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In the Spotlight with Graeme Cocke

Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in the Lower Mainland, and went to university at UBC, where I met my wife. We have two sons who are both in elementary school. This career has afforded me the flexibility to be around and present with my family, for even simple things like family dinner, which I am very grateful for.

Professionally, I articled at KPMG in Vancouver, and was a manager and senior manager at EY, prior to joining another mid-sized firm in Vancouver in 2011. I joined Baker Tilly in January 2019 as a Partner in our public company practice. My career has spanned the largest to the smallest of companies and I have been fortunate to travel for work across Canada, the United States, Europe and Israel. My career thus far has been rich in experiences and continues to be rewarding and enjoyable.

Outside of work, what keeps you busy?

The biggest thing I do outside of work is act as a volunteer coach in our local community leagues for both soccer and baseball. The past few years I have acted as head coach or assistant coach for both of my boys each year, so I am involved annually with 4 teams and spend somewhere in the neighbourhood of 275 hours a year on coaching.

For myself I try to get to the gym at least twice a week, ski during the winter and do outdoor activities (biking, hiking, paddle boarding, camping, etc.) in the summer. As a family we try to be outdoors a lot.

What does “Now, for tomorrow” mean to you?

As someone who is fairly early in their career as a partner, “Now, for tomorrow” is incredibly meaningful and appropriate. Reputation is very important in my mind, whether that be with clients, my partners, or my staff, which requires going out every day and living a set of values based on doing things the right way, not taking short cuts, and setting myself up for a tomorrow, where the reputation I build now is respected. Beyond that, it is a reminder that we always need to keep the future in mind when working in the present, as what we do today affects our future and the futures of those around us.

What is the best advice anyone has given you?

I can’t recall if anyone actually gave me this advice, or if I picked it up from books or sports or TV, but something I have come to understand in my career is that you have to be true to yourself. For me that has manifested in being open and honest about myself and my job with the people and clients I work with. I believe it has helped me create friendships and professional relationships where people trust me, and allows me to be confident in my approach and better able to handle the difficult conversations and decisions that sometimes arise in this profession.

What personality traits make a good leader?

I grew up playing sports, and so a lot of what I value in terms of leadership has roots in teamwork and being a member of a team. To me, being a leader of a team means understanding what others do well, teaching and passing on knowledge, being inclusive and encouraging others to express their ideas, not being afraid to roll up your sleeves and help, having patience to work through issues, and being calm under pressure. I try to keep in mind that leaders exist only to the extent that people are willing to follow them, so a leader should never be complacent, nor begin to think that they are bigger than the team itself.


Contact Graeme Cocke