What’s their secret? FCPAs share different stepping stones to success

Feb 26, 2024
What’s their secret? FCPAs share different stepping stones to success

CPABC is proud to celebrate the 16 Chartered Professional Accountants who were recently elected to Fellowship! We look forward to celebrating these members and other honourees at the Member Recognition Dinner on April 3, 2024. 

The FCPA designation formally recognizes those members who have rendered exceptional service to the profession, whose achievements in their careers and/or whose contributions in the community have earned them distinction and brought honour to the profession. As such accomplished individuals who make exemplary contributions in diverse areas, we asked each of the new Fellows to share their secret to success. Their reflections are below. 

Gina Arsens, FCPA, FCA, Founder and CEO, Yumasoy Foods Ltd 

I've always said yes to an opportunity. If it challenged me, if I found it interesting, if I hadn't done it before, I would say yes. 

Gregory F. Buck, FCPA, FCA, Partner and Founder, KEY Financial Group LLP

Every small practitioner must understand that advertising equals how well you did on the last job that you did. It doesn't matter what you did before, you must treat the next client that comes in as the most important client and do the best job in the world.

Ian P. Cameron, FCPA, FCA, Retired Senior Vice-President, Finance & CFO, Methanex

The secret to my success is one, having great mentors, two, having even better business colleagues, and third is my partner, Brigitte. And lastly, a lot of good luck. 

Geoffrey Dodds, FCPA, FCA, Partner, Buckley Dodds CPA

You need to be able to listen and pay attention, and you need to be giving of your time and care about your clients. Lastly, you need to have the skillset to be able to adapt quickly to change, because it's all around us.

Paul Hazra, FCPA, FCA, CFO, Pattison Food Group

First, surround yourself with as talented a team as you can possibly assemble. Second, surround yourself with a really strong support infrastructure, both within the organization and externally. To have individuals who can support you with your career and your ambition is very important. And third, hard work and determination.

Elaine Kam, FCPA, FCA, Assistant Vice-President Taxation, HSBC Bank Canada

I try to surround myself with people who inspire me, motivate me, and possess skillsets that I wish I had. By surrounding myself with these people, I learn from them. I have found that these individuals are very often the ones who are the most generous and kind – those who give back a lot and love to support others. 

Amanjit Lidder, FCPA, FCA, Senior Vice-President Tax Services, MNP LLP

I would point to my strong work ethic. I'm first generation Canadian and my earliest memories are of my parents talking about the importance of hard work and education. Next is mentorship, I think I am where I am because of the mentors that I have and it's those experiences that drive my commitment to elevate all of those around me. And also my family – they're my north star. 

Judith Marriott, FCPA, FCA, Chair, Department of Business, North Island College

Hard work, dedication, and caring are the things I needed to help me succeed. However, success is not the same for everyone. For me, success is being able to achieve a goal or helping others succeed. It might be as simple as having enough friends to buy the lottery tickets for the volunteer organization I'm selling those tickets for, or as important as helping a student who's struggling with the material and watching them begin to understand it, or working on a Rotary project that changes my community.

Top row, left to right: Fellows: Gina Arsens, Gregory F. Buck, Ian P. Cameron, Geoff Dodds, Paul Hazra, Elaine Kam, Amanjit Lidder, Judith Marriott, Scott Munro. Middle row: Fellows: Beverley Pao, Jervis Rodrigues, Kristine Simpson, Duncan Sinclair, Greg Smith, Trisha Tannis, Valerie Warren. Distinguished Service Award: Miranda Cook, Alan Cosgrave. Bottom row: Distinguished Service Award: Ronald Royston. Early Achievement Award: Shailene Caparas, Aaron Cheung, Linda Christie, Bryce Davis, Amy Duncan, Zahra Kolia, Jason Lum, Brent Wolfe.

Scott Munro, FCPA, FCA, Deputy CEO, First Nations Financial Management Board

Recognize what your strengths are and embrace those. Also recognize where your strengths might lack. Then pair that with building a team of people around you who complement the things that you bring.

Beverley Pao, FCPA, FCA, Vice-Chair, Deloitte Canada and Chile

It comes down to a servant leadership mindset – I've had the benefit of leaders who've looked out for me, who've taken care of me, and really thought about my future and my growth trajectory and given me the opportunities. When I think about what I do day-to-day, it really is driven by an ability to work closely with so many businesses, government, as well as our people, in service of wanting them to be better leaders for the future.

Jervis Rodrigues, FCPA, FCA, Partner, BDO Canada LLP

It would be the softer skills, the personality, and the ability to listen to people. Listen to their issues, listen to their challenges, take it away and come back to them with a solution that addresses exactly what you've heard. 

Kristine Simpson, FCPA, FCA, Partner, BDO Canada LLP

I have a lot of passion and drive, and I'm willing to ask questions with the idea and focus for making future improvements. Although that drive and passion needs to be reigned in with some patience when things don't move as quickly as I'd like them to. But I have taken the attitude of truth and honesty, and it has helped me build very strong relationships and those people have supported me through my career.

Duncan Sinclair, FCPA, FCA, Chair, Deloitte Canada and Chile

I always sought to go and find people with views that were different from my own and to seek them out as mentors, to seek them out as colleagues, and to seek them out as people that I could continuously learn from. I always tried to use that as an opportunity to better understand what people needed and how what I was good at doing could help them to have a better life.

Greg Smith, FCPA, FCA, President and CEO, Equinox Gold Corp.

It's surrounding yourself with great people and then having the tenacity and perseverance to push through any challenges you might have in your career, or building a business, or whatever life throws at you. If you have those ingredients, you've got that good support network and you've got the ability and discipline to keep at it, even when it gets tough, I think that's really the only way you can achieve success.

Trisha Tannis, FCPA, FCGA, FCA (BB) Managing Director, Unicomer (Barbados) Ltd. 

It is important that success is not only measured narrowly by material trappings, but is measured by a high level of peace, personal comfort, and what your own definition of success is. And finally, never limit yourself. I certainly don't limit myself in terms of any progression or what persons may deem as success. I don't self-impose any limitations. I see the sky as the limit. 

Valerie Warren, FCPA, FCA, Instructor and Accounting Faculty, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

It's often been being the willingness to step forward where there's a need or where I can contribute something. In terms of achieving success, I've also been very fortunate to work with a tremendous group of people, people who really care about their students, who care about education, and who care about students having the skills they need to be successful.

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