Christine Woodington has fond memories of her business education at Langara College. And she credits the school for helping her find a rewarding and fulfilling career as a chartered professional accountant—even though she had no idea at the start of her program that this was where it would lead.
“I definitely stumbled upon it,” Woodington told the Straight by phone with a laugh. “Growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher.”
But her interest in business developed when she was working in a managerial position at McDonald’s, supervising staff and dealing with lots of cash. While there, she took an accounting course at BCIT and discovered she had an aptitude for it.
She enrolled in Langara College in 2002 with a goal of obtaining a diploma in financial management.
When she took a year off, the school announced that it was offering a four-year bachelor degree in business administration so she decided to carry on with her education at Langara. That’s because she liked the smaller, friendly feel of the campus. Plus, the school allowed her to apply the credits for her diploma toward the degree.
“None of my classes were in any of those huge lecture halls that someone would picture at UBC or SFU,” Woodington said. “So there was always a lot of personal attention.”
Instructors knew her by name, not just by her student identification number. According to Woodington, they were very welcoming when she would pop by their offices to ask for guidance.
One of the highlights was the school’s four-month co-op programs. Her first placement was in the purchasing department at General Paint. When she completed this term, the company offered her a job and she stuck around for eight months.
But she was eager to return to Langara. Her second co-op placement with SCI/Alderwoods Group at the end of her diploma program led to another job offer, where she remained for three years. Her employer paid for her schooling to obtain a degree.
“I was surrounded by accountants,” Woodington recalled. “It was all as a result of the co-op program at Langara. I’m forever grateful.”
She recently won the Distinguished Service Award from Chartered Professional Accountants of B.C. and is vice chair of the organization’s Vancouver chapter. It came as a result of her extensive volunteering on behalf of the profession.
She’s been a mentor at Langara College and with Simon Fraser University, and she’s also part of the mentor advisory board of CPABC.
Woodington pointed out that CPA students are required to have a mentor in order to graduate and obtain their professional credential.
“We wanted to make sure they’re getting value for their time and getting a mentor—not just a member to sign off on them,” she stated.
As a CPABC ambassador, she also visits schools to talk about “all the amazing things an accountant does”.
Echoing a CPA marketing campaign, she insisted that the work is anything but boring.
Nowadays, Woodington is a corporate accountant at Coal Island Ltd and even hired a Langara student whom she met through a mentorship program.
“I’m continuing to carry on supporting Langara the way they supported me,” she said.More