Having moved to Ottawa from PEI to obtain her Commerce Degree from the University of Ottawa, Candace Enman started her career as an Accountant at Welch LLP. And although she loved auditing, she realized this wasn't the career path she wanted to pursue. Luckily, two of her not-for-profit clients at Welch were in need of a Director of Finance and she decided to go for it. She worked for each of the NFPs to help them build their financial reporting packages and create proper internal controls to re-establish faith at the Board of Director level.
I wasn't always the smartest student, but I was the hardest working
The work was very different from what she had been doing at Welch, meaning she had now become very hands on and had to roll up her sleeves and do the actual work versus auditing it.
After three years it was time for a change and Candace opted to work in the "for profit" industry. She was introduced to an Australian-based company through Welch that was looking for a Financial Controller for their North American operation.. Although based on a pre-established company in Australia, the North American operation was a start up in this new market. Working alongside the President and COO, it was Candace's role to build the finance team and position the company for the growth it was projecting. The company - Club Assist- was a wholesale distributor of batteries that partnered with CAA and AAA to provide mobile battery replacement service to the Automobile Club's members.
The battery service was one of the highest rated services of CAA and AAA while Candace was there.
Early on Candace's team was comprised of mostly junior resources and not the right group to build the company. Thus, when Candace arrived she wanted to make changes, but not all of her decisions were well received. Candace felt strongly that she had to make the decisions she thought were best for the company and its operations but also learned that it's a process that can take some time to implement. Building the right team is not easy. During Candace's time at Club Assist the company grew 40-50% year over year for the seven years she was there.
My job was to help grow the business and at the end of the day you have to make tough business decisions
After 7 years and a tonne of success Candace was expecting her second child. Upon her return from maternity leave Club Assist offered her a position with standard working hours, less stress, modified tasks; all intended to help her manage both being a mother and an employee. But, she would no longer be part of the Management team. Although many women would appreciate the modified work role it wasn't what Candace wanted. She loved what she was doing prior to maternity leave and needed that fulfilment in her career.
I spent a long time building my career....I wasn't going to give it away. I was not willing to settle
"I spent a long time building my career and I wasn't going to give it away; I wasn't going to settle. It isn't always easy to manage work and a family, but I wanted to be happy doing both and that meant doing a job that was fulfilling and challenging. My kids are my #1 priority, but I won't settle for a mundane job when I know I can have more, "explains Candace.
Welch reappeared and offered her a unique opportunity to help create a new division within their Consulting practice called Chairman's View which helps small and medium sized companies maximize the value in their business, positioning them for growth or preparing them for an exit. Candace immediately connected with the offering. It also offered her the opportunity to continue doing something she loved - CFO work. Recognizing the need for strong senior level finance resources with her clients, she created a network of Contract CFO's and Controllers that can work with businesses on an "as needed" basis. "Not every company can afford a full time CFO and the network fulfills a much needed service at a fraction of the cost," explains Candace.
Happily at WelchGroup since 2010, Candace loves the work she is doing; she loves meeting new businesses and helping them create strategies for growth. "I love it," she says. "Consulting isn't a career path I would have chosen initially, and there are aspects of it that I am not always comfortable doing, but I'm a big believer in taking risks and putting yourself out there. Getting out of your comfort zone every now and then is important for personal and professional growth," she explains.
I'm a big believer in taking risks and putting yourself out there
Candace has found her counterpart in hubby Chris, who supports her in everything she does. With two boys aged 4 and 6 all of their free time is spent with them swimming, camping, skiing and fishing. "I think it's important to be active with the kids," says Candace.
A big part of business success is simply knowing what you want. "I know what I like to do and I think that's important. You can't be shy to ask for what you want and it's important to take risks in your career," she explains. "It's all about the value to your clients."