Meet CPA Canada member Andrea Johnston, CPA, CA, CBV, CPA (Delaware), Dassault Systèmes GEOVIA

CPA Canada member Andrea Johnston, chief financial officer (CFO) at Dassault Systèmes GEOVIA, shares some of her career highlights.

Andrea Johnston is the CFO at Dassault Systèmes GEOVIA. Based in Vancouver, B.C., Andrea holds CPA, CA, CBV and CPA (Delaware) designations and has worked in the industry for more than 20 years.

What is the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is working with a team of really smart people across the globe who develop solutions to change an industry that will bring enormous benefit to the planet.

Has there been a defining moment in your career?

When I was asked to take over the role of CEO [I had been CFO] at NxtPhase. It gave me an opportunity to lead strategy and really exercise my leadership skills.

What surprised you most about moving into industry?

How much I would enjoy the breadth of opportunities to contribute. I once organized a toga party for 800 company customers in Las Vegas!

What piece of advice would you give someone moving into industry?

Come up with a realistic long-term year plan (based on your strengths and interests) of where you want your career to go and then make sure that your first move is clearly aligned with that vision. Consider what industry you want to work in carefully. You will get valuable knowledge in your first move that you will want to build upon.

What are one or two important concepts or rules that have helped you succeed in your career?

  • values-based leadership
  • leveraging complementary skills in teams to meet complex challenges

What is your biggest business or career accomplishment? What are you most proud of?

At the height of the financial crisis (January 2009), I enabled shareholder value crystallization by driving and negotiating the successful international offering of the company for sale to one of the world’s largest suppliers of products for the electric power industry.

If you had your career to do over again, is there anything you would change?