“Find something you like to do, and it won’t feel like work. It’s a fact,” said our Vice President of Finance, Irene Holdbrook, reflecting on her time with The Erb Group. Last month, Irene celebrated 30 years with the company and hasn’t stopped moving forward since.
All Roads Lead to Accounting
Irene’s career started with The Erb Group in 1992 as a co-op student from Wilfrid Laurier University. With prior experience in auditing, Irene was hired to help support our finance department and was later officially hired on part-time. In 1993, after her graduation, Irene’s hard work in previous positions earned her a full-time role and equipped her with the skills needed to thrive as a leader in finance for many years to come.
Irene’s co-op experience helped her gain a broad perspective of the many wheels that turn to keep a trucking operation in motion. Starting from the ground level allowed Irene to absorb everything she could to be helpful to all departments. Learning how to issue cheques, managing customer calls, and payroll processing helped her get to where she is today. Gaining a holistic overview of how everything works and why is beneficial because, “All roads lead to accounting at Erb Transport,” said Irene.
Moving Through Positions
Progressing through her career into an executive role as a female in a traditionally male-dominated industry can be tough; however, that didn’t stop Irene. “Females in the boardroom are a really important asset. I bring a focused mindset and ensure we keep our resources moving,” she explained. Throughout every role, Irene never stopped learning or asking why. It helped her fully grasp where opportunities or improvements could occur. This very mindset was the reason she was welcomed into the boardroom and senior leadership gained confidence in her ideas.
Irene’s experience and past endeavors with coworkers were also pivotal in her growth at the company. “I’ve learned something from everyone,” said Irene while recalling many cherished relationships she’s developed throughout her career. “Kevin Cooper was there during my accounting footsteps, and Dave Dietrich was always an incredible support.” Having supportive coworkers who show how much they value your opinion has positively influenced the way she works day-to-day.
Having been at The Erb Group for many years, there are many great memories. While looking back, Irene mentions our family culture and compassion have always stood out throughout the ups and downs of life. In 2000, Irene had unfortunate news hit her family. “I walked into Dave Dietrich’s office and asked for flexibility, and it was delivered with compassion. You hope it never comes to that, but if it does, having an employer that has that ability is never underappreciated and will never be forgotten,” she explained.
Additionally, at the start of Irene’s career, she had no intention of becoming an executive leader in finance. However, the value Irene brought to the company led us to support her by furthering her education and earning her CPA and CMA certifications, extending our mantra of fostering a caring culture and supporting our employee’s career growth.
For anyone thinking about making a cool move in their career or is working toward a management position, Irene’s advice is to “Start in a role and soak everything up. The more you know, the more valuable your ideas and expertise become.” Congratulations again to Irene Holdbrook for reaching an incredible 30 years of service milestone with The Erb Group. She continues to be a valued and cherished leader within our company.
The Erb Group always looks for opportunities to help our employees advance, personally and professionally. With the right mindset and dedication, you can also achieve your dream position.