Tracie Jennett - Senior Manager, Private Client Individual Tax Services, Toronto
QUESTION - First, please introduce yourself by sharing an anecdote or an experience, personal or professional, that has made you who you are today.
Who am I and how did I become me? Great question. It’s a meandering story of someone who grew up in a small town in Canada, who loved math and business and did not want to be an accountant but didn’t know what else to do. I really wanted to be a spaceship captain, but Starfleet Academy doesn’t exist yet. I fell into my first job as an associate in expat tax, and I was pretty good at it. It also paid well enough to let me travel and see the world.
Many years ago, as a young expat tax manager, I had an existential crisis. I didn’t want to be an accountant anymore and I wanted to try doing something altruistic. I left Canada with the intention of starting fresh abroad. I tried but soon came to realize that I actually DID enjoy my job. It had a lot of things I loved to do. I loved learning, I liked helping people solve problems, and I liked passing this knowledge on to others. I realized then that I already had the perfect career for me. I packed my bags and flew home on the next flight.
I’ve had a few twists and turns in my career and life, and a few failures. I’ve worked with different accounting firms, which exposed me to a lot of experiences - different people to work with, things to learn, a lot of Canada/US cross-border tax technical knowledge, and a lot of personal growth. And here I am today!
QUESTION - What does March 8th mean for you?
March 8th highlights the importance of women and the contributions they make to the workplace and society and why we should be valued. As a gender, we really don’t take as much credit as we should for our contributions and accomplishments. March 8th is a day for us to get that additional recognition.
It’s also a day to step back and look at far we have come in our fight for equality and realize where there is still more fighting to be done. It’s also a time to highlight how far we must go in many countries where women and girls are not treated equally or do not have some of the human rights we take for granted.
QUESTION - What advice or words of wisdom would you give young women who would like to learn from your career and follow in your footsteps?
It’s your life and your career. Determine what is important to you and what you want to accomplish in work and life. Figure out how and what you need to make it work, then ASK for what you specifically need to support you in reaching the next step of your goals. If you don’t know what you need, ask someone who has done it, they may have a shortcut, or at least the next step.
Have confidence in your abilities and yourself. Take credit for the work you do and be proud of your accomplishments. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t know or don’t understand something. The person you are asking had to learn it too. As a recent addition to Trowbridge myself, I ask a lot of questions too.
Treat everyone the way you would like to be treated. Your colleagues, even the directors, are people too. We all started somewhere, and we do remember what it was like.
Being nice, working hard, and being willing to learn will take you a long way in life. Having a sense of humor helps too.
QUESTION - Tell us about your Role and Service Line at Trowbridge Professional Corporation.
I am a Senior Manager with Trowbridge’s Private Client Services (PCS) team. We provide tax services to individuals. These services include tax consults, advice, planning, tax return preparation, responding to tax authority notices, and a lot of other miscellaneous things that relate to people’s taxes. Sometimes, it's just listening to someone’s problem and letting them know we are here to help them.
Based in Toronto, I specialize in Canadian and US taxes. I review and sign Canadian and US individual tax returns, perform consults with clients on tax matters, teach and mentor staff, and try to keep all our processes running in a smooth and timely manner.
I have an open-door policy, in real life and virtually, where anyone can come in and ask questions, have a chat, get a shoulder to lean on, or let off some steam.
I am also a member of Trowbridge’s Tax Technical Committee. This is a role I hope to become more involved in so we as a firm are up to date and are providing all of our colleagues with the technical knowledge and resources we all need to do our jobs.