A Q&A with Shamima Adam, a TL Insider, on having access to special events and being part of a group

A Q&A with Shamima Adam, a TL Insider, on having access to special events and being part of a group

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Toronto Life Insider is a membership club that gives you front-of-the-line access to the best experiences and offers in the city. With your membership, you get an upgraded subscription to Toronto Life that includes access to signature events (like an after-hours party at Cheese Boutique), hands-on workshops (hello, cocktail-making classes with top bartenders), and candid conversations between Toronto Life publisher Ken Hunt or editor-in-chief Sarah Fulford and some of the city’s most interesting characters.

We chatted with TL Insider Shamima Adam, the director of AML/KYC Due Diligence at RBC, about her experience with the membership so far.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born in Mauritius, and the education system there is similar to the one in the UK, because we used to be a British colony. After high school, I got a full scholarship to the University of Melbourne where I did a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in actuarial science. After I moved back to Mauritius, I saw that Canada was looking for skilled immigrants, so I applied as an independent skilled immigrant and I got a visa within eight months. It wasn’t easy—I didn’t know a lot of people and I didn’t have a professional circle. At first I stayed with my aunt and uncle in Scarborough, but within a couple months I got a job, so I moved out. I started off as a financial associate and now I’m a director managing a team.

Which neighbourhood do you live? What do you love about it?

I rent an apartment at Yonge and St. Clair, and I absolutely love the area. I’ve been here ever since I moved out of my aunt and uncle’s place. I recently bought a new build at Yonge and Eglinton that’s going to be ready in about a year. My plan is to rent it out because I’m attached to my neighbourhood. I like its proximity to the city, but it’s not actually in the city. I like being just close enough to work—it’s only about 20 minutes door to door. And everything is within walking distance: my hairdresser is five minutes from me, my dentist is five minutes from me. There’s a lot of greenspace, too. I have friends that live downtown and when you get out of your Uber you’re inside their lobby—there’s no greenery. Where I live, there’s a park, there’s a tennis court, there’s fresh air. Maybe it’s because I’m an islander, but I don’t want to open my window and just see another window.

Any favourite spots in your ’hood?

One of the newer spots that I really like is Arthur’s Restaurant—I love their lobster roll. And my favourite burger place, Holy Chuck, is in my neighbourhood. But I’m a big foodie, so I like to explore restaurants in different parts of the city. When Toronto Life’s 100 Best Restaurants list comes out, I’m going through that list as much as I can, and I check off the restaurants I make it to. I go to a minimum of four ballets a year, and a couple of musicals a year. If I’m going to a musical, I’ll go to Luma, and if I’m going to the ballet, it’s either going to be Volos or Bosk.

What else do you do in your free time?

I’m on the board of directors for two non-profit registered charities. Soroptimist International Toronto and New Circles Community Services. The mission of Soroptimist International Toronto is to improve the lives of women and girls in Toronto and around the world. New Circles is a grassroots organization that started off as a clothing bank, but done in a very dignified manner so it’s more of a shopping experience for those in need. That’s the main purpose of the organization but it’s grown to provide settlement services, basic counselling and courses for entry-level jobs. I also like to travel a couple of times a year. A year ago I went to Mont Tremblant with my sister. I’m not attached to warm places, because I grew up in a tropical country. To me, cold weather is exotic.

Why did you become a TL Insider?

I like exclusive events. I’m a member of the Young Patrons Circle at the ROM. I joined that because I value history and culture, but it also means I get access to interviews, after-hours events and behind-the-scenes tours. When I got the email about TL Insider, I saw it as another way to have access to special events. Sometimes planning things to do isn’t easy, but if you have a membership you’re pulled into it—then it’s all planned for you and you just have to make the time for it. I like being an Insider, I like being a part of a group.

Any favourite events so far?

I think I went to at least one event each month last year. I really like the In Conversation series. I went to one with Bruce Linton and one with Mohamad Fakih—but I don’t want to name just a couple because I’ve enjoyed all of them. I also love having access to restaurants before they open and trying new menus before they’re public. I loved the holiday shopping experience at McEwan. And meeting Serge Ibaka last year was a real highlight. That alone was worth the membership!

Any you’re looking forward to?

I have tickets to the upcoming In Conversation with the CEO of University Health Network, Kevin Smith. And I’ve already bought tickets to April’s Best Restaurants event. One of my best friends celebrates his birthday in April, so I bought one for him as part of his birthday present. With an event like that, you have to go with someone who enjoys food and who won’t be counting calories.

Be like Shamima and become a TL Insider today!