Kelly Boxma & Shane King
BBA, Accounting Alumna & Financial Management Diploma Alumnus
When Shane King offered Kelly Boxma a job straight out of university, she turned him down.
"It wasn't personal," laughs Kelly. "I had another offer from a larger accounting firm so I went with the one I thought had more potential for opportunity."
A couple of years later, the two firms merged and Kelly and Shane ended up working together anyway.
"It was a bit of joke between us once we merged," says Shane. "I ended up getting Kelly as an employee after all. I knew she'd make a great employee and I thought I could help her with her career."
After more than 25 years in accounting, Shane would know. He made partner at his previous accounting firm KNV in 2005, is currently the national leader of succession services for MNP, and has mentored countless men and women not only through his firms, but also in his former capacity as chair of both the KPU Board of Governors and the KPU Alumni Association board. In 2012, he was honoured as one of KPU's Distinguished Alumni.
Shane graduated from Kwantlen in 1992 with a diploma in Financial Management. He says he was lucky to have had many mentors in school and throughout his career to help guide him along the way.
"Dave Sale was one," says Shane of the late accounting instructors who taught at KPU for 28 years, and was highly regarded by both faculty and students. "I really connected with him. He knew one of the partners at my previous firm, so Dave ultimately got me the job. I often phoned him to talk and he really helped my career."
That bond with his instructors was instrumental in keeping Shane connected with his alma mater. So, when KPU Foundation board member Peter Podovinikoff contacted a friend and colleague, Tom Kirstein (the K in KNV Chartered Accountants) to ask if there was anyone at his firm who wanted to give back to KPU, Tom knew exactly who would jump at the chance.
"I didn't hesitate," says Shane. "Growing up, my family lived on a ranch and it was an all hands-on-deck kind of experience, everyone in the family had to pitch in. I have the same mentality when it comes to work and to my school. Alumni, after all, is a kind of family too."
After joining the KPU Foundation board, Shane was present for KPU's metamorphosis from a university college to a polytechnic university. When KPU's alumni association – then in its infancy – was looking to fill seats on its board of directors, Shane answered the call. He devoted many years to working with other alumni to build the foundation for the KPUAA.
"It was an amazing experience," says Shane. "I got to give back, make some great contacts, and really got to know the institution."
Shane then went on to take one of two alumni seats on KPU's Board of Governors, and eventually became chair.
"Being a governor of a university takes the concept of volunteering to a whole new level," says Shane. "It is serious work, and taught me so much about governance, higher education and the responsibilities of operating in the public sector.
"But it was fulfilling, as I felt I was helping to continue to build my alma mater. I was able to give back to the institution that helped launch my career."
Now Shane is more focused on paying it forward to KPU students, taking the opportunity whenever he can to speak and meet with accounting students who are looking ahead to the first stages of building their careers. That was how he first met Kelly, and initially the two of them connected about her career path.
"It's important to have career coaches in your life because everyone is learning as they go and it's easier to learn from people looking in. I really try to help the people in our organization and Kelly is one of those people. I see great opportunities for her."
He also saw great opportunities for KPU to benefit from her knowledge and experience, where she is now a director of the KPU Alumni Association.
Kelly graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting in 2013. After a successful co-op position with MNP through KPU's accounting program, Kelly was offered an articling position.
A trailblazer in the industry, Kelly was part of a KPU vanguard of students to first write the newly designated Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) exam and receive the professional accreditation.
Just three years ago, Canada's three accounting bodies finalized a merger, agreeing to combine chartered accountants (CAs), certified management accountants (CMAs) and certified general accountants (CGAs) into one designation – a CPA.
While accountants, such as Shane, who were certified under the previous three designations were automatically grandfathered in, accounting students, such as Kelly, were thrust into a new accreditation landscape while still in the midst of their studies.
Now a senior accountant at MNP, Kelly has become a mentor to a new crop of accountants eager to learn from her experience.
"It was quite a whirlwind, but it taught me a lot and now I'm a CPA mentor," says Kelly. "Students ask me all the time ‘what would you do?'"
Kelly has benefited from numerous mentors as well, in addition to Shane; she's still in touch with several of her former instructors at KPU, including Valerie Warren and Carol Stuart.
"I think it's pretty cool that the instructors at Kwantlen practice what they preach. Even after graduation, I'm still emailing them," says Kelly.
Kelly has also stayed connected to the KPU community through her role as treasurer on the alumni association board, a position she took after Shane recognized what a valuable asset she would be in the role and encouraged her to join.
"I pushed her to join the association; gave her the ins and outs of giving back on that board," says Shane. "I've always been impressed with Kelly. She's a bright light."
Kelly and her fellow alumni on the board are now continuing the work that Shane and his colleagues began back in 2002. They are forging connections with KPU's more than 50,000 alumni, reminding them that their university still has something to offer them.
She and Shane continue to wave the KPU flag.
Kelly stays connected to the university by sitting on various panels with the Accounting Society. Shane chairs the accounting advisory committee to the dean of the school of business and both Kelly and Shane can be found at numerous institution events in addition to mentoring KPU students.
"Kwantlen has been instrumental in my career from day one," says Shane. "I want to continue to pay that forward. It's so important to build that next generation and set them up for success."