Profile of CPA William Hallett, who works with athletic charities 

William Hallett

Canada | Profile

Running with it

William Hallett—professional accountant, marathon runner and triathlete—turned his affinity for numbers and love of athletics into roles at Sport BC and the Vancouver Foundation

A Facebook IconFacebook A Twitter IconTwitter A Linkedin IconLinkedin An Email IconEmail

William Hallett knows a little something about pushing himself to the limit: he did the gruelling, world-famous Ironman. Twice.

“When you’re swimming 2.4 miles and cycling 112 miles and then running a marathon and you’re out on the road for 12 hours, that’s pretty challenging stuff,” the Vancouver professional accountant says. “Your body goes through a whole bunch of different changes. You’re not really sure what to expect next.”

Hallett—who has more than a dozen years of senior management experience in the non-profit sector and nearly 20 years in the corporate world—is a marathon runner and triathlete with more than 100 triathlons under his belt.

“I ran the Toronto Marathon in just around three hours,” he recalls. “I ran a 10K in just over 35 minutes.”

Hallett’s love of athletics dates back to his childhood, when he started swimming and running. It’s something he has continued with over the years.

“In university, I started doing more running just because it was the easiest and fastest thing to do to stay fit,” Hallett says. “I’ve always been athletic my entire life.”

So it came as no surprise that when he was ready for a career change, Hallett turned to athletics. After stints in accounting, finance and taxation roles—including 10 years as an accountant and tax manager in the mining industry—Hallett took his affinity for numbers and love of athletics to not-for-profits and charities. He has served as senior vice-president and chief operating officer at provincial volunteer organization Sport BC as well as vice-president of finance and accountability at the Rick Hansen Foundation.

But one of his most notable achievements, he says, was helping Triathlon Canada earn national recognition and full funding from the Canadian government. He was brought on to the organization in its early days, when they needed people with a strong business background to get things up and running.

“There were a lot of very well-meaning volunteers,” he says, “but they didn’t have all the skillsets to set up and run an organization nationally or even on a provincial basis. I kind of got dragged in there by other people who said your skillset would help us a lot.”

He eventually became the organization’s president and also landed various roles on the Canadian Olympic Committee.

Today, Hallett’s drive to help others can be seen outside of the sports world in his full-time job as vice president of finance and operations at the Vancouver Foundation, the largest community foundation in Canada.

He says he has taken skills from both the business and sports worlds to help him excel.

“With sports, there’s a lot of perseverance. You have to be diligent, but you also have to persevere and sometimes there’s pain,” he says. “Being able to work through difficult situations, being diligent and being focused, those are transferable skills either way.”