Article: Colin Lynch
We’re proud and honoured to introduce you to Colin Lynch. He’s the Managing Director and Head of Global Real Estate Investments at TD Asset Management, a classical musician, 10K runner, philanthropist, and co-founder of The Black Opportunity Fund, an initiative he started to provide sustainable funding to support Black charities, non-profit organizations, and businesses and entrepreneurs.
Where are you from?
I’m from Toronto, Ontario and grew up in the northern Scarborough part of the Greater Toronto Area.
What are some of your interests, passions, and hobbies?
I enjoy commercial aviation, commercial real estate, politics, economics and travel. I also enjoy completing 10K runs–especially when the weather is warmer during the summer months. I have a passion for community service and love helping non-profit and charitable organizations.
What are some of your core values and philosophies?
I believe in integrity, which simply means doing the right thing. I believe in working hard, and I also like to mentor and develop talent.
Brief employment/education history.
I completed an ARCT (Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music) in Piano Teaching in 2003, a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Bachelor of Commerce in 2007. I also completed a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University in 2011. From a work perspective, I worked in investment banking at Morgan Stanley, then joined McKinsey & Company as a management consultant. I joined Greystone Managed Investments as VP and then SVP of Strategy and Growth and today serve TD Asset Management as Managing Director and Head of Global Real Estate Investments.
What drew you to finance/banking in the first place?
I’ve had a long interest in math—perhaps because my parents enrolled me in Kumon when I was a child. My mom was also an accountant and auditor with Revenue Canada. I was interested in her work and even more fascinated by all of the folks that went downtown, worked in big office towers and seemed to do exciting things on the floor of stock exchanges. I was curious about this world and interested in learning a bit more about it. Going through undergrad, I realized just how important the world of finance is to the functioning of our modern world. It enables governments, non-profits, and corporations to function and all of us to build and lead productive lives.
What do you hope to achieve in the following aspects of your life?
Professional: I hope to enrich the lives of the communities we serve through our global real estate portfolio and help our thousands of ultimate beneficiaries by delivering positive and accretive investment returns.
Fitness: I aim to complete two 10KM runs each week (except during the winter) and achieve a 5-minute KM.
Philanthropic: The most significant gift I can give is of my time, accompanied by my earnest desire to help organizations achieve more. Through the organizations that I serve and steward, I seek to improve the lives of tens of thousands.
Musical: To compose new music, develop my improvisational skills and share the love of music with as many people as possible.
Can you speak a bit about your musical pursuits?
Music is a big part of my life. I started playing piano at age 5, and by the time I was 12, I was performing with semi-professional orchestras and organizations. By the time I was 17, I had completed over 100 performances a year with local chamber and symphony orchestras, accompanying choirs, and occasionally performing with citywide and a national orchestra. I thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of my life and even had the opportunity to embark on a concert tour. I graduated from the Royal Conservatory at the end of high school and, over time, played six instruments: piano (my primary), clarinet (secondary), tenor and soprano sax and organ. Though I began studying history and commerce as an undergrad, the love of music has never left me.
In undergrad, I ran a student opera company that performed full-length opera productions and concerts and served the community through educational pursuits. Since undergrad, I served on the board of Orchestra Toronto, was involved with the Toronto Arts Foundation and Massey Corporation (operates Roy Thomson Hall and Massey Hall in Toronto) and in 2020, joined the board of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. I still enjoy playing the piano, occasionally performing with friends composing music.
Please describe the Black Opportunity Fund, how you got involved, and what you hope the Fund accomplishes in the near and long-term future?
The Black Opportunity Fund is an initiative to raise a permanent, unprecedented pool of funds to provide sustainable funding to support Black charities, non-profit organizations, and businesses and entrepreneurs. It is national in scope, designed by the Black community, and reflects the full diversity of the community, including from a gender and sexual orientation perspective. The Fund recognizes that so many significant initiatives—non-profit and for-profit—exist in the Black community that are chronically underfunded and could benefit from having a reliable funding partner.
The Fund receives support from over 300 volunteers and has raised capital from over 30 corporations and several hundred philanthropic individuals. The fund also intends to partner with the federal government as a capital source.
Last year, the Fund provided non-repayable support to 55 Black digital businesses. This year, the Fund will support over 20 non-profit organizations serving our community in the healthcare and education spaces. We also opened a program to provide funding and wrap-around support to Black businesses. Later this year, we will open financing of loans and equity investments for businesses.
My first conversation about a Fund to help the community was in November 2019. Several individuals recognized that there existed a critical funding cap that impacted the Black community. Then the pandemic struck, and I was part of conversations with so many Black businesses and non-profit organizations forced to shut their doors. They were emotional and difficult meetings. Then the George Floyd tragedy took place. We wanted to create something that would be both by and for the community, have a significant impact and balance the importance of being well governed with the urgency of the moment. I decided that I needed not simply to support but to help lead. So I became a co-Founder and have been involved in leading and steering this initiative from its earliest days.
Why was getting involved with the BOF vital to you?
Black charities, non-profits, and entrepreneurs have been chronically overlooked and unfortunately denied funding at much higher rates than other communities in Canada. Rather than admiring the problem, I felt better about doing something that would help directly address the issue. I recognized that doing something would not only help Black communities across Canada, but it would significantly increase the economic capacity and contributions of thousands of Canadians, enhancing our nation’s economic growth and creating a better country for all Canadians. It represents a way to address a gap in our society directly.
What does giving back mean to you?
It means taking action to improve the lives of those around me substantially.
What are some of your impressions of Modern Ambition apparel?
High-quality, well-put-together clothing that is designed well. The pants fit exceptionally well. I would love it if I could make the dress shirts a bit slimmer fit. I love the zippers and the different colours available.
What are some of your impressions of MPG apparel?
Very high quality and made to handle sweat very well.
How does MA apparel complement your busy lifestyle?
It fits right in. I have lots of meetings, so the dress shirts and suits are perfect compliments. I love navy blue as a colour – it is very versatile for more formal meetings and meeting someone at a lounge or bar. I also travel worldwide, so the apparel (both formal and relaxed) makes great travel companions (especially those handy zippers).
How does MPG apparel complement your workouts/exercise routines?
They help when I’m out on the road running–especially the handy pockets to store things such as my keys. The long-sleeved clothing works well for cooler days (and there have been a few to start this year). And, of course, they work when I’m on the elliptical in the gym!
How important is it to fit in a workout as part of your busy day/week?
It’s critically important for me. Being fit gives me energy, allows my mind to think more clearly and even helps with my travel schedule, which can be intense at times.
What are some of your favourite ways to move?
Tough question. As a runner, one of my favourite movements happens about 2 KM into the run when I’m almost able to transition into autopilot (my breathing is well regulated, my pace is excellent), and I feel that I am almost able to glide through the air. I also love playing tennis and baseball. It’s a phenomenal feeling to make a catch that you didn't expect to make when the ball was hit or to achieve a fantastic hit, which is almost effortless coming off the bat. I get a similar feeling when I return a tough serve or volley in tennis that I wasn't expecting to.
Do you use exercise to decompress or alleviate stress at the end of a long day?
I use music to do that. I use exercise to get me going for the day. Few feelings beat the 'runner’s high' that you get after completing a 10K run. It sets you up wonderfully for your day.
Have you tried any new fitness programs or trends recently?
During the pandemic’s peak, my partner encouraged me to try some high-intensity workouts. They were undoubtedly high in intensity and pushed me to work harder than I initially expected!