Key advice I learned at the Women in Accounting and Finance 10th Anniversary event

Thursday, December 15, 2022
by Gurkomal, AFM Student

Gurkomal, a second-year Accounting and Financial Management (AFM) student, had the opportunity to attend the Women in Accounting and Finance 10th Anniversary event and connect with speakers who offered her motivating advice as successful women leaders. This networking event was the most inspiring one she’s attended yet.

Hi, my name is Gurkomal, and I am a second-year student studying Accounting and Financial Management at the School of Accounting and Finance. I would like to share my experience of attending the Women in Accounting and Finance 10th Anniversary event at the PwC tower in Toronto on November 3, 2022.

Gurkomal networking with the speakers

I am a first-generation university student and the first girl in my family to attend a post-secondary institution. My parents have always encouraged me to follow my passions and backed my decision to pursue a career in the field of accounting and finance. The choice to attend the University of Waterloo was an obvious one when it came to choosing an institution where I could get multiple opportunities to connect with industry professionals and recruiters who can offer great career advice.

Over the past year, I have attended multiple networking events. However, the opportunity to attend the Women in Accounting and Finance 10th Anniversary event was certainly the most memorable and inspiring one. To be in a room with women who were leaders in their chosen fields with incredible achievements was inspiring but also quite daunting at first. 

Photo of Gurkomal

At the event, I got to hear about their career journeys and how they made it big. It was very motivating to hear how they overcame professional challenges and gender discrimination, persistently making their way to the top. Listening to their stories gave me a moment of reflection for myself, and I realized that it is not just your education and experience but your passion and consistent hard work that paves the way for your success. 

Aside from getting the chance to hear their incredible stories, I also got the opportunity to connect with the speakers during the networking session after the event. I would like to share with you three pieces of life-changing advice from women leaders that resonated with me.

1. Jeannine LiChong (MAcc '92), Executive Vice President and Portfolio Manager, Waratah Capital Advisors Ltd.

Always first believe in yourself and your potential before convincing others to believe in you. Nobody will place faith in you until you place faith in yourself. Also, make it a point to give back to your community. It does not always have to be money – your time can be equally valuable.

2. Tricia O’Malley (LLD ’16), FCPA, FCA and 2022 Inductee to the Canadian Accounting Hall of Fame

Work hard and equip yourself with skills that will make you so capable that you are irreplaceable. This will cement your place as a leader in your team.

3. Lana Paton (BMath ’93), Vice-Chair and Managing Partner of the GTA and SWO region, PwC Canada

Learn to say “yes” more than you say “no” at work. This will help you take advantage of different opportunities at work and learn more, which will steer your career growth. Secondly, as women, we must learn to appreciate ourselves instead of finding flaws and doubting our abilities. Always believe in yourself and portray a confident image even when you don’t feel like it, because you will never know if you can achieve something until you try it.

I hope that you find these pieces of advice as inspiring as I did and that they motivate you the next time you doubt yourself.