Geoff Yule believes the future is secure as long as there’s ample opportunity for young people to succeed.
A Selkirk College alumnus, the Castlegar resident’s work in the community over the last 20 years is a testament to how he feels life in the West Kootenay is enhanced when youth are given the tools to make a contribution at work and play. A partner in Yule Anderson Chartered Professional Accountants and volunteer for a variety of different organizations, Yule’s contributions will be recognized at the Selkirk College Graduation 2015 Ceremony this Friday with the honour of Distinguished Alumni.
Castlegar chartered accountant Geoff Yule’s commitment to Selkirk College and the entire community will be recognized at the Graduation 2015 Ceremony this Friday when he receives the honour of Distinguished Alumni.
“There is nothing more rewarding than providing a young person the opportunity to show their potential and then watching them succeed,” says Yule. “We undersell how much young people can do, they get a lot of bad press. If you take most youth and challenge them to do better, they are up for that challenge and will do well.”
At the core of Yule’s philosophy is education and Selkirk College plays an important role in helping create the proper balance in the community.
“If you give people an opportunity to get an education, then they will be able to take care of themselves and you will have a better society as a whole,” he says. “Selkirk College allows many individuals that wouldn’t be able to move to Vancouver or Kelowna to get an education, to actually get that education right at home.”
Selkirk Acts as Springboard to Successful Career
A graduate of Castlegar’s Stanley Humphries Secondary and standout hockey player, after high school Yule enrolled in the Selkirk College Liberal Arts & Sciences Program in 1977 and played for the Saints hockey team.
“In my case I felt Selkirk College, as it is now, was a good bridge between high school and university for those who are not exactly sure what they want to do,” says Yule.
During his two semesters at Selkirk College, Yule was able to explore different options and put more thought into his future. He moved onto the University of British Columbia where he studied bio chemistry and pharmacy before switching gears and attending Simon Fraser University where he finished his post-secondary education with a Bachelor of Business Administration.
Yule articled for three years with the chartered accounting firm of Price Waterhouse (now Price Waterhouse Coopers) in Vancouver. He then transferred to Geneva, Switzerland and spent three years working there before returning and spending another four years with the firm in Vancouver. By 1993, Yule and his wife Katarina were looking for a smaller community to raise their three young girls. They discovered an opportunity in his old hometown and bought into the firm now known as Yule Anderson Chartered Professional Accountants.
Keeping Up the Selkirk College Connection
An important aspect of the Selkirk College Business Administration Program is the opportunities students are afforded through the college’s Co-Op Education & Employment Services (CEES) which partners with local businesses and organizations to place students in crucial work placements. Over the past two decades, Yule Anderson Chartered Professional Accountants has taken on 27 students from Selkirk College for 16-month work placements.
“Geoff has a genuine enthusiasm and wonderful coaching approach to the myriad of Selkirk College co-op education students who continue to participate in work terms at Yule Anderson,” says Brenda Smith, manager of the Selkirk College’s CEES.
Proof of the partnership’s success is that a total of 13 current or former employees at Yule Anderson Chartered Professional Accountants became permanent staff members after completion of their work placement. One of those former students is Tiffany Snauwaert, now Selkirk College’s Business Administration Program chair.
“Right from the very first job interview I could tell that Geoff truly saw the co-op work experience as a mutually beneficial way to invest in a student’s life,” says Snauwaert. “He successfully communicated his desire to foster a healthy workplace through his personable demeanor.”
A Dedicated Community Volunteer
Yule’s passion for community and equipping young people with the proper foundation stretches well beyond his professional life. Over the last 20 years he has been involved in the Castlegar Rotary Interact Club, a dedicated youth soccer coach, a key member of the Castlegar Aquanauts Swim Club and the Kootenay Region of BC Summer Swimming Association.
“For Geoff, volunteering is just simply something one does to enrich the community,” says Castlegar Rotary Club Interact Team Leader Lorraine Hartson. “He sees volunteering in the same capacity as going to work every day.”
Over the years the Rotary Interact Club has been taking groups of local high school students to locations around the world where they spread goodwill and work on important projects like building orphanages. The goal is to enrich the lives of the children who live in challenging conditions and teach important lessons to youth who grow up with the advantages Canada provides.
Yule’s contribution to the Selkirk College and the community are considerable, but he says being presented with the honour of Distinguished Alumni at this year’s graduation ceremony was not something he expected.
“It was a huge surprise because there are so many people who do great things for the college, but being such a believer in Selkirk College I’m very honoured that somebody actually thought of me,” he says. “To be linked like that is fabulous, I’m thrilled to be part of something that is so important to the entire West Kootenay-Boundary.”
The Selkirk College Graduation 2015 Ceremony will take place at the Castlegar Campus on Friday, April 24. Yule will be joined on stage by fellow 2015 special award recipients John Armstrong (Distinguished Educator), Margaret Scaia (Distinguished Alumni) and Alex Atamanenko (Honourary Diploma in Peace Studies).