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Meet Sam Singla. Sam is the Director of Business Development at BDO. When he’s not improving the access and value of accounting services for his clients, you’ll find Sam out on his motorcycle or, more likely, spending time with his newborn son.
What made you decide to call the Okanagan home?
I was born in Penticton and, even though I lived in India between ages 2 and 12, the Okanagan was always home. After I spent 10 years working and going to school in Calgary, I was eager to move back to Kelowna to experience the amazing weather and landscapes the valley has to offer. When I finally did, I wrote an article that got published by Capital News about how I would never leave again.
Where do you work in the Okanagan?
I work at BDO, an accounting and advisory firm. The breadth of what we do is massive—internal and external audits, consulting, SR&D, I could spend a day listing the services we offer. In the Okanagan, we focus our attention on leveraging our SR&ED and accounting services to support local businesses. Something I really like about BDO is that they are always thinking about how to differentiate themselves and add value to the communities they’re a part of.
What do you do there?
As the Director of Business Development, my days are rarely ever the same. Generally, I spend time figuring out which industries BDO should focus on supporting, and which targets we should pursue to make a difference. Within that work, I need to identify how we are going to differentiate our value proposition and make sure that we’re going to market with the right messaging.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Because my days are always different, I enjoy staying intellectually engaged. I also really like the team that I work with—my managers are very supportive of the directions I want to go in and how I spend my time, and they also grant me a lot of creative freedom in what I do in a day. I never knew how important that was until I experienced it with BDO.
How did you get into this kind of work?
I didn’t really plan a career path, but I’ve tried to find work that allows me to make a difference in communities. After graduating from the University of Calgary, I got a job with Shaw and helped design Shaw Go WiFi and its business model. It’s Canada’s largest WiFi network and I’m super proud of the work I did there but I wanted to come back to the Okanagan. My sister suggested that I join her and apply to work with BDO and I can confidently say that it was a great recommendation.
What advice would you give to someone interested in a job like yours?
It’s essential that you love the people you work with. Every job has good and bad days but, if you like working with your colleagues, it can make the low points more enjoyable. Being around people who respect and support each other isn’t inherent to all workplaces and, when you find a space that has that, it makes a world of difference.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? Or can share?
Take advantage of the opportunities presented to you, whether in your personal or professional life. I was connecting with an old boss from Shaw and he had just left a great job, when I asked him what he was doing next, he said, “all my kids want to do is spend time with me. There will be a time when they’re teenagers and they’re going to want to spend time with their friends but, right now, they want to be with me. I’m not worried about what job is next. I want to be there for my kids.” I really appreciated being reminded that work will always be there, but time with your family won’t be.
Is there something you want to be remembered for?
I’d like to be remembered for acting with honesty and integrity. Those two go a long way towards building meaningful relationships in or out of work. I really wish, wherever my career goes, and as my son or future children grow up, people remember me as being an honest person that they could rely on.
Being around people who respect and support each other isn’t inherent to all workplaces and, when you find a space that has that, it makes a world of difference.