I had the most interesting comment sent to me today, by someone who used to work at the CRA.
She noticed on my blog, and on social media, that I “claimed” to have been a “Former CRA Employee of the Year” and she, having worked at the CRA, was not familiar with the award.
She questioned my legitimacy!
I love it.
It reminded me that I had not finished updating the “About Us” section on the inTAXicating website, and in doing so, I will include the details of this honour.
I was nominated for the “Most Valuable Player” award – which was the wording they used for the Employee of the Year – by a colleague of mine in 2002.
The nomination was his acknowledgement that I went way above and beyond the scope of my employment not only professionally but personally to support my colleagues, staff and to represent the CRA in a positive manner.
This was before my MBA, and before children.
I had recently started a Mentoring Program for the Collections division at our CRA office and the program was so successful, that we began running it through the rest of the departments in our building and in other Tax Services Offices. I was also responsible for overseeing the Write Off inventory, managing a New Intake collections / compliance team, heavily into training staff and had recently taken over the Director’s Liability inventory and was in the process of cleaning that up.
Personally, I had just gotten married, had been right in the middle of taking accounting courses towards my CGA designation and was volunteering my time with a Big Brothers and Big Sisters Program here in Toronto.
I was also on the board of the Government of Canada Charitable Workplace Campaign, and in the role, I went to each and every employee in the Revenue Collections division in our office and spoke to them one-on-one about the program and their contribution. They donated record amounts.
I had several inventories of business collections accounts, and when the office renovated floors and we had to move staff between floors, I was the coordinator. I was also the employee who received the sensitive issues from the Director’s Office to hand, with care.
I was busy. Could have been much busier, but certainly I was fully engaged.
I was nominated and both myself and the nominator received recognition for the honour.
I was deeply honoured and appreciative.
Then I won.
I was shocked.
I drove to Niagara Falls, accepted the award from then Commissioner of the Canada Revenue Agency Ruby Howard, and I drove back home to attend class later that evening.
The following day, the first person I met when I arrived into the building greeted me like this;
“Hey Warren. Congratulations on the award. I just don’t feel that you deserved it.”
“Thank you”, I replied to him. “Neither do I.”
“Sorry, that might have been harsh”, he said to me.
“I’d rather you speak the truth, than keep that from me” I said.
“You know what”, he said. “Maybe I just don’t know you well, enough, but time will tell.”
Just a year before this man passed away from a long battle with cancer, he said leaning over the cubicle right beside me where he sat; “You know what, Warren. I’m surprised you only won one of those things.”
That comment from one of the smartest people the CRA had ever employed, meant a lot to me. Not many people got along with this gentleman because he was all business, all the time, but I deeply respected him and I let him know it. He earned that respect from everyone, but few knew how to pass it along to him.
But, getting back to my “claim”…
I decided to attach the picture of my award;
Me accepting the award in Niagara Falls;
My certificate of my 10-year’s of service to the CRA;
…and a word of advice for anyone who has tax problems…
Know who you are dealing with. Understand their expertise in the field you are looking for expertise in.
Which I do.
Then they reach out.
I expect each and everyone of you to do the same. Read some posts, Google me. Check out my LinkedIn profile and reach out for tax help, to have questions answered, to learn more about the CRA, or to help your clients so you can help them.