This profile was originally published in the Nov/Dec 2016 issue of CPABC in Focus magazine.
Profile by Vivien Allen
Sepand Jazzi has spent most of his career as an educator, and he says one his most fulfilling roles is serving as a mentor to CPA students and helping them develop the competencies needed to succeed in the profession.
“As a mentor, I’m able to help aspiring CPAs, supporting them and providing them with insight that will be useful throughout their careers,” explains Sepand. “In addition, I have the opportunity to guide future CPAs through the standards they’re expected to uphold.”
Sepand has been involved in education within the accounting profession for over a decade, having served as a lecturer with the Certified Management Accountants of British Columbia and as external program director for the CMABC Vancouver Chapter before signing on as a lecturer with CPA Canada in 2013. That same year, he began volunteering with the CPA Mentorship Program.
The CPA Mentorship Program is designed to help students gain practical experience and learn soft skills, such as professional and ethical behaviour, problem-solving and decision-making, communication, self-management, and teamwork and leadership.
“One of the most rewarding parts of being a mentor in this program is noticing the changes in the confidence and professionalism of my students,” says Sepand. “It gives me great personal satisfaction to see people achieve their goals.”
He describes his participation in the mentorship program as a way to support a profession that has given him a great deal.
“The connections I’ve made within the profession have had a positive effect on my career,” he says, “resulting in opportunities I may have otherwise missed.”
While the CPA Mentorship Program is aimed at helping students develop their practical and soft skills, Sepand points out that it is also beneficial for mentors, providing opportunities for personal and professional growth.
“My role as a mentor has taught me a great deal about how to interact with different personalities and experiences,” he explains. “I believe that it’s because of this program that I’ve become a more effective manager and communicator.”
The program also gives both mentees and mentors a chance to build positive connections with their peers.
“As a CPA, networking is a part my ongoing professional development,” says Sepand. “I like to think of mentorship as another form of networking—one that allows me to create positive connections with future CPAs, and to be part of their growth.”
Networking has certainly benefitted Sepand professionally, as it was through industry events that he met the deans of several post-secondary institutions, which led to offers at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s School of Business in 2003 and at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business in 2012. In addition to both of these roles, which are ongoing, Sepand runs his own consulting firm, Strategic Management Consulting, which he established in 2000. Through the years, he has also held positions as a guest lecturer at Columbia College and Thompson Rivers University, and as an instructor at Langara College.
Given his various roles, it’s fair to say that Sepand is a busy guy. Yet, he still makes time to give back to the profession.
“When I think back to the mentors I had at the beginning of my career, I’m reminded of how much value they’ve added to my life,” he explains. “I find it a great honour, now, to be a mentor to others, and to be a part of their professional development.”