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Becky Armstrong:

A BDO success story on the water and in the office

Determination knows no boundaries, and the journey of Becky Armstrong—from her early days at BDO to her triumphant success at the World Dragon Boat Championship—serves as a powerful reflection of the essence of perseverance.

Her extraordinary journey transcends both the corporate world and the realm of sports.

Her journey at BDO

Becky's journey at BDO spans a remarkable 24 years, from her initial days as a CA student in 1999 in Vancouver to her current role as an Internal Accounting Manager.

In 1994, she was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), a condition that gradually leads to vision loss. In those early years, she was interviewed and began her career at BDO with a relatively unaffected vision. Despite her deteriorating eyesight, Becky pursued her CPA qualification in 2001, demonstrating dedication to her profession.

By 2002, she ceased driving and began utilizing adaptive technology to support her professional performance in 2004. Despite facing these challenges, her decision to shift from client-facing audit work to internal functions was endorsed by BDO, and she has excelled in this capacity ever since. The firm made sure she had the necessary tools to accommodate her daily tasks, including special software such as Zoom Text for enlarging text font and reversing contrast to enable white text on a black background, as well as a CCTV to magnify printed papers on a large monitor. She was also provided with the ability to customize and manage the lighting in her office space, recognizing that the overhead lighting might obstruct her vision and that this adjustment would enhance her visual comfort.

Finding her passion in dragon boating

Becky's journey into dragon boating began in 2014 when she joined the board of VocalEye, a local charitable organization dedicated to making live performances accessible to people with vision loss. This involvement led her to the BC Blind Sports’ dragon boat program, where she discovered her passion for this unique and inclusive sport.

In 2022, a remarkable turning point occurred in her life when she was informed that the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) was introducing a para division in the World Dragon Boat Championship. The news of Canada's decision to participate in this newly established dragon boat para division ignited Becky's determination to represent her country.

Remarkably, Becky only learned about this unique chance a mere two weeks before the tryouts, but she made the choice to chase her dream, declaring, "If not now, then when? I've got to do it." As a lifelong sports enthusiast, this was the opportunity of a lifetime to showcase her country's prowess on the global stage. At the age of 56, she proved that you can pursue your aspirations at any stage in life.

After rigorous training camps, countless hours at the gym, and relentless time spent on the water, she made the team, and the path was set for her to compete in Thailand.

A dragon boat champion

In May, the news that warmed the hearts of many finally arrived - Becky Armstrong had been selected as one of the members of the paradragon team.

The World Dragon Boat Championship saw 17 para paddlers and 10 non-para paddlers from Canada competing. The Canadian para team comprised individuals with various disabilities, and the event aimed to promote their talents on an equal footing with other teams. "The para team is as competitive as any other team at the championship," added Becky.

Despite having the least experience on the team, Becky's coach believed in her potential. Accustomed to competing only in 500-meter distances, Becky faced the challenge of transitioning to longer races without prior experience in 1K or 2K events, let alone race turns. Nevertheless, her achievements and determination have contributed to Canada's impressive medal count at the World Dragon Boat Racing Championships. In 2023, Canada secured 52 gold medals, 36 silver medals, and 13 bronze medals, putting them at the top of the world standings. Notably, the para team also established a world record as the first-ever para dragon boat 2k gold medalist.

The power of teamwork and inspiration

Becky’s journey recounts the significant themes of unity and determination. She emphasizes the importance of teamwork and the spirit of togetherness, highlighting that age and different abilities make no difference when a group works as one.

She was particularly moved by an inspiring incident during the competition when a team from Ukraine, facing immense difficulties, refused to give up. Their resilience and determination to finish the race, even with their boat submerged, showcased the true spirit of dragon boating and left a lasting impact on everyone who witnessed it.

Becky Armstrong's remarkable journey from the corporate world to the world of dragon boat racing truly represents what bending the arc of possibility means. It is a reminder that perseverance and passion can conquer any obstacle. BDO is incredibly proud to have Becky Armstrong as part of our team, and we look forward to witnessing her continued success on the international stage.

For more information about the BDO experience and how we nurture our talent and culture, please check out our life at BDO page.

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