When asked why she wanted to attend Redeemer, Erica Van Hoffen, in an unexpected response, explained that she actually hadn’t.
“Both my parents went to Redeemer, so, when I was in high school, I really didn’t want to come here,” she says. “I felt that it was too close to home. Then, I toured other universities and walked into these lecture halls with 400 seats. They felt too big and too much. I toured Redeemer and could just feel the sense of community on campus. It was what I wanted my university experience to look like.”
Additionally inspired by her parents’ career choices, Van Hoffen decided to study accounting. Hearing their work stories gave her a thorough appreciation for real-world experience.
I toured Redeemer and could just feel the sense of community on campus. It was what I wanted my university experience to look like.”
“You actually have a more rewarding time in school because there’s a better idea of what will happen at the end.”
Van Hoffen was initially placed with the international accounting firm Deloitte in January 2021. However, soon after she was hired, the offices and staff were transferred to MNP, a smaller professional services firm in St. Catharines, Ontario as part of a wider acquisition.
“It was neat that I got to work for both a large firm and one that’s more national-sized. We still had the same clients before and after the merger, just under a different name. It was definitely a crazy experience, but I did learn a lot.”
While going through an acquisition during her first work term had many stressful components, being part of a smaller team proved to be more beneficial in the long run.
“I got to participate in a lot of different auditing aspects instead of sticking to one part of the company.”
Van Hoffen’s biggest takeaway is one that she continues to apply in and outside the workplace.
“Learning happens through asking questions, not when you’re stuck spinning your wheels on something. In my classes, I’m now more likely to raise my hand when something doesn’t make sense, whereas before I would’ve stayed quiet and figured it out later.”
Due to relaxed COVID restrictions, Van Hoffen was able to officially receive her award at an in-person ceremony in March. She’s proud of the paths it will help forge for future co-op students.
“It means I represented Redeemer well,” she explains. “There haven’t been any Redeemer students at Deloitte or MNP for a while, so this has hopefully been a way to help get the school’s name out there.”
She was also keenly aware that being the face of Redeemer went hand-in-hand with being the face of Christ.
“I wanted to honour God by using the gifts and abilities he has given me. Working as a co-op student, I think it’s easy to wonder how your work has any impact because you’re just a small piece of the puzzle. Knowing that God has called me to the season I’m in and to honour him through my work helped give meaning to my day-to-day tasks.”
As she gets closer to graduation, Van Hoffen is building a clearer vision of life post-Redeemer.
Knowing that God has called me to the season I’m in and to honour him through my work helped give meaning to my day-to-day tasks.
“Working with clients, my managers and my co-workers solidified my choice to pursue audit accounting. I’m going back to MNP for my second co-op term, and I’m glad to have the opportunity to continue learning where I want to work.”
Bruce Wilson, the director of Redeemer’s Centre for Experiential Learning and Careers (CELC), had the following to say about Van Hoffen.
“Beginning with her time at Redeemer, Erica has maintained academic excellence and a remarkable experience record as a housing advisor, teaching assistant and leader of the Women in Business mentorship club. Throughout her first work term at MNP, she faced many challenges including an office change, remote work due to COVID and taking on unique auditing assignments. Despite all of this, she delivered quality work and has been duly recognized.”