Lea Ribaya


What program were you in?

BBA, Accounting.


Where did you have your co-op work placement?

My first co-op placement was at the Vancouver Aquarium as an Accounting Assistant. Towards the end of my co-op term, they offered me a permanent position and I stayed with them for almost three years. It was a blessing. I started as a co-op student but got to stay on for longer! The team felt like a family, and I gained great friends. The organization was also flexible and supportive as I worked on finishing my degree.


What is the biggest takeaway from your co-op experience?

The biggest takeaway was learning how departments work together to run an organization. I realized the importance of my role, no matter how small, and how it affects operations. It affirmed my career choice and it was great to see how my skills can help add value to an organization.


What work are you doing now?

I am currently working as a cross-border personal income Tax Analyst at Deloitte LLP. We help corporations and individuals identify tax implications of living and working in Canada, US, and overseas. I am also working towards receiving my Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation.


How did your co-op jobs prepare you for the work that you’re doing now?

Co-op exposed me to the professional environment where I developed soft-skills that I would not have otherwise learned in class. I got a lot of coaching from the management about accounting, networking, and developing professional relationships. All of that helped me get transition to my current job.


Looking forward, where would you like your career to go?

Tax has always been a field of interest to me. I’d like to keep exploring careers in tax, but I’m open to other opportunities as they come.


What would you say to someone who asks you about co-op?

Definitely do a co-op term before you complete your degree. It’s a great opportunity to “test the waters” and you’ll find learning concepts in class will be easier once you’ve had real life experience. Take the EXPE2300 course and take advantage of the various co-op resources (resume writing, networking, mock interviews, etc.). You’ll never have another opportunity to practice working in the industry.