Former lakeport CEO helping children one dime at a time

What else can be said about Teresa Cascioli that hasn’t already been said? She’s an entrepreneur, former CEO, philanthropist, and now you can add author to her vast resume of accomplishments.

Miss Cascioli is a graduate of McMaster’s DeGroote School of Business (1983). In 1999 she took over the bankrupt Lakeport Brewery in Hamilton and became its CEO. Within eight short years through clever marketing, tenacity, drive, and hard work, she turned a fledgeling company around. In 2007 she sold it to Labatt for a staggering $201 million! After the sale of Lakeport Brewery Teresa became Strategic Advisor to Labatt and later to KPMG.

Teresa learned early on about the value of money. When her parents gave her money to go to the store, she was always told to bring back the change because it was needed to buy other things. Some of today’s kids feel a sense of entitlement and believe that money grows on trees. If parents keep handing their children money, they won’t learn the value of a dollar and will take it for granted. She says they need to learn how to earn it and then spend it. Teresa is a firm believer that financial literacy is just as important as reading and writing.

Through a sense of frustration that financial literacy is not taught in the school system, Teresa created M is for Money®, a Kid’s Guide to Financial Literacy.

There are nine books in the series which revolve around seven-year-old twins Tessa and Benji. Through their curiosity, they learn money basics such as saving, running a lemonade stand, opening their own bank accounts, budgeting their purchases, loaning each other money, and paying back the loans. It’s not the typical rudimentary way of learning but rather a creative and fun adventure as we follow Tessa and Benji’s quest to get educated on money. The books are geared to children between the ages of 5 and 9. Teresa hopes the books will initiate important discussions about money between children and their families.

The M is For Money book series is published by Cascioli’s own publishing company, Tess Creative. The illustrations were done by Sheridan College graduate Rachel Zavarella. The books are available at www.misformoney.ca. There are also free guides for parents, teachers, and librarians which can be downloaded at no cost on the website.

In January of this year, FirstOntario Credit Union partnered with Teresa Cascioli and M is for Money to lead a financial literacy campaign in Ontario. For anyone who opens a new First Ontario account for a child up to the age of 10, they will receive the first three books of the series. Subsequent account transactions will be rewarded with additional books in the series until all nine books are collected. The books are available at all 32 FirstOntario locations. More information can be found at FirstOntario.com.

Teresa has received many business awards and accolades and has devoted her spare time to charitable causes. She has donated over $6 million to her community, including funding for McMaster University’s Chair in Entrepreneurial Leadership and has earned the title of Philanthropist of the Year.

If M is For Money then T is for Teresa who saw a void in financial learning and acted on it.