“Especially in 2008, being a young, colored woman was a challenge. I truly had to build those relationships, strategically steer high-level conversations, and win that trust and business.”- Pavan Aujla, Founder of Autarky Capital Corporation
Be it on the field or behind the scenes, Pavan Aujla has redefined entrepreneurship in more ways than one. From founding her own mortgage business in the private space of commercial and real estate lending, to kickstarting Tera Terra Helping Hands Society Aujla that aims to be the socio-economic bridge between minorities, Aujla is an exemplary community activist, inspirational role-model, and a reputable, trusted industry professional.
From a young age, the curious go-getter was fascinated by money because of her humble upbringing. In school, studious Aujla studied the psychology behind decision making and became well-versed with consumer behavior, which put her at an advantage as she entered the workforce. Aujla’s professional journey in the financial industry officially began in 2004 with the Bank of Montreal (BMO). She garnered experiences in the arenas of personal and commercial banking, account management, lending, and financing, following which she switched jobs to work for a mutual funds company, where major banks were her clients and all of western Canada her territory. “Especially in 2008, being a young, colored woman was a challenge. I truly had to build those relationships, strategically steer high-level conversations, and win that trust and business.”, shares Aujla.
Fast forward to today, Aujla carries experience from all facets of finance, such as the world of Real Estate Investment Trusts, having helped fund large developments in financing projects across Canada. Truly embodying the entrepreneurial spirit, Aujla has excelled in the marketing industry as well, having worked for high-profile artists in the Punjabi film industry and Hollywood. Made possible through her esteemed media and celebrity network connections, her marketing company has literally taken her around the world.
With such a diverse set of rich experiences, Aujla is now working full-force and thriving in the financial industry, through her brainchild, Autarky Capital Corporation, founded in 2020. Aujla is an Accredited Mortgage Professional, part of the Canadian Mortgage Brokers Association (CMBA).
She holds access to lenders around North America. What’s more is that there is a noble cause being supported via the blooming business; a portion of proceeds from approved deals of Autarky Capital Corporation, go towards her non-profit organization, Tera Terra Helping Hands Society.
Talking about the motivation to step foot into the commercial side of the mortgage space, the finance wiz shines light on her company’s unique offerings, “My niche is my deep understanding of the exempt markets. I can help accredited investors by guiding them towards more secured investments such as hedge funds, REITs and MICs, and offer developers an alternative with equity investors, therefore helping where banks and alternative lenders cannot. These investments thrive during market downturns, so it's an alternative method of investing and holding equity stakes in large developments".
Exhibiting excellence in her profession, Aujla has been nominated for the Canadian Mortgage Awards for Commercial Mortgage Broker of the Year 2022!
Aujla understands that people can often find themselves in desperate situations when it comes to mortgages. That said, the experienced businesswoman points out that, in any industry, companies seldomly think about clients and are often more focused on business profits. With karma on top of mind, Aujla differentiates herself by putting her clients first. For mortgage-seekers, her advice entails the following three tips:
- Do your research on the mortgage broker. For health, you’ll go to different doctors and everyone may have different opinions. Similarly, your finances are a huge investment; these are your life’s work and savings. Talk to at least a few brokers. Work with someone you trust and ensure that they are credible.
- Consult with your accountant for tax implications.
- You’ll hear a lot of mortgage brokers say “we’ll get it done”. Don’t put yourself in a position of risk by falsifying documents that can easily get exposed during renewals. Be wary of mortgage brokers who are jeopardizing client’s and their own well-being. Don’t fall into mortgage fraud.
Aside from Aujla’s professional prowess, what wins hearts is Aujla’s desire to help others. Fueled by the desire to take forward Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s legacy, Aujla founded Tera Terra Helping Hands Society with the aim of encouraging society to live as a collective. Given Canada’s multicultural fabric, Aujla saw a need to enhance the quality of service to our communities and to create a safe environment for people to flourish given the right opportunity and support, especially international students and Indigenous peoples. Tera Terra Helping Hands Society also raises funds in order to be prepared for any crisis in our province, and has been recognized by Guru Nanak's Free Kitchen and Guru Nanak Food Bank, coming full-circle with its inceptive mission. Tera Terra Helping Hands Society is proud to be aligned with Guru Nanak Food Bank and will continue supporting such an amazing cause.
Aujla elaborates, “With the trickle down effect, we need to eliminate prejudices, decrease racism, and provide education and knowledge. With an action as simple as placing a deserving person in the right job or providing emergency relief where it is needed, we are strengthening our national ecosystem.” Aujla also volunteers with the Angels in the Night Homeless Shelter Project, through which mortgage brokers and lender partners hit the streets in cities across Canada to lend a helping hand to those less fortunate.
Further encompassing the essence of building socio-economic bridges is Aujla’s involvement as ‘Indian Community Outreach Canada’, through which she is assisting the WOJ Innovations and Tech International team in co-creating Silicon Valley North through a 3-step program; this idea is aligned with the Government of BC’s vision of an emerging tech hub and economic growth for BC. One of the steps is to introduce a tech curriculum based on WOJ Pedagogy, established by Esther Wojcicki, co-founded by Amit Hooda, and developed in the WOJ Ecosystem, which includes Google and the University of California, Berkeley. The program helps highly skilled tech talent to secure high paying jobs within the worldwide ecosystem. Aujla points out, “Just like doctors cannot learn just by reading textbooks, tech talent cannot become highly skilled without hands-on experience, which Esther's pedagogy provides.”
In terms of her future vision, Aujla dreams of scaling up her many community involvements, including taking her non-profit, Tera Terra Helping Hands Society, to a national level. In tandem with her passion to genuinely help others in the commercial mortgage space, Aujla’s impact on society is unbounded. Her story is a testament to her entrepreneurial spirit, agility, and groundedness - adjectives that not only describe her working style, but also Aujla’s exceptional personality. With a mind of steel and heart of gold, Aujla is a catalyst for positive change and a true community gem.