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Shades of green: Meet three BDO team members from the Emerald Isle

The impact they've made in Canada is an excellent example of BDO culture in action.

BDO Canada is a true representation of global diversity, with employees coming from countries around the world, including Ireland. Three newcomers to Canada from Ireland—Sarah-Jane Maguire, Emma Toner, and Niamh Doran—turned into valued members of our Human Resources (HR) team. And, as you'll read, BDO's culture was instrumental in smoothing the moves they made.

Sarah-Jane Maguire makes the move from BDO Ireland to BDO Canada

After two years as an HR Advisor at BDO Ireland, which was her first job out of university, Sarah-Jane (SJ) says she felt the “itch to do something different, and Canada was at the top of the list.”

She contacted BDO Canada's HR team, who got the ball rolling for her move and new job with our firm.

SJ is now an HR Generalist and provides HR, coaching, and employee engagement support to accounting and assurance staff and leaders in BDO Canada's Vancouver office.

“It feels like a home away from home.”

“Moving countries is a big thing, so I wanted to change as little as possible, which is why I wanted to stay with BDO,” says SJ.

She adds that the transition from BDO Ireland to BDO Canada was seamless, and that's a ringing endorsement of the strength of BDO's culture.

“It feels like a home away from home. Just like in Ireland, there's a real culture of collaboration here. I work with people from every department. I learn so much about the industry. And it feels intentional,” SJ says. “My bosses want me to get better and they help me do it.”

Vancouver lures with its outdoor playground

Like many people relocating to Vancouver, SJ came for the lifestyle—and it hasn't disappointed.

“I'm an outdoorsy person, so of course it was Vancouver [that drew me]. Pictures don't do the city justice,” she says. “You can see the mountains from anywhere.”

But what she maybe wasn't expecting—and as you'll see later, what Emma and Niamh weren't expecting, either—was how welcoming Canadians are.

A warm welcome greeted Emma Toner

Emma was working for a professional services firm and also thinking about a move to Canada when BDO Ireland contacted her about a position in their office. To her credit, Emma was up front about her hopes to make Canada home.

And to their credit, they put Emma in contact with SJ, who had just moved, with a “here's someone following in your footsteps” kind of note.

SJ passed along Emma's contact details to the BDO Canada team, and it didn't take long for Emma to find herself in Vancouver as a Campus Recruitment Specialist for British Columbia for one year.

“BDO people make it fun.”

Although her time with BDO Canada was short, she made the most of her experience, immersing herself in Canadian culture and enjoying every aspect of her new professional journey.

BDO's social groups, networking tools, team check-ins, firm-wide employee recognition programs, and other team-building experiences made it easy for Emma to feel welcome and make new friends in her role.

“Moving to a new country is daunting, but the people and the culture made it fun. BDO people made it fun,” she said. “I made very close new friends at work.”

And the welcoming nature of the people Emma met at BDO was equalled by Canadians at large.

“People genuinely wanted to know how you're doing,” she said, “and that was true with strangers on the street as well as my teammates before a meeting or softball game.”

It's with these warm memories that Emma returned to her roots, as the pull of home and the rolling hills of Ireland were too strong for her to resist.

Niamh Doran balances work and play

Niamh is the latest member of the trio to join BDO, having moved to Canada in January 2023. With the experience still fresh, she has nothing but praise for BDO's culture.

“I was offered the job three months before I arrived in Canada, and BDO was so patient with me as I got my affairs in order back home,” she says. “They gave me time to find an apartment and settle in. That doesn't happen everywhere.”

Niamh was also working at a multinational organization in Ireland when she saw a BDO Canada LinkedIn job posting that promised a “fun and friendly place to work and play.” It stood out as exactly what she wanted, so she reached out to a childhood friend who recently moved to Canada. That friend was SJ and, like with Emma's resume, SJ passed Niamh's resume to Erica Stanley.

Today, as an HR Generalist, Niamh provides HR, coaching, mentoring, and employee relations support.

Diversity at the office and in the city

Niamh knew Toronto was where she wanted to be even before finding the BDO Canada job posting. She loves the fast pace and diversity of an urban core, and she's found both in BDO's Toronto office.

“I turn my chair around and I'm surrounded by 12 different nationalities. That doesn't happen back home. I've learned so much about the world and people and cultures. It's eye-opening,” she says.

The rapid rhythm of Toronto has won Niamh over and she has embraced some of the city's most quintessential pastimes.

“Since January, I've seen the [Toronto Maple] Leafs once, and the [Toronto] Raptors three times,” she boasts.

And she's quick to appreciate the opportunity she has.

“BDO was so accommodating. They gave me the time, advice, and help to find a place to live that let me have the life I want,” Niamh says. “I'm excited to see what the future holds here.”

Interested in learning more about BDO Canada's work culture?

BDO Canada is a place of opportunity where our people and work culture are celebrated. Gain insight into our flexible, supportive environment by visiting our BDO Careers hub.

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