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In conversation: Our people share highlights of their first year at PwC Canada

September 21, 2021

At PwC Canada, we’ve created an inclusive and diverse culture to ensure our new joiners can live their full potential from day one. We provide opportunities, tools and training to help them ignite a meaningful career and be part of a team where they can find their purpose.

We sat down with Kokailey, Huzaifa and Jessica to talk about their first year at PwC Canada and their roles in Cybersecurity, Privacy and Financial Crime, Tax and Consulting.

Kokaliey - Cybersecurity, Privacy and Financial Crime
Huzaifa - Tax
Jessica - Consulting

Share a little bit about yourself.

Kokailey

I completed an undergraduate degree in Public Health and a Master's in Public Administration from Brigham Young University (BYU) in Utah, and got a second Master’s from the University of Utah in Information Systems. Then, I moved to Canada to attend a post-graduate program in Information Security Management at Fanshawe College, after which I joined PwC Canada to be part of the Cybersecurity, Privacy and Financial Crime team.

Huzaifa

I completed my undergraduate degree in Accounting from Ryerson University. I began my journey at PwC Canada in January 2019, and I’m currently part of the CPA program in Tax.

Jessica

I completed my undergraduate degree in Business for Commerce from Queen's University and navigated my way into the Foundations for the Future management consulting program at PwC Canada. I’m passionate about intersectional diversity and inclusion, and strive to bring that rhetoric into work every day.

Tell us about your experience onboarding from home—what has it been like working entirely virtually?

Kokailey

It was a unique experience to onboard from home and quite nice to have a short commute to my home office desk. With my current team members living in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, and members from the broader PwC Global team from India, Bulgaria, and the Netherlands, one of the most important things I’ve learned about working with peers across multiple time zones is being cognizant of good times to schedule meetings that work well for everyone. I’m also a social committee member and it's been great bringing a social aspect into our virtual work environment with my coworkers. We've had fun activities, I've networked with others outside my team and had some good laughs at our virtual events.

Huzaifa

My experience onboarding from home has been incredibly seamless. All the teams involved, including Human Capital and Learning & Development, were very friendly and super easy to work with. On my first day, I had a virtual meeting that helped answer any questions I had and set me on the right track to complete my e-learning. In addition, my team was very helpful, setting up quick meetings to teach me anything I needed to know to help me succeed in the role. As part of my growth at PwC Canada, I had the opportunity to work on a national project that involved automating investment bookkeeping, which would help create efficiencies for the firm and our clients. As part of this project, I’ve learned a lot about the rigorous process and the multiple steps involved in launching a new product. This experience also taught me how important it’s to have synergy between teams across the country to achieve an excellent outcome.

Jessica

Onboarding from home felt daunting at first, but I’m grateful for the number of people who’ve reached out and made me feel welcome. I was acquainted with my coach and “buddies” in my practice well before I began working, and everyone I reached out to was happy to set aside time to answer my questions and get to know me. The highlight of my first year has been working with colleagues in Vancouver, Calgary, and Montreal, which has taught me to be mindful of others’ schedules. It’s also always a plus when your coworker shows you their beautiful BC sunrise on a gloomy morning in Ontario.

At PwC Canada, we use technology to provide flexibility to our people. In what ways have you been able to be flexible in your work? How has the firm enabled you to prioritize your wellness?

Kokailey

I can work anywhere in Canada, and at times that work best for me, my team and my clients. I recently participated in a wellness challenge put together by the wellness committee with activities that touched physical, spiritual, mental and emotional health. Although my team didn’t win, it was great to be reminded that when we take care of our health, we can more fully bring our whole selves to work.

Huzaifa

PwC Canada has been extremely supportive in making sure all staff are comfortable working remotely. From making sure my new laptop arrived with all the accessories needed to make my experience as easy as possible to providing benefits that promote a healthy lifestyle. The firm has been transparent from the start with consistent virtual meetings held by leadership, ensuring they’re doing their best to support its people. More specifically, the firm provided a generous benefit that staff could expense for purchases that improved the remote working environment. I used this benefit towards purchasing a standing desk to help support my wellness, especially during the busy tax season. In addition, the firm has dedicated numerous days to firm closure to ensure everyone can enjoy time off and relax.

Jessica

As my coworkers are dispersed across Canada, my team leads have set precedence by always accommodating time zones and schedules. I’m encouraged to put my wellbeing first, whether it be through vacation days or just casual check-ins and touchpoints with my team leads. Having senior leadership that lives the core value of care and sets the example of taking time for ourselves inspires me to do the same.

