No Limits in the Community

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Dakota Duffy and Sonya von Heyking
Jun 21, 2018

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.”

        Dakota Duffy and Friends
Dakota on campus
     Dakota with his mom & six siblings
 Dakota Duffy       Dakota Duffy
Dakota loves spending his time tutoring mathematics at U of L
      Dakota out for a stroll in beautiful Lethbridge