Virginia Lackey, one of Crowe MacKay’s new Partners of 2020, shares her career journey, who’s inspired her along the way, and a few of her favourite things.
I always wanted to be a math teacher because I excelled in the subject; it just made sense to me and I really enjoy teaching and helping others learn. However, this is not the career path I took. But, in becoming an accountant, I’ve found my career to hold the same qualities as a math teacher: I work with numbers and I get to help others learn, whether it be staff or clients.
I started in public practice in September 2006 and have been in the industry ever since, making it just over 13 years now. I have been with Crowe MacKay for two years, initially joining as a Senior Manager and then Associate, before being nominated to become a Partner in January of 2020.
Inspired to have a career in accounting
There are two factors that led me to a career in accounting. The first was an accounting course I took in high school. I did very well in the class and excelled in the subject. The second was my godfather. He is a Chartered Accountant and always seemed excited about his work. So, in being introduced to a field that I seemed to be good at and enjoyed — and knowing that there were employment opportunities that provided job satisfaction— I decided to do a Bachelor of Commerce with a concentration in accounting. My ultimate goal was to become a Chartered Accountant.
I completed my Bachelor of Commerce at Carleton University. I was fortunate to get a job at a bookkeeping company after my first year of university. I stayed at that company throughout my schooling doing bookkeeping for a variety of businesses, which helped me secure a position at an accounting firm straight out of university as a staff accountant. I worked for that firm for a number of years leaving as the Director of Assurance Services to join Crowe MacKay in 2018. I continued my education through the Chartered Accountant designation program (CA), and since then I’ve continued to further my education, obtaining my Certified Internal Auditor designation (CIA).
I get by with a little help from my friends … family and mentors
So many people were involved in my journey to get me where I am today. Starting with my godfather, who was a key factor in my decision to become a Chartered Accountant. My best friend from high school also played an integral role by introducing me to my first employer in the accounting field, the owner of a bookkeeping company.
Early in my career, I had a manager who was incredibly clever and personable. He had a lot of technical knowledge that is involved in accounting and assurance but was also warm, friendly, easy going, and fun.
While working with him he mentored me in technical skills. He challenged me and provided opportunities for growth, while at the same time demonstrating through his actions and behaviors that we can perform our work professionally while also having meaningful relationships with clients and staff. This really is a people business and you are only as good as the people you are surrounded by.
Then there are the countless partners that I have worked with throughout my career who provided me with interesting and ever-evolving opportunities. They showed me what it means to be a professional in terms of technical requirements, client relations, and, most importantly, how to support and learn from those around you.
I have also had the pleasure of working with many colleagues who have provided endless support and guidance.
With all that said, the most impactful person to my success is my husband. He has been the biggest cheerleader and supporter of my career. Without his support, I would not be able to meet the demands of the job and raise our two very energetic boys.
Seeing the world and sharing experiences
Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to travel for work, which has allowed me to meet a diverse group of people throughout the years, providing invaluable experiences and perspectives contributing to my personal and professional development.
The most memorable experience I’ve had in my career was when I traveled to Zambia and Zimbabwe in 2010 to perform two audits. I met the most welcoming people who took time to introduce me to their country, culture, and favorite restaurants. I went on a safari and saw the Great Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls, all with a fantastic colleague. My colleague made the experience that much better and provided great company during the 35+ hour travel days to and from Africa.
… and when Virginia’s not in the office
Apart from my career, I am passionate about my family. I have a great husband, two awesome boys, three sisters, and incredible parents. I love traveling, especially with my family, and creating memories to last a lifetime (with the exception of the flights involved - of course).
And when I’m not making memories with my family, you can find me watching award shows like the Oscars or the Golden Globes. I just love the glitz, the glamour, and the fashion!