At PwC Canada, we strive to nurture a diverse and inclusive workplace. Are there any initiatives that personally empowered you to bring your whole self to work?

Kokailey

I’m part of the SheProtects group for women in the firm. I’ve attended a couple of SheProtects events where we discussed important topics such as gratitude and how best one receives appreciation in the workplace. I’ve also participated in a yoga session held by the Differently Abled Wellness Network (DAWN). Both of these groups seek to embrace diversity and welcome everyone to show up as their true authentic selves.

Huzaifa

From the start of my journey at PwC Canada, everyone has been kind, welcoming and supportive. I've noticed the vast groups of diverse people in all lines of service, which is part of why PwC Canada is so successful. With multiple ethnicities, races, and cultures working together, it’s evident that different opinions and perspectives shape the service we provide to our clients. I’m proud to be a part of a firm that is inclusive and embraces the value of a diverse workforce. An initiative that personally empowered me was the leaders’ awareness of current events during the national webinars, which showed me how the firm truly cares about its people, ensuring they’re doing their best to support everyone.

Jessica

As a woman of colour, it has been incredibly important to me to view diversity and inclusion through an intersectional lens. During Canadian Mental Health Week, DAWN hosted a panel of members of inclusion networks across the firm. The topics addressed during the session were incredibly raw and honest, and moved me greatly.

What has been your most memorable/surprising moment at PwC Canada and what has impressed you most about working here?

Kokailey

One of my most memorable moments at PwC Canada so far is the ZigZagBoom conference held early this summer. We had a keynote speaker from Australia, Vinh Giang, who shared a lot of great life and work advice. One piece that has stuck with me is, "Magic is just a problem you can't solve". He then proceeded to talk about problem solving and perspective. There have been numerous virtual events including wellness cafes with speakers just as awesome as Vinh. I’m very impressed with the time and effort PwC Canada puts into developing its employees beyond technical skills.

Huzaifa

Working at PwC Canada has been a fast-paced and challenging environment. Especially during the busy tax season, I was very impressed with how well everyone worked together to get the job done. Whether this meant meeting deadlines or ensuring all team members are on the same page for a project. I’ve had numerous moments that left me surprised at how knowledgeable and smart my colleagues are. In addition, everyone’s ability to take the time for a quick Google Hangout call to answer questions, especially during busy times, made me grateful to be surrounded by such incredible people.

Jessica

I’m always so pleasantly surprised by the kindness and warmth of the people I connect with at the firm! No matter the circumstance, be it through a client project, an inclusion network, or even a simple coffee chat, everyone I meet is willing to share their stories, provide advice, and help extend my network. I appreciate how open everyone is about career development and progression, both inside and outside the firm. There is always an open channel for constructive feedback, and opportunities are always available to hone my skills.

As you build your career at PwC Canada, you’re creating your network for life. As you continue your career journey, tell us how you’ve grown and how the firm has supported you in achieving your goals?

Kokailey

One of my goals was to take the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) exam, which I shared with Charles, my national leader, shortly after joining PwC Canada. With the support of the firm, I took and passed the exam three months later. Currently, I’m working on a huge client project that involves a sizable cross-functional team. Since day one, I’ve continued to improve not just my technical skills but my relationship and communication skills through specialized workshops.

Huzaifa

The firm has been immensely supportive in my development as a CPA student, ensuring I grow both as an individual and as a professional. The CPA Centre of Excellence team at PwC Canada has made my CPA journey easy to keep track of while ensuring I’m meeting professional experience targets. In addition, my CPA mentor and coach has been a key part of my growth. She’s made sure I’m progressing by encouraging me to take on more challenging client work and making time for our monthly coaching meetings. Overall, the firm has provided me with all the tools and resources I need to succeed as a professional. I have the opportunity to work with teams across the country and across different lines of service to expand my network and learn a variety of new skills.

Jessica

As I move into my second year in this role, it’s not lost on me that similar students face the same challenges and uncertainties I felt a year ago. Over the past year, I’ve seen myself grow from a freshly graduated student who was unsure of her potential to a career professional who is confident she’s bringing value to her work. With the support and mentorship I received from my colleagues, I’ve been able to develop into the role of a mentor myself and continue to build my technical and business acumen—demonstrating to students who look like me that a colourful career is possible at PwC Canada.

Thank you to Kokailey, Huzaifa and Jessica for sharing a bit of your experience with us!

Interested in applying to PwC Canada? 

Check out our Applying to PwC Canada page that includes tips on how to prepare for each step and helpful videos. 

We recruit for our campus roles throughout the year, check our Careers page regularly for opportunities that might interest you.