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Connections matter: how compassion and caring drives this pioneer in insolvency to action

Posted on 7 March 2024

Written by Ashvin Sharma

To mark International Women’s Day, msi Spergel is proud to recognize partner Gillian Goldblatt and her lifelong dedication to improve vulnerable Canadians’ financial outcomes marked by outstanding achievements in the field of licensed insolvency expertise.

Women account for 32 per cent of Canada’s Licensed Insolvency Trustees, or 340 out of 1,066 licensed professionals. Female enrollment in the field is up, but too few major firms are leading this change. As a 2020 CAIRP New Members’ Award of Merit recipient and past President of the Ontario Association of Insolvency & Restructuring Professionals, Gillian has championed strong, equitable and compassionate financial outcomes for Canadian debtors, some of whom are society’s most vulnerable.

Gillian Goldblatt

“As a licensed insolvency trustee, you can literally take a huge weight of financial burden off people’s shoulders immediately,” Gillian shared in a recent interview. “It ends up being a very positive experience.”

Her desire to lift others’ burdens took root, in part, from her father and firm founder Alan Spergel. After founding his firm in 1989, after-hours calls to Mr. Spergel from clients in need of immediate financial advice would route to Gillian’s childhood home. She grew up listening to and seeing the difference licensed insolvency work made in the lives of others, and from that positive impression decided at a young age to pursue this line of work.

This mission took Gillian to McGill University for a Bachelor of Commerce. She would then become a Chartered Professional Accountant and manager of assurance services for Ernst and Young in Toronto. In 2009 she joined msi Spergel and set about obtaining her Licensed Insolvency Trustee designation.  She has spent many years managing various teams within the firm, and now oversees the day-to-day operations of the entire consumer insolvency practice.

Since earning her insolvency trustee’s licence in 2016, Gillian has assisted thousands of corporate and individual clients through the trials and outcomes of insolvency. She was instrumental in the addition of an LIT category to the ReferToHer list of female legal professionals, further eliminating barriers and increasing representation of women in her industry. After many years of service to her firm, Gillian became a partner in 2016. In 2020, she would achieve the Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals New Members’ Award of Merit.

“Leading with empathy is a real strength in this industry,” Gillian shared. “Fifty per cent of our clients are female, and I often get calls from women who want to only speak with a female trustee.” Ms. Goldblatt also ensures that Spergel clients work with a single LIT throughout all of their insolvency filing; a Spergel trade-practice which ensures client peace of mind and continuity opposed to the nuisance of having to navigate through various firm departments for different issues.

Asked how Spergel stands out in the industry, Gillian shared “we bring a lot of compassion to what we do and to our clients.” She believes msi Spergel’s consistent five-star reviews are due, in part, to the firm’s priorities to reduce client stress and lead with dignity.

This level of understanding can make a world of difference for clients dealing with the least pleasant aspects of debt collection. “Imagine receiving multiple calls per day from someone trying to collect a debt or pressure you while you’re at work or with your family,” Gillian asked. “You have the right not to be harassed like that, and it’s really important that people know what their rights are.”

To this end, Gillian says she’s surprised with The Office of Consumer Affairs and their lack of public education surrounding debt collection practices. “It really is a form of consumer protection at the end of the day,” she shares. “I’ve always thought we should be partnering with them to help increase the public’s awareness and understanding of what their options are if they’re facing debt problems.”

Gillian Goldblatt stands out in the licensed insolvency industry not just for her accolades but for her unwavering commitment to empathy and financial literacy. As a partner at msi Spergel, she has promoted the firm’s consistent approach to client care, prioritizing compassion and understanding above all. Inspired by her father’s legacy, Gillian has not only excelled professionally but has also become a beacon of hope for those navigating financial distress. Her dedication to empowering clients and advocating for their rights underscores her belief that during the week of International Women’s Day and the remaining 51 weeks, everyone deserves a chance at financial resilience and peace of mind.

Gillian has appeared in Canadian national media numerous times, including The Globe and Mail, BNN Bloomberg and Law Times. 

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Ashvin Sharma

Ashvin Sharma is a Chartered Insolvency and Restructuring Professional and LIT (Licensed Insolvency Trustee) overseeing all of Spergel's offices in the Greater Vancouver Area and British Columbia. He is also our resident expert on homeownership debt and health debt. In his spare time, Ashvin loves to play sports, spend time with family and friends, and serves as a volunteer coordinator for "Free-Them", a Canadian organization committed to raising awareness about human trafficking.

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