Jena was born in Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii, but her mom moved their family to the Okanagan to be close to grandparents just before she turned 1 and she has never left.
What lead you to where you are currently?
My road to accounting was a little longer than most. In high school I was idealistic about the environment and conservation and my goal was to work with David Suzuki one day. Therefore, I entered into the Bachelor of Science program at Okanagan University College (now UBCO). After my first year, I decided I needed to take a year off to do some soul searching, but still returned and finished my BSc with a major in biology and minor in psychology. When I graduated I had no idea what my next step would be, as none of the professions that an undergraduate in Biology would lead to, appealed to me. My grandpa set me up to see one of his friends who specializes in career psychology and the results of the multitude of career aptitude tests was conclusive....I was meant to be an accountant! I immediately registered in what is now the "post baccalaureate " program at Okanagan College in order to complete all the necessary prerequisite courses for the CASB program. Upon completing the prerequisite courses, I began working as an articling student at Crowe MacKay and completed my CA designation.
What is your favourite past time?
I enjoy hiking and spending time outdoors with my husband and two young children.
Who has been your biggest supporter?
My biggest supporter in my early years was my grandpa, who always encouraged me and told me to never settle, that I could be anything I wanted to be. Now my biggest supporter is my husband, who always helps me maintain my work life balance and keeps me grounded during stressful times.
Have you had any key mentors?
Angela Bailey is my key mentor. She has been a major influence in the direction my career has taken and I appreciate her support and continued guidance to help me excel in my career.
A bit of the story of starting with Crowe MacKay....
After my first year of taking my prerequisite accounting courses, I received a phone call from one of my professors, asking if it would be okay if she gave my number to Don Turri at Crowe MacKay. I wasn't intending to start looking for a position until the following year, but knew already that Crowe MacKay was where I wanted to work, so I met with Don and Angela for an interview anyway. They hired me for the summer, to return the following May once I had completed my courses. That was 11 years ago, so I certainly made the right choice in accepting that interview!
What lead you into your line of work?
I work primarily with professionals (mostly doctors), which is an incredibly satisfying aspect to this career. I feel like I truly have an impact in our clients' lives, as they depend on us for more than just their accounting needs. We also assist in tax and cash flow planning and every day decisions.
What is the best part of the job?
Knowing that I make a real difference in people's lives.
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