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The history-making first Common Final Examination gold recipients in their own words Erin Compeau Deloitte LLP, Toronto


When you heard you had won the Governor General’s Gold Medal “I was initially shocked and then giddily happy! I have been fortu- nate to have several unique experiences in my life, and this result definitely tops that list.” In your wildest dreams did you imagine that you could win it? “My CFE study group talked about making honour roll during the summer, but it always seemed like a fantasy at the time. On the day of the exam, I focused on executing my exam strategy without thinking about the results.”


Why did you decide to become an accountant? “It was a spontaneous decision during the university application process. I wanted to choose a career in which I could find a larger purpose, growth opportunities and rewards for hard work. I think that I have found all these things in accounting.”


Caleb Aaron Hagemeister MNP LLP, Medicine Hat, Alta.


When you heard you had won the Western Canada Gold Medal


“We got on the line with one of our Calgary partners, and he said that he was with our forensics and litigation team and was also a volunteer with CPA and asked if I could keep a se- cret. I was able to muster a yes. Then he told me that I was the regional gold medal winner for Western Can- ada. I sort of blacked out and don’t really remember much more of what he said, and the waterworks started going too. I wasn’t crying because I had won the gold medal —I was cry- ing because I was so happy that I had passed the exam.”


Mathieu Isabelle St-Étienne-des-Grès, Que.


When you heard you had won the Quebec Gold Medal


“I was pleasantly surprised — I did not expect it at all. I felt a great sense of accomplishment and pride. This gold medal is a wonderful reward for the energy and time I devoted to my studies in recent years.”


In your wildest dreams did you imagine that you could win it? “When I finished the exam, I was not sure of some answers from Day 3 and I thought my results would be somewhere in the middle. I was far from imagining that I had written an exam deserving the gold medal in Quebec.”


Jisoo Ahn Grant Thornton LLP, Halifax


When you heard you had won the Atlantic Canada Gold Medal


“Throughout the CFE summer my CFE mentor kept telling me I would win the gold medal. I never thought I would. All I wanted was a pass. But aſter Day 3, while reading through the cases I wrote, I got a strong feel- ing that I nailed it. [When the results came] I could not believe it, so I read the emails hundreds of times to make sure it was true. My heart was beating so fast, and I was so happy I could not say a word. I thought about the support of my family, friends and my firm. Without them, I would not have been able to do it.”


38 | CPA MAGAZINE | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016


Ruth Kaplan / Charles Hope / Louise Bilodeau / Nance Ackerman / KlixPix


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