About Us

Our People

Personal and business money matters often feel complex, confusing, and worrisome. Our goal is to provide instant peace of mind, regardless of your situation. More than that, we aim to leverage personal banking, personal mortgage, private investment, and commercial real estate opportunities to build or rebuild your finances into a prosperous future.

Laura Sawatzky

Mortgage Professional

First Avenue Financial is owned by Laura Sawatzky, in addition to mortgage expertise, Laura also has over 20 years’ experience as a paralegal and is therefore fluent in all aspects of mortgage and real estate transactions.


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This extra insight helps Laura navigate transactions, find opportunities, and resolve challenges with greater efficiency and creativity than your average mortgage broker.

Laura personally has investments in residential and commercial real estate both in Canada and the US and is currently director of six privately held companies. She also enjoys helping her clients invest in their future by leveraging banking and real estate options beyond their personal mortgage.

She is a known leader in the financial industry, speaker, and wealth creator for her clients as well as a multi-awarded mortgage broker, claiming a rank as Top 5% in Canada “Summit Club” – the last 5 years running.

Colby Sawatzky

Mortgage Broker

Colby has over 7 years of experience as a mortgage broker. After spending several years in the oil and gas industry Colby made the choice to break out of the industry and became a mortgage broker and he hasn’t looked back ever since.


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From his degree in Business and entrepreneurship, Colby has made a foothold in the industry. His goal with every client is to treat them and their situation as if it was his own personal home purchase. His experience and expertise have allowed him to help many clients find creative solutions to becoming a homeowner.

Caden Sawatzky

Insurance, Investment Advisor

Caden is First Avenue Financial’s insurance and investment professional, joining the team in 2018. He comes from an extensive background in business and entrepreneurship. You have worked hard for your wealth and it is his goal to help you protect that, educate you on solutions to grow your wealth, and implement strategies to bring you an avenue to financial freedom.



Danny Nielsen

Mortgage Broker

Danny joined the First Avenue Financial team as a licensed mortgage broker in 2021. He comes into the industry with a strong technical skillset and client-orientated personality.


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After obtaining an engineering degree from the U of A, he worked in the field before coming back home to Calgary to undertake various technical sales roles that spanned oil and gas and fabrication industries. Over the years, Danny has learned how to develop relationships and merge his technical knowledge and attention to detail with the needs/desires of his clients. He strives to be the go-to broker for both industry knowledge and successfully helping his clients achieve their mortgage goals – whether that be securing financing to purchase a home, tapping into existing home equity or consolidating debt, he’s here to help!

Joshua Doiron

Mortgage Broker
Joshua built a reputation on customer care and attention to detail. Helping clients find financial freedom through creative solutions while working closely with experienced and industry-leading members of the First Avenue team.


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His personal goal is to ensure all of a client’s needs are attentively met while setting up each client for their own personal financially free future.


Barbara Beler

Commercial Mortgage Broker

With over 25 years of commercial real estate lending experience, Barbara has gained in-depth knowledge in all commercial real estate asset classes, and phases: from land servicing to construction, take-out financing, term financing, bridge loans, second mortgages, syndication and club deals, to CMHC insured lending.


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This extensive expertise greatly benefits her clients as she intimately knows what lenders are looking for. As a Broker, she packages client proposals specifically for their individual needs to obtain the best and most cost-effective financing solution for her clients.

Barbara started her commercial banking career in Germany in the late 80s working in Toronto, Vancouver, Vancouver Island, and Montreal, before her corporate move to Calgary in 2001. She is extremely well-connected within the lender network and keeps herself informed on the latest appetites of lenders to best advise her clients. She is often called upon as a subject matter expert by lenders and at commercial real estate events.

Barbara holds degrees in Economics and Business Administration. She is fully licensed to deal in commercial mortgages with the Real Estate Council of Alberta.

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Kelsey Bogensberger

Mortgage Broker

Kelsey comes to First Avenue Financial with a diverse skill set and a wealth of professional experience. After obtaining a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Calgary, Kelsey found herself managing in the hospitality industry where she learned of her love for leadership, numbers, and networking.


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Since then, Kelsey became an Anesthesia RT and had been working in Calgary’s operating rooms, feeding her love of helping people. Kelsey’s love for numbers, networking, and helping people has transferred into the mortgage industry perfectly. Knowing the numbers with attention to detail created the perfect mortgage broker for your next home and is excited to help you achieve your real estate goals.



Faruk Pinar

Mortgage Broker

Faruk is new to the mortgage lending world. Before starting his new career, Faruk has 5 years of experience in the automotive industry with various roles. He completed his master’s degree in political science at the University of British Columbia.


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He also speaks Turkish and English fluently. With his exceptional customer service mentality, he always puts client’s needs first and Faruk is ready to provide solutions for his clients’ needs with the experience and supervision provided by First Avenue Financial team members.

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Paul Lehmann

Mortgage Broker and Realtor

Many years of experience in banking and retail have taught me the importance of listening to clients and focusing on finding a solution to meet their needs. Joining First Avenue last year has presented me with many new options in finding the right solution.


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Since becoming a Mortgage Broker in 2009, my favorite moments have been when I have assisted clients in achieving the dream of homeownership they thought might not be possible.


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Maureen Dobranski

Mortgage Broker and Private Lender

Maureen has over 14 years in the mortgage industry as both a mortgage broker and private lender. She began her entrepreneurial journey in private lending with her father in the early 2000’s where they invested in real estate and offered private financing for those clients unable to obtain traditional financing.


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Maureen continues to personally invest in private lending and has an impressive list of private lenders, enabling her to offer solutions that other cannot provide.



Jim Campbell

Realtor & Mortgage Broker

Born and raised in Calgary, Jim has over 20 years as both a Licensed Realtor® and a Licensed Mortgage Broker. These years have allowed Jim to hone his skills while working at the top-producing real estate teams, three major banks and two of Canada’s top mortgage brokers.


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His dual licenses have allowed Jim to see both sides of the transaction which has given him the ability to create processes that give clients the best buying and selling experience. His strong processes that are set up at the beginning of the client experience leads to a high degree of satisfaction.


Mercedes (Miren) Savard

Mortgage Broker & Realtor

Mercedes, or Miren to her close friends has 15 years of experience in the real estate market as a real estate investor.  Miren is both a Licensed Realtor® & Licensed Mortgage Broker.  


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She also has a Masters Degree in Real Estate Development from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  She specializes in suited single-family homes and multiple property portfolios.


Donguk Kim

Mortgage Broker

Donguk joined First Avenue Financial with years of experience in the IT industry and commercial retail industry. He developed his exceptional client relationship skills while successfully running a national franchise service station and strip mall for over 10 years. His over a decade-long experience as a small business owner will bring much more customized service to the clients. He will understand the client’s needs quickly and act fast to bring the best outcome.


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He is also fluent in both English and Korean. He will do his best to bring maximum client satisfaction.
His diverse experience, hard-working nature, and positive personality will make him a go-to person for all your mortgage needs.


Ready for a Better Experience?








First Avenue Financial – Okotoks
205 – 15 McRae Street, PO Box 1483
Okotoks, Alberta T1S 1B4

Office:  403-938-6888
Toll Free Fax: 1-877-758-1206

First Avenue Financial – Calgary
208 – 40 Sunpark Plaza SE
Calgary, Alberta T2X 3X7

Office:  403-938-6888
Toll Free Fax: 1-877-758-1206