Female leaders in accounting: Glenys Sylvestre

CPA Glenys Sylvestre shares the career path she took to become a leader in the accounting field.

  • Title: Executive Lead, Accreditation and Certification
  • Place of employment: Paul J. Hill School of Business, University of Regina
  • University: University of Regina
  • Designation year: 1997
  • Fellow designation year: 2006

Glenys Sylvestre returned to the University of Regina after a one-year Administrative Leave from her post as associate dean. She was eligible for the leave after five years in that role at the university’s Paul J. Hill School of Business. Now, in her position as executive lead, she is responsible for guiding the accreditation process for the Faculty of Business Administration.

It’s quickly obvious Sylvestre found her niche in academia.

“It has been extremely rewarding,” she says from her home in Saskatchewan’s capital where she has valued her time off with her four children ages 11 to 17. “I started teaching in 2000 while on maternity leave with my third child and the flexibility was absolutely fantastic in terms of work-life balance.

“You can work around family responsibilities, and do marking, class prep and reading at home,” she says. Her other professional domain was the six years she put in from 1994 to 2000 at Deloitte & Touche in Regina, which prepared her nicely for the career to come. Her first leadership role came in 1998 as audit manager.

She admits she struggled with taking charge of files when first promoted but a partner coached her with some tactical terms. “He said I was the ‘quarterback’ and expected to ‘call the plays.’ Maybe because I’m from the home of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, that analogy made sense to me.”

In addition to looking after her own clients and managing her assigned audit teams, Sylvestre took on the administrative responsibility of arranging teams for assurance clients. “I’ve always enjoyed scheduling and organizing. This was very good practice for the course scheduling I had to do as associate dean.”

“The thing that made being associate dean the most challenging also made it fun,” she says. “It was always fun to work with students and the faculty and staff but I never knew what to expect each day. The challenge was that there were always issues that came up with students, and sometimes instructors, making it hard to get planned work done. Balancing it all could be very tricky.”

Also on her agenda was hiring 15 to 20 seasonal lecturers each semester; monitoring student registrations, academic probation and graduations; meeting with students who were having problems; and looking after any classroom difficulties.

All together, she had about 1,500 undergrads in her custody from registration day until the big grad gala.

Although not directly under her supervision, she still had to work with about 50 faculty and staff members and influence their delivery of the academic program.

She also continued to teach financial accounting courses, chaired the scholarship committee for the faculty and took part on many committees campus wide. Since early 2007, after hours, she has also served on the board of SaskTel and is chair of the Audit and Finance committee.

Looking ahead, Sylvestre isn’t really sure where she will be five years. “My children will be almost grown up. Maybe I’ll have time to take on new and exciting opportunities or, maybe, a vacation with my husband!”

Resume:

  • 1994 — 2000: Deloitte & Touche, Regina (Audit Manager in 1998)
  • 2000 — 2007: University of Regina, Instructor
  • 2007 — 2012: University of Regina, Instructor and Associate Dean

Giving back:

  • 1998 — 2001: Education Committee, ICAS
  • 2001 — 2003: Practice Appraisal Committee, ICAS
  • 2003 — 2009: ICAS Council (President in 2008/2009)
  • 1999 — 2005: Treasurer, Arcola East Community Association
  • 2005: Manager, Administration & Finance, Canada Summer Games volleyball venue
  • 2008 — 2010: Secretary, Queen City Kinsmen Gymnastics Club
  • 2009 — 2012: Sponsorship Chair, University of Regina’s Inspiring Leadership conference
  • 2012 — 2013: Treasurer, Regina Cougars U14 Volleyball Club

Highlights

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