Dr. Cathy Zhao
Founder, Woodbine Steeles Dental & 16th Avenue Dental
Broker of Record & President, Re/Max Atrium Home Realty, Brokerage
Anne Li, CFA & CFP
Wealth Advisor, Scotia Wealth Management
Empowered by immigrant resiliency, The O Six is dedicated to uplifting and supporting female newcomers in entrepreneurship and business.
Starting over in a new country is no easy feat, as Dr. Cathy Zhao can attest. When she arrived in Canada with her parents, she watched them transition from “one to zero, sacrificing established careers for family, before embarking on the journey from zero to one again here.”
Experiencing roadblocks similar to most immigrants (such as language barriers and feeling out of place), Dr. Zhao took inspiration from her parents’ courage and strength. “Personal retellings like mine underscore that every immigrant story is layered, encompassing both relinquishments and aspirations,” she says.
Dr. Zhao went on to become an accomplished dentist, owning and operating two offices. Reflecting on her life in comparison to that of her parents, she realized that the massive initial sacrifices made by newcomers don’t diminish the achievements that can follow.
Sharing and educating each other
In contrast, Dr. Zhao believes these sacrifices “enrich the narrative with resilience, adaptability, and the unwavering spirit to create anew,” she says. “This realization became the bedrock of my inspiration to launch The O Six.”
Dr. Zhao wanted to create a space where businesspeople could commune, offer practical resources and tools, share different perspectives, and learn from one another. Along with Annie Raines Wang and Lin Qian, Dr. Zhao launched The O Six in 2020, during the pandemic, and built it into a women-centered mentorship and community platform that connects businesswomen and entrepreneurs who are new to Canada.
“We share stories of redefining success, overcoming obstacles, and forging paths in the business world,” Dr. Zhao explains. “It acknowledges the tremendous input women entrepreneurs invest before substantial results emerge.” The O Six’s goal is to support female newcomers in business through a series of in-depth online interviews, offline connections, monthly live events, think tank advisory meetings, a new O Six Roundtable, and much more.
Melinda Wu: A Legacy of Excellence in Real Estate
In the bustling world of real estate, Melinda Wu stands out as a beacon of trust and authority. As the distinguished Broker of Record of RE/MAX Atrium Home, Melinda has carved a niche for herself in the industry, setting benchmarks that many aspire to achieve. Immigrating to Canada in 1998, she drew inspiration from her father’s unwavering dedication. “His resilience inspired me,” Wu says, “leading me to carve my own path and establish my business.”
In 2020, she marked a significant milestone by opening her own brokerage, becoming the youngest female owner of a RE/MAX Franchise. Melinda now has 4 offices and represents nearly 100 real estate professionals. Her achievements soared further when she was ranked as Top 20 Agents on the prestigious Hurun Realtor List in 2022.
But Melinda’s accomplishments aren’t limited to real estate. She also holds a PhD degree in Chinese Medicine from Henan University of TCM in China, reflecting her commitment to holistic well-being and her connection to her roots.
At RE/MAX Atrium Home, Melinda’s approach goes beyond mere transactions. She’s built a legacy on lasting relationships, always prioritizing her clients’ best interests. This client-centric philosophy has solidified her reputation as a trusted advisor, guiding many to their dream homes.
Countless stories from The O Six stand as testaments to the intricate mosaic of immigrant life — one that’s characterized by both poignant sacrifices and the triumph of building anew.
Her influence in the community is profound. Through her connections, Melinda provides invaluable mentorship to newcomers in the real estate sector. “Understand your clientele, research the local market trends, and don’t be afraid to seek out communities or organizations that can support you,” she advises. “Your unique perspective is a strength — embrace it and let it guide your journey.”
Outside of her professional realm, Melinda is a fervent advocate for community development and often engages in philanthropic endeavors. She believes that a strong community is the foundation of a thriving real estate market and is dedicated to giving back in any way she can.
Anne Li, CFA & CFP, Wealth Advisor
In 2004, Anne Li arrived in Canada as an international student attaining her Master’s in Economics at the University of Ottawa. Post-graduation, she struggled to find her first full-time job without having local experience or a network.
After 13 years of experience in the Financial Services industry through various roles and being nominated as Best of Best Branch Manager in 2019, Anne decided to challenge herself and switch to wealth advisory at Scotia Wealth Management in 2020. But this time, she networked through The O Six. “In the early stages of my career change, I was able to connect with many women entrepreneurs,” says Anne. “Some of them are still my valued clients.” Anne went on to break national asset growth records and helped her clients achieve their unique life goals through a proven, integrated, and team-based wealth management planning process. Anne was recognized as a 2022 President’s Council Trip and 2023 Growth Council Trip qualifier.
Anne emphasizes the importance of being a member of a community that provides professional and personal development. “I feel energized and empowered after participating in any activity with The O Six,” she says. For newcomers setting yourself up for success, she suggests creating a financial plan with a long-term focus, diversifying assets classes, staying invested, and consulting with qualified experts.
Be better together
Dr. Zhao, Wu, and Li encourage newcomers to take chances, find a community that can help them, and be persistent. “Countless stories from The O Six stand as testaments to the intricate mosaic of immigrant life — one that’s characterized by both poignant sacrifices and the triumph of building anew,” says Dr. Zhao.
For women or men seeking a safe, inclusive space to grow, learn from peers, and break down barriers, get in touch with The O Six. Members form diverse friendships and have engaging conversations that boost success in work and life.
If you’re interested in learning more, chatting with The O Six’s members, or attending its events, visit theosix.com.