Female leaders in accounting: Anne-Marie Hubert

CPA Anne-Marie Hubert shares the path she took to become a leader in her field.

  • Title: Managing Partner, Advisory Services, Ernst & Young Canada, Montreal
  • Number of company employees: 320
  • University: 1985, Bachelor of Commerce Ottawa University; Certificate in accounting, Université du Québec à Hull
  • Designation year: 1987, Ernst & Young, Ottawa
  • Fellow designation year: 2004

Born leaders like to get outside, underneath and up above the issues. They like to look around. When Anne-Marie Hubert was asked to join America’s Gender Equity Task Force (GETF) in 2002 to lead initiatives for the advancement of women at Ernst & Young (EY), she decided to do some digging beyond the firm’s apparent success with its efforts.

“When I started, we were doing better than our competitors, better than our clients, except for the banks, and better than all of the other E&Y areas in the Americas,” says Hubert from her EY office in Montreal.

“I gathered the facts and convinced our executive committee that doing better than others who, actually, were not doing very well was not a real success. We had to have goals and initiatives to address the social and systemic biases preventing women from achieving their full potential.”

There was earlier evidence of her non-conforming nature when she transferred from EY’s Ottawa location to their office in Lyon, France. It was 1988 and the move was generally seen as career limiting.

“At the time,” she says, “the perception was that accounting was more advanced in North America than in Europe. But, I developed relationships that will last forever, and learned to truly listen to people bringing a different perspective.” By 1989, she was in charge of the firm’s largest account.

In 2004, she received her Fellow designation; today she manages 320 employees, and is responsible for attracting and developing leaders, customization of global advisory strategy to the Canadian market, and growth and profitability.

Hubert believes “focus on results and delivery of results” have been keys to her success. “I always wanted to understand what we were trying to accomplish and how taking certain actions would get us there. When I didn’t think what we were doing would get us there, I would offer ideas.”

Hubert has regularly enjoyed helping others get ahead:

  • as a panellist in the presentation, Women — driving force of a new global economy, made to business leaders in Calgary
  • as a presenter of Gender Diversity Priorities and Programs to the SPE Talent Council representing 10 Fortune 100 companies to help them advance their diversity programs
  • as a presenter for L’entreprise, Partenaire de la Formation (Businesses, Partners for Training), made to representatives of the Ministry of Education focusing on delivering training adapted to individuals and businesses, and alternative models of delivery to reduce costs.

One of her favourite courses was Strategic Leadership For Partners, taught by Harvard professors and which included more than 30 participants from 25 countries.

In 2009, she was promoted to managing partner of E&Y’s Advisory Services Practice for Canada, and she joined the Operations and Executive Committee. Last year, she was a recipient of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards, presented by the Women’s Executive Network.

Down the road, the mom of three teens who has been with her husband for 30 years plans to keep on exploring.

“In five years, I probably will have developed a successor who will be stronger than me,” she says. “My kids will be almost through university, and my husband retired. That will give me more flexibility to take on new challenges.”

Resume:

  • 1985 — 1988: Staff and Senior Accountant, Ernst & Young, Ottawa
  • 1988 — 1990: Senior and Supervisor, EY, Lyon, France,
  • 1990 — 1998: Manager and Senior Manager, EY, Ottawa
  • 1998 — 1999: Audit Partner, EY, Montreal
  • 1999 — 2005: Leader Technology Security and Risk Services, EY, Eastern Canada
  • 2005 — 2008: Leader Technology Security and Risk Services, EY Canada
  • 2008 — 2009: Leader Advisory Services, EY Canada
  • 2009 — present: Managing Partner, Advisory services, EY Canada

Leadership roles and awards:

  • 1992: First woman president of the Regroupement des comptables agrees de l’Outaouais
  • 2006: Rose Mary Meschi award for highest contribution to advancement of women in EY North America
  • 2006: Top 100 women leaders in Québec, Magazine Entreprendre
  • 2007: Award for community involvement from the Association des femmes en finance
  • 2009: WXN Top 100 Award
  • 2013: Multiple Honours for Managing Partner
  • In 2010, 2011 and 2012, Women's Executive Network Top 100 Award
  • In 2012, business leader champion of advancement of women Catalyst Canada Honours

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