What do you do in your current job/what are your responsibilities?
A: I am currently the VP Tax for Brookfield Renewable Energy's North American operations. I manage a team of 11 professionals both in the US and in Canada whose responsibilities include but are not limited to: tax accounting and reporting, tax compliance, M&A support, tax planning and risk mitigation. In my role, I wear many hats. I am ultimately responsible for everything that my team is working on, so need to ensure I am updated on all critical projects that impact our business and am able to communicate project updates, potential risks as well as opportunities to the CFO and others in senior management outside of finance. I am also responsible for ensuring that those who work on my team continue to be challenged and are able to grow and develop in their own professional careers.
Q:What skills do you building the D'Amore-McKim MS in Accounting/MBA program that you are applying at your current job?
A:The most obvious skill that I developed while in the MSA/MBA program was a strong foundation in accounting, which I have relied on my entire career. Along with that, however, I think there are two skills I learned that have been critical to my success. First and foremost, while enrolled in the MSA/MBA program, I learned how to quickly grasp and retain new concepts. This skill was crucial because while in the program, the luxury of time to absorb new information just did not exist. It forced me to identify the key areas to focus on so I could apply that knowledge throughout the rest of the program. My entire career has been and always will be based on continual learning, as the laws, our business, or my role in the company change. The MSA/MBA program taught me how to be quick on my feet. The other thing I learned while in the program was the value and importance of being able to effectively work as part of a team. Most of the MBA courses in particular involved team projects. As I look back on my career, I am hard pressed to think of anything I've worked on that has not been a team effort.
Q:What would you say to a colleague considering enrolling in the MSA/MBA program
A:I have actually shared my experience with the D'Amore-McKimm MSA/MBA program with a number of colleagues over the years who were considering going back to school. My advice is pretty straightforward. The MSA/MBA program is time tested and provides graduates with all of the tools, knowledge, and experience necessary to become a successful CPA, quickly. Those students who commit to absorbing all that the program and internships have to offer can almost certainly be guaranteed a successful career in the future.
Q:Why did you choose the D'Amore-McKim MSA/MBA
A:Tax was a second career for me and when I decided to go back to school, I had three young children at the time. It was important for me to graduate from a program that was highly regarded in the community, which the D'Amore-McKim MSA/MBA is. The larger deciding factor for me was that I wanted to obtain the skills to become a CPA, but did not want to have to commit the two years or more that most other programs I looked into would have required.
Q:Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
A:To be honest, one thing that I have learned almost from the moment I graduated is that my career has continually taken me in directions that I would not have necessarily expected or planned for. My success has in part been due to my ability to adapt well to change. My current role has broadened my exposure to the larger business world beyond just tax and accounting. I truly enjoy what I am doing now, but if a new and exciting opportunity is presented to me that will challenge me in different ways, I am always game to try new things, even if it feels uncomfortable at the time. I look forward to seeing what I am doing in 5-10 years but would never put on paper where I think I see myself, because that is pretty much a guarantee that I will ultimately be doing something else!