story by Marie Adamo
photo courtesy of Christine Woodington
A profile of Langara College graduate Christine Woodington for Langara’s Alumni & Community Engagement department’s ongoing alumni profile series.
Christine Woodington describes her experience at Langara as “incredibly welcoming.” Though she was born and raised in Vancouver, Christine was not entering Langara with any former classmates. However, it didn’t take long for her to make friends. “The program is set up so well. You have recommended courses to guide you, so I got to be in the same class with a lot of the same people,” she says, “And you know, a lot of them I’m still really close with. We were on this journey together.”
It wasn’t just the students that made her feel comfortable: “I don’t think I ever had to schedule a time slot with an instructor, because you just pop in and say hi. It felt like home for me.” One drawback to that, she says laughing: “I couldn’t skip a class.”
Christine completed her diploma in Financial Management in 2006 and later, was part of the first graduating class of the Business Administration degree at Langara. “We were kind of like the guinea pigs. But at the same time, it felt like we were treated extra special because this was a big milestone for Langara. And you know, I see the students coming out of that program now and how much it has grown, and I’m so proud.”
Christine’s sentiment toward Langara students and alumni is genuine, evident by how she engages them in her work. This past October she hired a Langara alumnus at her current company, Coal Island Ltd., and in the past, convinced her manager at Lush Cosmetics to bring on a Langara co-op student.
Christine describes her co-op terms at Langara as invaluable.
Her first co-op term was with General Paints, which was also her “first real office job.” At the end of her term, they hired her full time, where she stayed for five months before returning to finish her diploma. Her second term led to a three-year position with Alderwood’s Group, where she was able to work while completing her degree. Though it was tough working by day and doing classes by night, she was thankful that her schedule allowed her to pay for her schooling as she went.
Her co-op terms also confirmed that she wanted to pursue a career in accounting: “I was surrounded by CGAs, CMAs, the legacy designations — so I was being mentored by a lot of great people.”
Those mentors inspired her to complete her degree with a concentration in accounting, even though Christine admits she didn’t like or do particularly well in math classes. When asked if it is unusual for an accountant to dislike math, she says: “Don’t underestimate the power of excel. It’s not about being a calculus major. It’s about applying yourself.” She impresses that you need to be a strong communicator and have personality and passion — all qualities apparent in Christine. Her passion for the industry and connecting the community recently won her the Distinguished Service award through CPABC.
Christine loves her work for its “ever-changing and evolving” nature. In her current role, she gets to spend her time examining whether procedures are still “achieving what we want them to” and revamping systems. In this way, the job is much more creative than people might think. “The typical accountant is not a bean counter with their head down anymore. We’re making a difference; we’re stepping outside the box. Technology is always pushing the industry into new directions. You need to be aware of what’s going on and adapt to those changes.”
Christine shouts out loud about the accounting community: “We’re so fun, I promise we’re fun!” This is what she tells students at her CPABC networking events who often have the wrong idea about the “type” of person that becomes an accountant. Changing this perception is in large part why she volunteers with CPABC, where she currently serves as Chapter Chair.
When asked what her future goals are, Christine says that while she won’t be an accountant forever, she knows she will remain in the community. She likes the idea of working in a governing role at CPA, serving on the board of directors — or even working as an instructor at her alma mater. “I would love to teach at Langara, to go back and help the people that inspired me when I was there. I have so much love for Langara.”