Amanda Zais

Women to Watch—Amanda Zais

Amanda Zais loves being an entrepreneur—growing her business her way and taking control of her own future.

For the past eight years, Amanda Zais has been working as a tax consultant.

Zais’ career sees her working for Tax Pros during tax season, and then for her own self-run company the rest of the time.  Her financial career began almost immediately after high school, and she says she never had much hesitation as to what field she was going into.

“I started taking accounting courses and then began working at an accounting firm, but I quickly realized that being an accountant wasn’t for me.  I really liked the tax side of it and the variety of dealing with personal tax returns.

“After years of tax planning, expanding into financial planning felt like a great transition for me to be able to help clients on a broader level. One of my favourite things about tax planning is helping the client understand their situation better to maximize their deductions and in turn save taxes. Over the years I have seen major gaps between financial advisor and tax preparer, but I feel with my tax background it will be a great advantage for my clients. Every situation is unique to each individual and I love problem solving, especially when it can really make an impact on someone’s financial situation.”

Zais loves being an entrepreneur for several very simple reasons.  She has control over her future and her schedule, is able to grow her business her way and in the direction she wants, and she never has to worry about anyone else’s business ethics coming into play.

“I have never been able to compromise my morals or beliefs. Being true to yourself and your goals are important in life and in business to truly be successful.”

In addition to working as a tax consultant, Zais also owns Mavazi Apparel, a women’s clothing store in downtown Kelowna.  She opened the store three years ago as a hobby business, but also as a platform to get involved with the community and help give back.

The idea for the store is one that Zais described as “coming out of nowhere.” She wanted to do something major before she turned 30 and had always had a passion for fashion, therefore opening Mavazi was the direction she decided to take.  One of the first charity events she used Mavazi for was a fundraiser for the Kelowna Boys and Girls Club Youth Shelter.  She organized a silent online auction, and before she knew it had over 100 local businesses donating to the fundraiser, raising over $4,000 in two weeks.

Since the Boys and Girls Club event, Zais has helped multiple charities using Mavazi as a platform to organize fundraisers and donate clothes. Zais recalls about one year after opening Mavazi it was brought to her attention just how much good it was doing.

“Mavazi Apparel won Corporate Community of the Year for 2013 from the City of Kelowna, and that was really an honor to be recognized for all of the charity work that we had been doing so quickly after only being open for a year. I feel so blessed to have the outlet that I do to give back to the community in the way that I have and in ways I never imagined I would be able to. I absolutely love how supportive our community is and the inspirational people I have met along the way.”

Zais is currently partaking in a month-long fundraiser where she and several other women who are part of a new group called Female Family Photos Kelowna have challenged themselves to go one month without wearing makeup. They aim to raise awareness for women’s health and collect donations for the new high dose rate brachytherapy program at the BC Cancer Agency Southern Interior Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Centre in Kelowna.

Zais is hoping to mirror the success she has had in her charity business in her own career, as her personal goals include growing her tax business and successfully expanding into financial planning.

With her personal drive and ability and willingness to help others, Amanda Zais is a Woman to Watch.

Crowe MacKay’s Women to Watch program is a weekly feature that profiles remarkable women in our community. This feature series is a joint initiative between Crowe MacKay, the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce and the Kelowna Capital News.