Lana Kirk

Partner, PwC Canada

Lana KirkGrowing up in Lavington, a small community near Vernon in the North Okanagan, Lana Kirk was good at math and science, so she expected to study science in university. But when she headed to SFU on a $20,000 entrance scholarship in 1995, fresh out of high school, she changed her mind.

“I was like, I don’t know what I’m going to do with a science degree,” Kirk remembers. “The typical thing would be a teacher, which my [two older] sisters are, but that’s just not me.” A basic accounting course in Grade 11 and a couple of cousins who were becoming accountants planted a seed. “I like practical things, and going into business seemed like a good idea to me as a practical solution,” Kirk explains. She completed a bachelor of business administration in 2000, joined PwC as an associate in the assurance group the same year and became a chartered professional accountant in 2003.

Kirk’s very first client was a mine in central B.C. She was exposed to a lot of different industries when she started but began to specialize in mining around 2007. It’s big throughout the province, and PwC has a large mining practice, she points out. “I really liked working with the group and also really liked the clients and some of the technical accounting challenges and all the transaction work that comes along typically with mining companies.”

Her work with clients is mostly financial statement audit, but it sometimes also involves areas like auditing their internal controls, assisting with technical accounting analysis or moving to new accounting standards.

In 2012, Kirk became the first female partner in the PwC BC Region mining assurance group. PwC Canada, which has several programs to promote diversity and inclusion, is aiming for gender parity on admission of new partners by 2020. In mining, however, women are significantly underrepresented, Kirk notes, adding that as of last September, Canada’s top 100 mining companies by market capitalization had just one CEO and 16 CFOs who were women, according to data provider S&P Capital IQ.

Kirk supports women in the industry by coaching staff coming up through the mining group at PwC, hosting diversity events for clients and contacts, being a mentor and/or role model and connecting with female mining directors. “It’s really important to have men involved,” she says. “When we have our diversity events, we do encourage and really want to have more men come because I don’t think we can make change just as a group of women, as powerful as we may be.” —Felicity Stone

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