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My decision to pursue my legacy CGA designation takes me back almost 25 years. While I knew I wanted to pursue a professional accounting designation, I was uncomfortable pursuing a specialist program in costing or auditing, which were the other choices available. I concluded that the legacy CGA program offered a more comprehensive approach, allowing me to gain a broader perspective while I pursued my career.How did my designation influence my career? I can think of several ways. Firstly, it injected a solid dose of confidence. The first thing I did [after becoming a CGA] was order new business cards with my designation printed next to my name.It changed the quality of dialogue on critical business issues and allowed me to weigh in with credibility. There was a renewed appreciation by key stakeholders such as executives, auditors, bankers, lawyers, and suppliers. And I was better positioned in the vast ecosystem of business community.Since then, I've continued to stay on top of emerging issues with professional development. Attaining my designation triggered a chain of events that continues to this day.On volunteeringI was the beneficiary of the advice and counsel of many people who gave up their time to help me succeed in the program. I simply wanted to do my share when the time came. So volunteering was the first order of business after I became a CGA.It was a wonderful experience and allowed me to write suggestions to students as they submitted assignments. I felt connected with them even though I never met them. There are so many ways to give back, such as helping seniors prepare their tax returns. I recommend that every new CPA should consider giving back to their community.On working internationallyI have been privileged to have worked around the world. Culture, food, language and currency are some of the obvious things we prepare for but we often miss the subtleties. That was a big lesson for me: pay attention to the little things.As for the challenges, extensive travel meant fewer days at home. I was lucky enough to have an incredibly supportive family. Developing relationships takes time and resilience, and that means being on the road for extended periods. It can indeed be daunting if you are not mentally ready to spend 50 to 70 per cent of your time on the road. You need patience, particularly when you are trying to set up operations in countries like India or China.We are now living in a global marketplace, whether for products or services or talent. The talent in emerging markets is extremely motivated, which will allow them to close the gap with developed markets much quicker than we expect. I believe as Canadians we have the ingredients to succeed in this global marketplace but need to work on our competitiveness.On expanding one's professional experienceSome of the best learning comes from working outside one's functional confines. It enforces the discipline of considering different perspectives to problem solving. For example, when you are busy working on a cost reduction business case, getting a change management angle from an HR perspective may be uncommon.When you work on large and complex issues, it is vital that you look beyond the numbers, take into account local but also emotional aspects and anticipate them in your execution strategy. Listening to another person's point of view'even when they don't agree with you'is necessary to build trust and develop a broader perspective. You very quickly learn that there is more to life than numbers!On public speaking and presentation skillsIf you are in a leadership role, you have to be able to persuade others. I realized that early on in my career. I can honestly say that I am not a natural public speaker but one who has evolved over the years.The key to any presentation is authenticity and passion. If you believe in what you are telling, it is felt and appreciated by the audience.Public speaking is like any other skill. You just have to work at it and not be afraid to make a few mistakes. You have to be able to put your failures in perspective. Only then do successes begin to have meaning. As for humour, it came out of mistakes and over time became part of my talks.On diversityAs a young nation, we have developed a unique approach to absorbing people from around the world as contributing citizens. These citizens have embraced Canada while still retaining their cultural uniqueness.I am a big proponent of diversity of thought, which comes from having a group of people around you who bring different life experiences. If everyone on your team grew up in the same neighbourhood, their approach to solving a business issue is not going to be as robust as a team whose members grew up around the country, continent or, indeed, the world.Diverse teams exponentially increase the quality of solutions. But we must not allow diversity to become a basis for entitlements. That is a slippery slope.On the mail momentBoth the digital and physical worlds play a key role in our lives. But I have argued that the digital environment alone cannot solve every human need. We can do many tasks on our smartphones and tablets but at the end of the day we still need to see, touch, smell, taste, feel, to listen and interact with others.That's where the mail moment comes in. While you may be comfortable doing banking online, you still enjoy the experience of receiving a package in the mail and the thrill of opening it. That's the moment of truth.At Canada Post we deliver the mail moment every day to millions of Canadians. Digital is rapidly replacing letters, and our free e-post digital mailbox is ready to enjoy, but we also see ourselves fulfilling the age-old need for the mail moment with millions of more packages. It's a great feeling to see the satisfaction on a customer's face when they receive a package that they have been waiting for.The bottom lineWhat's my bottom line? Treat every job as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. There is no such thing as a small job or a big job.I often hear from graduates that they are waiting for the perfect opportunity. But perfect opportunities are created out of small breaks. That's how all great journeys begin.