Laura Couvrette knows what it’s like to work at Fuller Landau. Having joined the firm early on in her career, Laura’s hard work, loyalty, and commitment to continued learning earned her a well-deserved spot at the partners’ table.
But don’t mistake her soft-spoken nature for weakness. Laura is a strong and persistent advocate not only for her clients and her team, but also for a number of causes close to her heart. She brings a solutions-oriented approach, proactive communication style, and endless amounts of energy to everything she does.
We sat down with Laura for a brief Q&A to learn more about her career path to partnership, and what motivates her to work so hard.
Q: You’ve worked your way up the ranks in the accounting industry. Why did you choose to set down roots at Fuller Landau?
I started my career at one of the Big 4 firms, working on audits for large corporations. After writing my professional exams, I knew that I wanted to be more to my clients than just a yearly transaction. I was drawn to Fuller Landau because it offered the opportunity to work with owner-managers, and provide real value.
That is not to say that I haven’t had some U-turns along the way. There was a point just after I became a manager, where I questioned if public accounting was what I wanted for my career. It was an extremely difficult decision for me to leave Fuller Landau, and it wasn’t for long, but I don’t regret the brief time I spent working at Corus Entertainment. It gave me a new perspective on our clients’ experience and made me realize that we have something very special at Fuller Landau.
I love the entrepreneurial culture of our firm. Providing exceptional service and building lasting relationships with our clients is at the heart of everything we do, but we are also building a business and it has been so satisfying to contribute to the firm’s growth.
Q: In addition to being an Audit and Assurance partner at Fuller Landau, what other roles do you hold at the firm?
Being a partner means that you are part of the leadership team. Fuller Landau is a fairly flat organization so the oversight of the functional areas of our business is run by committees. I am part of the marketing and growth committees – both of which deal with the strategy and overall direction of the firm. I am also a mentor to 3 managers in our group as well as our Director of Marketing.
Q: The financial industry, particularly at the senior levels, has traditionally been a ‘boys club’. Have you ever felt intimidated or pressured to settle at any point during your career?
To be honest, I have never thought about it as an obstacle. The reality is that women bring a different, yet equally valuable perspective to the leadership table. For example, when I became a partner at Fuller Landau, I helped to draft a partner maternity policy that would later allow me to service my clients and maintain connectivity remotely, when I had my son. I hope that it can serve as an example to other women that having a fulfilling career and family are not mutually exclusive.
I believe hard work and focusing on creating great relationships, regardless of gender, are the keys to success.
Q: You’re certainly a role model for any young women who are just starting their careers in accounting. Do you have any advice to offer?
Take control of your career. You may not know exactly what your long-term goals are, but there is always opportunity for learning and growth in everything that you do. And of course, I cannot stress enough the importance of mentors and sponsors. I have been fortunate to have many great mentors who have advocated for my career progression and acted as sounding boards when I need advice. But these relationships do not develop automatically. You need to be proactive in seeking them out and nurturing them.
Q: In addition to your accomplishments as an Auditing and Assurance partner, you’ve been recognized for your non-profit work as a Woman for Nature, through Nature Canada, and your election to the board of directors at the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI). What drives you to be so active in your support of charities?
I have an interest in charities with a world view, and my accounting skills have been a great asset. With JGI, I sit on the Audit and Finance Committee and my role is to provide oversight for the accounting practices and financial results of the organization. I was also part of a small sponsor group that welcomed a refugee family from Syria and my role was to oversee the budgeting process and maintain the accounting records over the year that we supported them. And as an 8-time rider in the Ride to Conquer Cancer, I also enjoy supporting charities when there is a physical challenge involved.
Q: What motivates you to work so hard?
Most of the time, it doesn’t feel like work, which sounds cliché but is true. I really enjoy what I do, but I also enjoy downtime and a vacation is so much more rewarding when you feel like you have truly earned it.
Q: What do you think makes Fuller Landau such a great place to work?
I am proud to be part of a leadership team that values our people and is always raising the bar to make Fuller Landau an even better place to work. The awards that we have won are a testament to that fact but I believe that the true measure of our success is the supportive and inclusive culture that offers our team the opportunity to grow. People want to be a part of it, and my career path to partnership at Fuller Landau is an example of that.
Q: Outside of Fuller Landau, any hobbies or special interests?
I love running and traveling, and it makes me happy when I can combine the two. My husband and I often explore cities by going for a run. This summer I will be running my 11th marathon in Reykjavik, Iceland. It is a country that I have always wanted to visit as I have Icelandic heritage. I also love a bit of down-time with a great book. Any genre is great, but I have always been fascinated with dystopian themes, and love the work of Margaret Atwood. I am a positive person by nature but I am drawn to stories that examine the darker side of humanity!