed by partnerships with the Alberta School of Business, UBC Sauder School of Business and Ivey Business School.
As a Wealth Advisor, Steve finds his work meaningful because he’s working with people, providing advice in one of the most sensitive, important, or private area of their lives. Often their personal finances are something that are held very close. In his role within the team, he has the opportunity to help guide clients in the right direction. Over time he has seen these relationships grow into something a lot more meaningful than first expected.
Those same Saskatchewan values Steve saw in his grandparent’s years earlier have carried forward to today. Every week, Steve finds ways to give back to those around him. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Abbotsford Community Foundation, chairing their Marketing & Communications Committee. He has led and supported the fundraising efforts of multiple non-profit capital campaigns.
Naturally that investment in community is also matched by investment in his own family – his wife and three young children – whom he cares for deeply. And just as he was shaped by his grandfather many years earlier, so too does he attempt to leave those same fingerprints on the lives of his own children today.