Interview with Toronto’s Sean St. John: Why He Gives Back


As the Executive Vice President and Co-Head of Fixed Income, Currencies & Commodities at National Bank Financial in Toronto, Canada, Sean St. John has spent 22 years of his career helping to grow the bank’s fixed income group into a top ranked Canadian underwriter.  Sean’s knowledge and expertise over the years have earned him valuable roles at National Bank, with his responsibilities focused on all aspects of the fixed income division, including sales and trading, interest rate derivatives, debt capital markets and infrastructure finance.  


Inside the bank, it’s hard work and dedication that has driven his success.  Outside of work, his passion to give back.


For years, Sean St. John has been giving back his time and energy to the community, having been highly active in both Toronto-based and national non-profit organizations.  He chaired the 2018 Right to Play Heroes Gala honoring Louis Vachon (National Bank CEO), for example, while raising a record-breaking $2.8 million for the organization.


Also, Sean proudly chaired the annual Scotiabank Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer 2018 Event at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto. The event raised $2.7 million to support cutting-edge cancer research for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.  He also supports the Children’s Aid Foundation and United Way.


As the Executive Vice President of National Bank Financial, you are a very busy man, responsible for both corporate and government financing solutions.  At the end of the day, what drives you, and where do you find the time to want to do more?


Sean St. John: Honestly, I think a lot of people engulf themselves in work, tending to neglect life outside of the office.  But we all know the important aspects of life are family, friends and community. Taking time to get out there, help others in the community, being involved – are all part of a full life.


Q:  You’re now the ambassador for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.  How did you become involved with this particular charity?

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Sean St. John: Princess Margaret Hospital is near and dear to my heart.  I’m a cancer survivor myself, and it’s where I received treatment years ago.  Once you’ve gone through an illness and you’ve come out on top, it changes your perspective forever.  I am grateful to Princess Margaret Center for helping me on my journey to recovery and I knew I wanted to help in any way I could.  If I can make someone else’s experience going through cancer treatment that much easier, then I want to be part of that.


Q: You’ve helped organize and facilitate the Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer event which raises money for cancer research.  What was involved with getting a team together?


Sean St. John: Charity work and community participation is a huge part of our culture at the bank.  It’s also a fun day and a wonderful way to spend time with your peers so putting together a team for the day was not a big ask. In fact the last 2 years we have had two teams involved. It is such a fun day. There is not enough time in the day to play road hockey anymore so taking a day to enjoy the game and raise money for Princess Margaret is great.


Q: Describe the outcome.  How did this year’s Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer Event differ from other years in terms of money raised?

Sean St. John: We went 5 and 0 on the day of the tournament and from beginning to end it was a wonderful experience.  The first year we raised a million dollars. This year, we raised over 2 million dollars. I’m so proud of the team’s success and all the great memories.



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