From Hospital Sheets to Spreadsheets: Christian Toupin Comes Back From Injury to an Accounting Career
A serious accident almost sideswiped his dreams, but determination and a strong support network added up to a bright future for chartered public accountant Christian Toupin. He is from the small town of St. Claude, Manitoba, near Winnipeg where he went to university to get a business degree with a major in accounting. He now works at MNP and loves it..
Growing up, he knew he wanted to go into business, to think outside the box and do something with numbers but he didn’t expect to become an accountant and study seven years after high school. His dad had his own business and that inspired him. During university, he worked with a bank to get finance experience and then with his current employer for a summer.
He found himself hooked on accounting and really enjoyed the work. After he got his degree, he studied another two and a half years and wrote an exam for his designation. He’s still learning on the job, getting better at what he does and evolving.
His journey to his dream job had some bumps along the way. In the fall semester of his last year of university, he and his friends were in an accident on their way out for a hunting trip. He lost over a week of his memory and was lucky his friends were able to help him on the scene. They were taken to hospital by air ambulance and the extent of his injuries and the recovery he needed meant he had to take a break.
Toupin remembers coming to in the hospital and trying to figure out how he was going to get back to his studies and keep moving towards his goals. His first order of business was recovering as quickly as possible so he could get out of the hospital. Within a few weeks he was transferred to a different hospital with a brain injury program. There were few spots and he was lucky to get into the program.
For four weeks he did daily treatments to get himself back on track physically, mentally and emotionally. After his release, he did some assessments and was given clearance to continue in his studies. By taking courses in the summer, he was able to catch up at school.
The accident left him with cuts, scratches and scars. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and broke his C2 vertebra, which connects the skull to the spine. Toupin had surgery on his spine and one of the things he struggled with in recovery was finding the right words for things. Some of the pathways in his brain had to be re-established but he was fortunate not to have had a more severe injury.
Friends, family, athletic therapists and mental health professionals helped him through school. He didn’t want to be treated differently from other students and he had to learn how to adapt after his injuries. His temperament shifted from always being in a rush to being a lot more laidback, having gained perspective about how things could always be worse. Toupin was left with gratitude, feeling lucky to be alive and a desire to give back.
“I want to be able to be part of these things that show students or anybody else who may be going through a tough time that there's always a way, a path that you can make,” he explains. He enjoys being part of advertising and events for the air ambulance service that helped him survive. His friends had less significant injuries and the group is back to having fun together.
He loves spending time with his friends and also loves his job. He likes working with different clients and businesses and helping them work towards their goals. Beyond looking at financial statements of the past, he functions as a business advisor, working with them in real time to help them succeed and make the best possible choices. Beyond just numbers, there’s a strong focus on relationships and need for professional connections.
As he looks to the future, he wants to work his way up through the ranks in his accounting firm and explore all the opportunities for growth in his company. He wants to keep being involved in community, volunteering and giving back in his hometown and helping to promote it so it can grow.
Even after a serious accident almost sideswiped his dreams, chartered public accountant Christian Toupin is looking to the future, not just his own but that of the place where he grew up. With determination and a strong support network, he hopes it all adds up to a brighter future for everyone in his community.
Thanks to Alison Tedford Seaweed for authoring this article.
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