CA student profile: Vicki Roos
Vicki Roos was Highly Commended in the 2015 One Young CA competition, and has gone on to work in Africa for the benefit of communities. She shares her inspirations and why she loves the work she does, with the CA Student blog team.
Vicki trained with Chiene + Tait in Edinburgh, working on a variety of not-for-profit projects that reinforced Vicki’s desire to work in the third sector: “I was part of the team on the audit of the Institute of Afghan Arts and Architecture, and the Turquoise Mountain Foundation in Kabul in 2012. This experience encouraged me to look at a career in the development sector,” explains Vicki.
After qualifying in 2013, Vicki took the role of Senior International Finance Officer for East and Southern Africa with Mercy Corps Europe, an international development and humanitarian organisation. Her work since has taken her to Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tunisia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (pictured below, Vicki on far left), and led to Vicki making the move to Tunisia to work as Mercy Corps’ Finance & Compliance Manager in February 2016.
What prompted you to become a CA?
“I liked that this was a career with many different opportunities, where I would have flexibility to work in different organisations and countries, and the ability to travel. I hoped I would gain experience to start up my own organisation. I could not have imagined having such jobs or opportunities [as I have had]. I know I have been very lucky at each stage.”
Who is your role model and why?
“I have met so many courageous and inspiring people. Almost every day I spent in East Africa, I met someone who shocked and humbled me with their stories of living through genocides and other atrocities. I attended the Entrepreneurial Leadership Programme in Kampala; each one of the other 26 attendees from different countries in Africa, Middle East and Asia, inspired me with their positivity, motivation and brilliance - despite the many barriers they have faced.
"They are incredible people who have survived and thrived through: war, destruction, abuse, being refused education, limited basic rights, limited access to medicine, constant occurrence of natural disasters, and so on. I was privileged to be among them and learn from them.”
What advice would you offer to today’s CA students, or someone thinking of joining the profession?
“Business drives development, and has the ability to address social problems and inequality. I would urge CA students to explore the opportunities to their skills and business to address social problems and inequality, and consider their options outside the private sector or practice.
“As CAs, we have skills that enable us (and should encourage us) to become social entrepreneurs, to work in humanitarian organisations, to start our own civil society organisations, to sit on boards of not-for-profits. I believe we have a responsibility to do so.”
What are your other ambitions?
“Prior to moving to Tunis, I was involved in a Senegalese Cooperative; Groupement Takku Liggey. I sold handmade goods from Senegal in the UK, and sent the funds to the Group in Senegal. I have not been able to continue this in Tunis (it is not the right market), but I look forward to starting again in my next destination.
“My life ambitions would be: to share, enjoy, learn from, and be mutually enriched by everyone I work with; to drive social change where I can, and be involved in as many social enterprises, CSOs, charities as possible; to continue and progress with my hobbies (painting, cooking, travelling); to improve my French and learn Arabic, and other languages in future destinations; and to enjoy life and experiences with my partner, family, friends.”
What’s special about working for Mercy Corps?
“Mercy Corps Global ‘saves and improves lives in the world’s toughest places’. We believe that communities are the best agents of their own change, and that linking civil society with the private sector and public sector is an important factor.
“The programmes of Mercy Corps Tunisia focus on economic / market development, including youth employment and entrepreneurship, financial inclusion, and civil society capacity building. There are six active projects, with a further two starting this month. It is such a valuable experience to be part of an organisation which is working to build the Tunisian economy, strengthen the capacity of civil society, and encourage entrepreneurship - post-revolution and during a difficult economic time.
What would you say to someone considering following in your footsteps?
“Do it! This is a genuine alternative to a career in the private sector or practice. It will provide you with incomparable, uplifting experiences, and opportunities to meet and learn from people who will change your views on work, life, and resilience. I would be delighted to provide more information to anyone who is considering a career in the INGO sector (or wider charity sector): ICAS can provide my email address on request.