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Donray Santiago Plays Pepper with Paul Bojakli

For those of you who don’t know, Quantus is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. This year, we’re doing something special for our third season of Around the Cooler. 

We’re going back…way back and interviewing those first brave agents who joined the team when we were still operating out of a basement. Ok, we had graduated to a small office by that point, but you get the idea.

We picked the perfect person for our first episode of the year. His laugh is contagious, he has a loving energy when he walks into a room, and he’s not afraid to poke fun back at co-owner, Paul Bojakli.

Without further ado, let’s dive into this episode with our mortgage broker, Donray Santiago.

Tell Us Where You Grew Up

I grew up in the Philippines and I moved to Canada in 1977. I moved with my whole family; mom, dad, my three sisters, and my grandma. And my mom still lives beside me in St. Albert.

How Did You Get the Name Donray? (We’ve always wanted to know)

Well, it’s a funny story. So, my dad’s name is Rey. But, during my baptism, they didn’t like just “Don” for me. It wasn’t…well, Catholic enough, I guess! So, they put my dad’s name beside mine and that’s how I got my name.

How Did You Get Into Mortgages?

It’s a long story!

After graduating, they ask you “what you want to become.” I wanted to become either a pilot or an astronaut. I decided to become a pilot. I got my commercial pilot license; it wasn’t the easiest route. The thought of spending hours being a baggage handler and then becoming sort of “second pilot” up North, with a low income…I couldn’t do it. 

I enlisted in the Department of National Defense, the Canadian Air Force specifically, where I spent 17 years. 

Before I had left the military, a mortgage broker had visited me in my home to do our renewal and I just started asking questions. He said to take the exam and when I passed, he called me and said, “are you going to come in?”

Donray Servicing in the Canadian Air Force

What’s Your Life’s Philosophy?

Live it up.

I find that a lot of people don't live it up. They’re almost sheltered. You gotta live it up. I came from a third world country. You know, there's some poverty there, but they live it up with nothing. And here [in Canada] people have something. They're not living it up. 

Does That Explain How You Got Your Earring?

Oh yeah…It was Father's Day. It was Covid. And my boys wanted their ears pierced. So I said, “Let's do it right outside.” I still have the footage, and my son goes in first. And he was just screaming. So it was a Father's Day activity with my boys.

Do You Have Any Success Stories That Stick Out?

I have a lot of success stories. I'm here with you. I'm a mortgage broker. I fulfilled my time in the military. I've fulfilled my time volunteering. The majority of my family is healthy. I don't know what else I can ask for. I'm happy with my life.

The Santiago Family

On The Flip Side, What Have You Learned From One of Your Biggest Failures?

There's one particular one that comes to my mind. When I was getting out of the military, I wanted to become a firefighter. Physically I was there, but mentally I don't think I was there. 

The EMR practical exam was the biggest struggle for me that I couldn't get past. That sticks out of my mind because getting out of the military, I didn't know what I was going to do and I was 100% into firefighting. I couldn't pass the provincial exam, and that was very upsetting. But you just move on and try other things. And the mortgage industry literally fell on my lap when that happened.

And Finally, What Does the Q Mean to You?


That’s the first thing that comes to my mind. And you know what? Maybe, I'm maybe biased in this because we've been together for so long. 

But even the new agents, for whatever reason, they gravitate to family. I see the family orientation with the group and with our meetings…I find that family is important.

Thank you so much Donray for joining Paul for the first 2024 episode of Around the Cooler. Who knew that volleyball outside in the middle of Spring would be so competitive?


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