1 - Provide a brief outline of your academic and career pathway leading to your current role.
I have enjoyed a diversified financial career in public accounting, corporate development and investment banking. Each position led to the next and allowed me to work in Asia, Europe and North America. Recently, I joined a technology private equity firm as a fund CFO and live in San Francisco. Reflecting back, Waterloo’s program opened doors, accelerated my career and taught me solid fundamentals that are timeless.
2 - What inspired you to start the Accounting and Finance Endowment Fund (AFEF)?
Prior to the start of the AFEF, the SAF was facing a difficult situation of rising costs and increasingly limited government funding - sound familiar? But the SAF was relatively new and very much a start-up. Not unlike other start-ups, SAF leadership was visionary and innovating the curriculum and program. The SAF Directors, Jack Hannah and then Howard Armitage, were approachable, supportive and tenacious.
The Engineering students had just passed a referendum to establish a voluntary student contribution fund. I was inspired by the fact that engineering students had taken a meaningful step to address their funding problem. The engineering students demonstrated how they could be the driving force for positive action. The accounting student association felt that we could do the same. We wanted to do our part.
It is amazing to see how much SAF has grown. SAF is now widely regarded and respected as one of the best accounting and finance programs in the country.
3 - Why should SAF students support/contribute to AFEF? What benefits do SAF students gain from supporting/contributing to AFEF?
I acknowledge that students making a voluntary contribution on top of tuition and living expenses is not easy. However, student-led contributions are a powerful endorsement of the quality of the SAF education and experience. The SAF can leverage these endorsements when seeking much larger contributions from corporate and other donors.
4 - Why is it important for you to continue supporting the AFEF now, as an alum?
The UW brand is well regarded in Canada and globally. As a proud alumnus, we have a vested interest to help maintain the reputation and quality of the School. But more importantly, I think it is customary for alums to show their gratitude and to give back when they have received so much from their school experience.
The AFEF is one of a few SAF funds that alumni can contribute to where the decision and disbursement of those funds are student-led.