Perspectives

Alumni profile: Monika St. Louis

Vice President and CFO, Cruickshank Group of Companies

Monika St. Louis, former tax manager with Deloitte, is now Vice President and CFO at Cruickshank Group of Companies.

Tell us about yourself.

Over the course of my career, I have taught both personal and corporate tax at St. Lawrence College in Cornwall. I am now married with three children: Brandon – 19, Jordan – 16 and Elese – 14. As a family, we all enjoy spending time playing hockey, skiing and boating. Last fall Brandon and I trained for and ran a half marathon in honour of my mom, raising over $4,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

I joined the firm in 1989 as an accounting technician. I worked in audit and accounting until I moved into tax in 1991 as tax manager. In 1992, I obtained the CGA designation and shortly after, started the CICA in-depth. In 1999, I left the firm to work in a smaller office where I was able to participate in the delivery of a broad spectrum of services and work with a wide range of businesses.

"...opportunity to work with a number of very talented mentors who provided guidance over various paths in my career"

What was the highlight of your career experience with Deloitte?

Deloitte provided me access to a wealth of knowledge within the firm and allowed me to learn on a daily basis. Working in tax, I enjoyed the ability to provide value-added quality services to clients and seeing their appreciation and satisfaction of the finished product.

Which organization did you join after you left Deloitte?

I joined BDO Dunwoody for one year, and then joined a Deloitte client, Fitness Depot Inc./Northern Lights Fitness Products from 2000 to 2010.

What do you do now? What is the best part of your current role?

I am currently the VP of Finance, CFO for the Cruickshank Group of Companies, awarded as one of the Best employers in Canada, one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies and Maclean’s magazine’s Green 30. It is a diverse and fast-paced environment, working with a great group of talented people that feels like a family. Growth and improvement are the common day discussions, and being a part of these emergent changes and discussions is very rewarding. I oversee a group of 15 individuals (admins and IT), I have managed the implementation of a successful (yet time-consuming) implementation of SAP, and continue to use public accounting and tax skills on a daily basis.

What would you describe as being the secret of your success?

Continuous learning, hard work and dedication. Opportunity to work with a number of very talented mentors who provided guidance over various paths in my career. Embracing and implementing change when needed.

What’s the value of the relationships that you formed while working at Deloitte?

Knowing the extent of the resources that are available has been invaluable.

When you look back at your time with Deloitte, was there one relationship that had an impact on your career?

Definitely working with Gilles Fleury. He has taught me a lot over the years and I thoroughly enjoyed working with him as a client and as a co-worker. Thanks Gilles! Unfortunately things have been so busy that I haven’t been able to keep in touch as much as I would like to.

Have you stayed connected with former Deloitte colleagues? If so, how?

I have been fortunate to reconnect with former colleagues and make new valuable contacts through the initial Canada’s Best Managed Companies application and requalification process.

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