Sabrina Rai, 29

Accounting faculty, Kwantlen Polytechnic University; sessional faculty, UBC Sauder

Life Story: When Sabrina Rai says “education is really important to me,” it’s easy to believe her. After graduating from UBC Sauder, Rai, who grew up in Prince George and Abbotsford, went on to a master’s in accounting at the University of Saskatchewan while getting her CPA designation.

Eventually, she got a job at accounting firm KPMG, where her goal was to differentiate herself. “A lot of students go through the same program,” she says. She set out to learn more about AI and data analytics and became one of the leaders in KPMG’s digital community. She felt like she wasn’t progressing as much as she wanted to at the company and parlayed her master’s degree into teaching jobs at both Kwantlen Polytechnic University and UBC Sauder, where she’s spent a good amount of time developing courses around data analytics in accounting.

Rai recently returned from a trip to India where she spent two weeks teaching 150 female MBA students through a program with Global Affairs Canada. Rai is also one of the faculty leaders of the LIFT program at Sauder where she works with entrepreneurs in Kenya. “With COVID, we had a lot of challenges and couldn’t travel to Kenya, but we’ve expanded the program quite a bit and reached out to more than 300 entrepreneurs, providing them with basic business skills.”

Bottom Line: Rai teaches roughly eight-to-10 courses a semester and strives to create a mentor-mentee relationship with her students. “Yes, I’m teaching them financial accounting, data and analytics, but at the end of the day, students are going to come away with a connection.”