From Windsor to Wasaga Beach, the private sector to the public sector, the town’s new treasurer is ready to work hard for the residents of Collingwood.
For this week’s edition of People of Collingwood we spoke with Monica Quinlan, 45, treasurer for the Town of Collingwood.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I grew up in Tecumseh. It’s a little town outside of Windsor.
Q: When did you first know you wanted to get into accounting?
A: I kind of always knew, but I took a Grade 11 accounting course and that’s when I understood it.
My grandfather was an accountant as well.
Q: Where did you go to school?
A: I went to the University of Windsor. I worked as a temporary part-time employee at Chrysler on the line as an assembly worker, which helped me pay for school.
I went for my Bachelor of Commerce. As part of that program, they let you select a career path. Originally I looked at a CA (Chartered Accountant), but I decided I wanted it to be more on the corporate side of accounting so I went for a CMA (Certified Management Accountant).
After university, I spent two years going through the CMA program and graduated in 2002.
I stayed in Windsor and worked in a few automotive places in accounts payable and worked my way up to assistant controller and eventually, controller for a manufacturing organization.
Eventually, we had an opportunity to move to Wasaga Beach for my husband’s job.
So, we went for it.
I wasn’t planning on working right away because I was on maternity leave for my fourth child at the time.
Q: You worked for nearly six years as treasurer for the Town of Wasaga Beach. Was that the job you started after your maternity leave?
A: Yes. I started with them in July 2011. I learned a lot and gained great experiences there.
Q: What was it like moving from the private sector to the public sector?
A: It was a bit of a culture shock. Coming from the automotive industry, it’s very different. In the private sector, we would present to a board of directors. Now, I present to a municipal council. The ways I make that presentation are different.
I certainly didn’t deal with the public in the private sector. That’s one of the things I really love about the public sector, to be honest.
I like interacting with residents and working with them.
Q: What are some of the challenges you face working for a municipality?
A: To be perfectly honest, what’s really important for any accountant is to be able to speak to the numbers and provide information that makes sense for anybody.
That’s one of the best parts of my job, is being able to make it make sense so people can relate to it and understand the points we’re trying to make. I think I’m good at that, but maybe I’m not. (laughs)
Q: After working for Wasaga Beach, you went back to the private sector before returning in January but this time for the Town of Collingwood. How has it been returning to the public sector after spending some time away?
A: The reason I went back to the private sector was, I always had wanted to start my own business and I knew if I waited too long, that I would never actually do it.
I worked as an Associate with CFO Services, where essentially I ran my own book of business and had my own clients that I managed and worked with.
It worked for what I wanted to do. I loved it. I loved the flexibility of having my own book of business.
I did a lot of travel, and with COVID-19 and things changing and being a mom with four kids, it was more challenging.
I feel like I got it out of my system, so to speak.
It was time for me to take stock of what was important. I feel that COVID did that for me a little bit.
When I saw the Town of Collingwood job come up, I thought it was a bit bigger than Wasaga Beach, but it’s a really cool place and I thought it would be a great place to work. I thought the CAO (Sonya Skinner) would be a great person to work for.
I missed the aspect of working with the public. I thought I could bring good things to the Town of Collingwood.
Q: What do you feel you bring to the table?
A: I think it’s a fresh set of eyes, and a different perspective. Collingwood’s in great shape and we’re lucky in that situation, but I thought there were things I could help improve like increase our customer service and some better online activity. COVID has done that as well.
I think I’m a positive person. It’s not always easy being a public servant, but I want my staff and people to know we appreciate the job. Sometimes it can be hard, but that’s OK. It’s part of the challenge.
Q: What kinds of things do you like to do outside of work?
A: (My family) are avid boaters, campers, hikers and bikers. This area provides a playground for us. My kids are involved in hockey. One of my sons is involved in acting.
I think this area is perfect for them.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like people in Collingwood to know about you?
A: That I’m excited about the job. I’ll work hard for them, and the community.
For our feature People of Collingwood, we’ll be speaking with interesting people who are either from or are contributing to the Collingwood community in some way, letting them tell their own stories in their own words. This feature will run on CollingwoodToday every Saturday. If you’d like to nominate or suggest someone to be featured in People of Collingwood, email firstname.lastname@example.org.