Meet Deanna Shymkiw Yeo, an award-winning facilitator

CPAWSB recently presented Deanna Shymkiw Yeo, CPA, CMA, with the CPAWSB CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP) Facilitator Award, which recognizes facilitators who have had a notable and positive impact on their candidates and approach their role with a dedication to excellence.

In this series, we ask our award winners five questions about the CPA program.

What is your favourite thing about being a contractor in the CPA program?

I love seeing candidates succeed, and when those “ah-ha” moments help to bring everything together. I enjoy being able to develop a personal relationship with my candidates to understand what they want and need from me. I try hard to develop a positive dynamic and good energy in my module emails, and it is rewarding when candidates are comfortable sharing with me their moments of success or expressing areas of frustrations. I take much pride in my candidates’ achievements.

What do you wish learners would do more (or less) of?

Work under exam-like conditions when completing the practice cases. I always tell candidates to practice before expecting perfection, and it is one of the best gifts you can give yourself if you are being reasonable on your approach and expectations. Often our greatest learnings and improvements come from the areas we are most challenged by.

The end goal is about ensuring you are appropriately prepared to write the final exam (not the overall module mark). It can be frustrating seeing NAs or NCs on the feedback guide; use the feedback guidance as a learning tool to give you tips and tricks on what you can do to be successful with the same concept the next time. CPA is all about competency in your process.

What surprises you about the CPA program?

When I started with CPAWSB, I was surprised by how much I was learning from candidates in understanding their perspectives and unique learning needs. Learning from my candidates has made me a better facilitator and goes to show that we never stop learning (even with a designation!).

Also, I am not surprised, but I am impressed with how many wonderful people I have encountered during my time with the CPA program. My fellow facilitators, candidates, and staff have all been great to interact with. Everyone is supportive and encouraging and I am made to feel like the CPA Program is my second family.

What advice would you offer someone starting the CPA program?

  • Develop a good study schedule and put in the time to see improvements. Success is the sum of small efforts!  Don’t expect to come into the program knowing everything and there will be some concepts that will be easier than others. When you encounter challenges put in the extra time to overcome your obstacles.
  • Have a positive attitude and ask for help when you need it. Make sure to ask how something can be done over saying it can’t be done. We all have different ways of learning and CPAWSB has many different supports and resources for you to use.
  • Each milestone, no matter the size, is a step in the right direction. Take time to celebrate your successes!

Why did you become a CPA?

A CPA was the last job I ever thought I’d be good at. I was terrible at math in grade school! During my lengthy post-secondary career, I worked through psychology, then moved to human resources before I found comfort in the logical processes of accounting.

Before beginning my professional studies, I met my future husband on a Westjet flight that he was flying while in the jump seat on the flight deck. He gave me the confidence I needed to succeed in my professional program. I believe that being a CPA is about having a strong knowledge of financial statements and understanding the impact (the “why”) of business decisions. This is what makes me more than just a bean counter!

CPAWSB is proud to have Deanna as part of its team. Congratulations, Deanna!