Phil started kayaking with a simple goal: To beat his brother. He was the first to take up the sport, and Phil—born to compete—was close behind and ready to win.

At just 14, Phil was taking part in competitive canoe slalom races, before eventually moving on to the fierce world of natural whitewater rapids. Years later, it was this extreme sport that caused Phil to suffer a serious back injury requiring six months of recovery. This might have scared some people off indefinitely from the sport. But not Phil. It simply re-focused his ambition and granted him a new perspective, re-energizing his determination and resilience—skills he uses today at KPMG in the high stakes’ world of Deal Advisory. “There’s been multiple key moments in my kayaking career which have defined the way I assess risk. Accidents happen, it’s the nature of the sport, and how you analyze and choose your path can determine what your outcome will be.”

With a degree in engineering, Phil started working as a site engineer but realized he preferred the business side of things. He dove into spreadsheets and numbers, which is how he landed in Vancouver at KPMG, where he now works as a Director in the Deal Advisory practice as a member of the Turnaround and Restructuring Team.

Kayaking some of the toughest rivers in the world taught Phil how to stay calm and solve problems in high-pressure situations. Now he brings those skills to clients when they need them most. “It’s the same thing as the river. We’re presented with these complex, challenging business problems, with organizations at risk of bankruptcy or in crisis, and we need to get them from A to B safely and successfully.”

Phil and his team work together with clients to determine the best solution for their business. He believes that bankruptcy is a last resort, and that there are several options that should be considered before turning to that. “If your solution is we’re going to put you into receivership, or bankruptcy,’ that’s not really a solution. That’s just a service.” Tapping into his competitive spirit, Phil and his team strive to go above and beyond for their clients, providing tailor-made solutions to pull them out of the weeds. “We’re working with the client to understand what’s next. What does the next week look like? The next two years? How do we make sure the business is still a business?” Sometimes that means supporting a company on improving its cash and working capital position and for others that means exploring M&A opportunities or financing options. Phil thrives knowing that no two days are the same at KPMG.

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