Purchase of an early-stage tech company led to a career of founding to sale of four.

Carol Leaman (MAcc '89, CPA), CEO of Axonifyby Patty Mah, Associate Director, Communications & External Relations

For Carol Leaman (MAcc ’89, CPA), the solid foundation in accounting from the University of Waterloo led her toward a winding, yet interesting and life changing career path of founding early-stage technology companies and leading them through to acquisition…four times over. From the wild rides of founding to the sale of the tech companies she’s led, Leaman has remained humble with the firm belief of creating an environment and culture that empowers everyone with knowledge, transparency, and honesty. Her latest start-up, Axonify, is a demonstration of Leaman exemplifying these qualities through her leadership which has translated into multiple years of recognition for Axonify as one of the best workplaces in Canada. Axonify was acquired last April by an American private equity firm to which Leaman has remained in the leadership role to take her passion project to the next stage of growth.

Leaman’s passion for her work is clear as she speaks of the enjoyment she gets from tackling challenges of early-stage start-ups to leveraging the expertise, knowledge, and skills of the professionals around her. Building cumulative knowledge from one start-up to the next is formulaic in certain ways, with Leaman acknowledging that the learned experiences have helped her navigate through challenges more efficiently.

“Every day is a new adventure and even after ten years with Axonify, new things happen every week and new challenges present themselves. It’s figuring them out that is the most gratifying to me and offering opportunities for other people to grow, learn, and excel in their careers.” – Leaman

The School of Accounting and Finance caught up with the winner of the 2010 Sarah Kirke Award for Canada's Leading Female Hi-Tech Entrepreneur and the 2011 Waterloo Region Intrepid Award for Entrepreneurship for an interview and to host her as one of the panelists at this year’s Women in Accounting and Finance: Global Summit event. Leaman shares her passion for tech start-ups and advice for aspiring professionals looking to build careers as founders.