*Teri French*FCPA, FCA
VP, Forestry Services & LDC Integration, HydroOne
"Emerging Technologies, ESG, and EDI are essential to our profession. I have extensive experience in Operations working on these key areas in a variety in senior roles and industries. Servicing on a non-for-profit board in EDI and volunteering on an ESG education board will provide me with the requisite expertise."
For over twenty years, I have worked in several influential industries and volunteered on not-for-profit boards on how to strategically transform their businesses and ensure alignment and readiness with emerging trends. As an operations professional within a large Energy organization, I collaborate and inform senior leadership to identify opportunities that strengthen businesses performance through thought leadership, solution-based discussions, and a focus on people. Recently, I have been involved with creating focus in EDI and environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues such as creating a women in trades resource group and contributing insights and value to an ESG educational forum.
These experiences provide me with valuable insight into our profession. I plan to leverage my unique experience to help CPA Ontario and Council improve EDI, define new ways for CPAs to add value, and ensure the profession is perceived as one that can be impactful in various roles and industries.
Teri French's Detailed Bio
Voluntary work with CPA Ontario or other professional bodies:
- Member for the Sustainability and Performance Management Education Committee for CPA Canada. (2021 to present).
- Member for the ESG/Sustainability and Climate Change Sub-Committee for CPA Canada. (2021 to present)
- Member for the Strategy, Leadership and Organizational Performance Sub-Committee for CPA Canada. (2021 to present)
- Director of Events, Board Member for StepUp-Breakthrough in Energy Management to advance Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). (2021 to present)
- Volunteer for the CMA Panel Review Board for CMA (Legacy Body). (2005-2010)
- Trainer for the CPA Session Leader for Professional Education Program. (2016 to present)
- Awarded FCPA in 2021. The distinction of Fellow (FCPA) formally recognizes CPAs who have rendered exceptional service to the profession and their communities.
- Awarded Top Executive for Employee Engagement for three consecutive years. Direct Energy Award to top executive for engagement as voted by the employees. (2009-2012)
- CPA Session Leader responsible for the facilitation of the CPA PEP program. Sessions included Core 1, Core 2, Performance Management and Capstone 1. (2016 to present)
- CMA Session Leader responsible for the delivery of the Strategic Leadership Program. Sessions included Accounting Fundamentals, Strategy and Leadership. (2006 to 2016)
Other professional accomplishments:
- Chair for the Women in Trades and Technology Committee (Forestry Chapter) for Hydro One. This committee embraces women in the field operations and provides a safe learning forum for a variety of work, life skills and coping strategies. (2021 to present)
- Speaker for DEI Symposium for Hydro One. Provided expertise by participating as a panelist for a DEI discussion. (2021 to present)
- Speaker for Women’s Day Event for Hydro One. Provided leadership and guidance by sharing stories of women in business and professional domains. (2021 to present)
- Received nomination for 2021 Top 100 People in Finance Magazine. This award recognizes top talent in Canada in the financial sector across multiple industries and disciplines.
Other voluntary service and recognition:
- Hydro One – Power to Give Program – Executive Chair. Leads an employee-driven program across several charitable organizations. This role leads employee volunteering and donations and raises awareness about charitable causes. (2021-present)
- Enercare – Fresh Start Program – Volunteer for company-led community events. Participated in community programs for Yellow Brick House and Red Door Family Shelter. For the Covid-19 pandemic, led an employee donation program for Feed Ontario. (2016-2020)
- Pickering Panthers Hockey Association – Member/Lead for fund-raising committees. Lead organizer for several fund-raising events as well as budget and financial management for sports teams. (2012 to present)
- United Way of Canada – Member of the Employee Committee. Responsible for creating, leading and motivating employees for various charitable giving and volunteer events. (2009-2012)
- Playhouse Daycare Board Member. Responsible for the operational and financial success of the daycare. (2005-2008)
Why are you interested in joining Council?
The current issues and industry trends that will affect CPA Ontario and the future of the profession are key areas that I am passionate about in both my professional and personal life. The career and volunteer experiences that I have chosen, and continue to pursue, demonstrate how important DEI, ESG and the future of the profession are to me.
Currently, I am involved in the following key important skills:
- DEI: Volunteer board member for a not-for-profit focusing on DEI. (2021 to present)
- ESG: Volunteer on education committees for CPA for ESG. (2021 to present)
- Future of Profession/Learning: CPA session leader. (2016 to present)
In addition, through continued progression of my professional career, I have demonstrated capability in business and financial acumen, risk management and leadership. I have been involved in several employee-focused events and associations creating learning opportunities for all employees:
- Executive Sponsor for the Forestry Chapter of Women in Technology and Engineering at Hydro One.
- Executive Sponsor for Hydro One’s Power to Give Program engaging the workforce on both volunteering and maximizing donations for charitable organizations and causes.
- Panelist and Speaker at DEI and Women’s Day events and symposiums.
How do your experiences align with the following skills, attributes and experiences that have been prioritized for incoming members of Council? Please share two to three examples.
- Board Experience with StepUp – This experience has been able to provide a number of key learnings and relevant experience in the area of Board and Governance Experience. This volunteer board role and opportunity allows me to gain experience in both board and governance capabilities. I have also volunteered for a not-for-profit children’s daycare (Playhouse), where I was accountable for ensuring accurate financials and efficient day-to-day operations.
- ESG with the CPA panels and Hydro One – The learnings acquired from both the ESG panels that I am currently volunteering with, and Hydro One’s sustainability commitment, have provided the relevant competency and significant learnings in this area. The ESG committee has provided technical improvement in my core skill set while the Hydro One aspect has provided an applicability component to key business challenges across the province of Ontario.
- DEI with StepUp and Hydro One – Aligned to the skill of DEI, I am a volunteer board member (Director of Events) for StepUp-Breakthrough in Energy Management, an organization focused on gender equity in the energy sector. For Hydro One, I continue to demonstrate my passion for DEI through several corporate initiatives. Firstly, I am a speaker and panelist at several DEI symposiums and Women’s Day events. Secondly, I am the chair for the Forestry Chapter of Women in Technology and Engineering employee resource group. Lastly, I am a mentor for several women across various lines of business for Hydro One—ranging from field operations, finance and project management.
What is the greatest opportunity and challenge facing the accounting profession and CPA Ontario?
In my opinion, the greatest opportunity facing accounting professionals and CPA Ontario is to be able to shift and stay current and relevant in today’s business landscape. In today’s business environment, emerging trends are shifting, and consequently so is the role of the accounting professional. Ensuring that the CPA designation best demonstrates the value that a CPA brings to various organizations and industries is key. With this shift brings a tremendous opportunity to diversify the designation, which will allow increased impact for both the professional world through day-to-day business as well as meaningful, thoughtful change in communities.
Moreover, the greatest challenge for CPA Ontario is to demonstrate how the accounting profession and CPA Ontario is evolving to best support and educate our profession. Many CPAs are already well positioned in roles in various industries throughout the province of Ontario. It will be a key challenge of CPA Ontario to be able to reach out and affect these members to ensure learnings and opportunities in ESG, DEI and technology are provided and available. Further, to drive the emerging importance of risk and governance while continuously improving and evolving business acumen, CPA Ontario will need to shift priorities in the CPA programs, education, continuous learning opportunities and professional guidance/development programs.