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CPA Alberta Education Foundation


In Foundation News: 

‘No Limits’ in the Community: Crowe MacKay LLP Supports Deserving Indigenous Student

June 21, 2018

Dakota Duffy and Sonya von Heyking
Dakota Duffy accepting the Crowe MacKay No Limits Award cheque from the CPA Education Foundation, with his Accounting Instructor and mentor, Sonya von Heyking CPA, CA


As the eldest of seven children, Dakota Duffy knows the reality of financial pressures. That is why he was over the moon to find out that he was the successful recipient of the Crowe MacKay No Limits Award. He knows this money will go a long way in helping him finance his education and immediately called his mom to share the good news and celebrate this significant accomplishment.

At a young age, Dakota knew he was interested in math, and after high school he proceeded to get a degree in mathematics from the University of Lethbridge. Once he graduated, he discovered job opportunities for math majors in Lethbridge were fairly sparse, and leaving Lethbridge and his family was simply not an option. Because of this, he decided to pursue a second degree, in business. His love for crunching numbers and desire to better understand business led him in the pursuit of his CPA designation. Dakota says, “I’d prefer that whatever I end up doing be of some value to others. This is what attracts me to the study of accounting. I have heard accounting called “the language of business” and have always admired the potential that language has to change the world for the better. It is my hope that developing fluency in this language that is so ubiquitous in the business world will open up a myriad of opportunities that will allow me to do work that I really enjoy, while making a meaningful contribution to society.”

Being a big brother to six others has taught him a lot about teamwork, compromise and hard work. With such a large family, Dakota has an enormous amount of responsibility at home but seems to balance it effortlessly with the responsibilities he has outside of home. He makes time to volunteer with the Wellness Through Living Society, an organization that offers a life-skills training program with the opportunity for an employment placement component. He helps the society by researching fundraising opportunities and helping plan their fundraising events. Through his fundraising efforts, Dakota hopes to one day see a community kitchen be constructed at the Society, where people can learn how to cook budget-friendly, nutritious meals for themselves and their families.

He also finds time to tutor math students at the U of L, and even works full time for the summer at the University as a computer programmer. His current summer project with U of L is to write online homework questions so that instructors can use them with their students in the Fall.

He looks forward to graduating but says he is in no rush because he is considering an accounting co-op placement this school year. Dakota is extremely excited to get some hands-on accounting experience and thanks his accounting professors at the U of L for keeping him motivated. He specifically mentioned that Sonya von Heyking has a great class that keeps him engaged, “I really enjoyed her financial accounting class and look forward to taking more classes with her. She’s a great instructor and she often supplemented her lectures with stories of her real-world experiences; this made the course much more engaging.”

When he’s not crunching numbers and helping others, Dakota loves to garden, go on bike rides around beautiful Lethbridge, and play board games with his family and friends.


It is through the CPA Education Foundation’s No Limits Initiative and the passion and generosity of Crowe MacKay that Dakota will be able to advance his education and pursue his career aspirations. Dakota has expressed an interest in the not-for-profit sector and this award has further inspired him to follow his true life goal: to use his skills to be a positive force in this world, in the hopes of changing it for the better.

Sonya von Heyking CPA, CA, Dakota’s financial accounting instructor at U of L, had nothing but glowing things to say about Dakota when she found out he was the recipient of the Crowe MacKay No Limits Award. She remarked that “students like Mr. Duffy make my profession a joy” and that, “he will be an excellent addition to our [CPA] profession”. It is with pride that Sonya looks forward to watching him navigate the rest of his academic and professional endeavours with deftness and success.

Sonya is not the only one rooting for Dakota. Crowe MacKay CEO, Bruce Picton CPA, CA said, “On behalf of the entire firm, I congratulate Dakota on earning this award. When our firm first established this award, our goal was to support bright and energetic students in achieving their career goals. Dakota certainly meets that standard and we wish him the best of success in the coming years”.

Dakota thanks the CPA Education Foundation and Crowe MacKay LLP for their generosity and commitment to Indigenous education in Alberta, “I really appreciate Crowe MacKay’s contribution to the CPA Education Foundation. The financial support they provide is invaluable. Receiving this award makes me feel that Indigenous students are supported and has given me such a sense of relief financially. Donors are making a big difference through their philanthropy. They are truly inspirational people who are making a positive difference in the world.”

Educate. Motivate. Innovate.

2018 Conference for Academics

May 11, 2018

This month, accounting instructors and academic leaders met in Red Deer for the ninth annual Conference for Academics, "Educate. Motivate. Innovate.” This conference provides educators from across Alberta with the opportunity to network with one another and attend sessions relevant to their career, accounting and business education, and the profession.

The conference has truly become a cornerstone of Foundation events, and one that Alberta instructors anticipate with excitement every year. This year was no different with a star-studded lineup of speakers!

The Thursday evening kicked-off with a never-done-before interactive workshop on Innovation in Teaching led by Dr. Sherif Elbarrad. The feedback from all that attended was overwhelmingly positive; requesting a similar workshop next year. It was a fantastic way to get educators interacting and engaged with the material.

The day-long conference on Friday had the same high-caliber of speakers. Sandy Hilton and Gordon Beal both spoke from CPA Canada on the topics of the evolution of accounting and the future of the professional education program (PEP). Linda Mezon, the Chair of the Accounting Standards Board, gave a fantastic update on standards, and Darrin Ambrose from the University of Calgary did an interesting presentation on the benefits of experiential learning. Chris Sprysak from the University of Alberta spoke to litigating tax trends and the impact this will have on the accounting profession before we wrapped up with a panel discussion. The panel was composed of Teaching Prize Award recipients for 2017, who imparted some knowledge, their teaching techniques, and how they deal with “distracted learning” in the classroom.

The CPA Education Foundation is proud to host this event every year and we have already begun planning our 10th annual Conference for Academics for next year! It is sure to be bigger and better than ever.

2018 Conference for Academics
2018 Conference for Academics
2018 Conference for Academics
2018 Conference for Academics

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