"An unlimited chance to grow and mature."

Celebrating 50 Years: Former Edmonton Managing Director, Don Smith, reflects on his time at Crowe MacKay LLP.

Don Smith
An unlimited chance to grow and mature

There are many memories during my years at Crowe MacKay, a couple of my favorites include our first joint Partners/Managers conference in Victoria. It was the first time we tried hosting a joint CPD event where our Managers actually got to meet the Partners from offices other than the ones they worked with. From here I had a vision, and with the support of the then Partners, I was able to organize and lead the first Manager meeting. The meeting became a strong tool for getting Managers to learn about other offices and providing them with the skills to make them our upcoming partners, (ask Brent and Nazir about the first meeting in Kelowna). I believe that without the ”cross-pollination” at this level our current success would have been much more challenging. It should be noted that in the early 2000s we were one of the few larger but not Big Four firms that invested in such an event.

Another favorite memory is the Partners meeting we held in Anaheim just after we had changed our International affiliation to RSM. We held the meeting there so we could have the Chairman of the US member firm speak to us. What was and is memorable about the meeting is that we set it up as a family meeting (meaning children, as well as significant others, were invited), and stayed in a hotel next to Disneyland. While the Partners had business meetings the families went to Disneyland. On the middle day between business meetings, we rented a bus and EVERYONE went on a day trip to Universal Studios. It was great, as my wife and I “borrowed” our 6 and 8-year-old nieces and I got to see Partners wandering around the park talking with other Partners (and families) in a non-business setting.

MacKay & Partners, now Crowe MacKay, was an unlimited chance to grow and mature, and work with great clients and people. I remember when the Edmonton office joined MacKay & Partners in December 1987. At the time Lawrence Lachman and I were a part of Samson Belair, a firm largely based in Quebec, but with offices in Western Canada (Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver). They decided to merge with Deloitte, but the Edmonton looked for other options, and that’s when we found MacKay & Partners. They were willing to let us maintain some independence over local decisions while still having access to many resources. The opportunities and roles had to go beyond anything I could have imagined. I grew into the role as a Tax Leader, Firm Managing Partner, then the Edmonton office Partner in Charge, and finally the Firm Chairman. I owe a great deal to Iain MacKay and Don Turri for their mentorship during my time, as they taught me many skills throughout my time and the roles I fulfilled. Every role was a great learning experience, but one of my favorite parts of the Managing Partner role was the travel to other offices and the social time spent with Partners (and their families).


When I became a CA in 1973 achieving the designation meant unlimited opportunities (as it still does), and Crowe MacKay’s core values emulate this. We care about our people, supporting their growth; we share our resources and our successes with our team, and we support every team member’s personal and professional growth. Plus we are a part of our communities, not just a business operating there.

Don Smith

Retired Partner, Edmonton

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