Carol Shirtliff-Hinds: Stepping out on her own and Educating Our Children about the Language of Love

Carol Shirtliff-Hinds worked with the federal government for almost two decades before deciding to go out on her own.  Fifteen years of her time spent working for the federal government was spent prosecuting cases dealing with a wide range of tax issues.  The remainder of the time was spent prosecuting drug offences.

 

When she finally made the transition out of the government job and on her own, Carol did not travel too far from her government roots.  In her current role as the head of her own firm, she continues to do prosecutions for the Canadian government in far out suburban areas where there are few resident government prosecutors.  Although the majority of her work is for the Canadian government, Carol has expanded her practice to include representation in a wider range of litigation matters (including defense work) that do not conflict with her current client files. 

 

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Being a sole practitioner.   I love the feeling of running my own business.  This is something I’ve always wanted to do.  Being on my own allows me to work on a wide range of cases.  I can work on drug prosecutions or tax evasion files. 

 

What would you be doing now if you didn’t become a lawyer?

I would probably have been a French teacher.  A few years ago I started a school to teach children French.  I am really passionate about educating children about the value of a second language and the impact gender has on this process.  Boys and girls learn differently and this impacts their ability to learn a second language.  I am interested in these little nuances and would like to do more work in this area. 

 

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

I really enjoy what I do now.  So, in the next five years I will likely be doing the same thing.

 

What is your biggest challenge?

Balancing home life with work life.  I work out of an office away from home, but I also have an office at home.   In addition, there are periods when I spend at least 75% of my time in court.  This makes it very hard to keep up with housework and other family commitments.

 

Who are your mentors?

I have had so many mentors.  There are a lot of people who have taken me under their wing.  I actually have a mentor from articling whom I became close friends with.  At the time I didn’t even realize that it was a mentoring relationship, but it became one as we got to know each other better.  I’m an advocate of informal mentoring relationships that develop out of shared interests and respect.  In my experience, they are easier to manage and tend to last longer. 

 

What advice would you give to a young lawyer interested in pursuing a career in tax?

Express your interest to people you work with and to your mentors.  If you are still a law student and if it’s available at your law school, take as many advanced tax courses as possible.  If have started working and your are in a large firm with multiple practice areas, remember when you do get tax work to work hard and produce good work. 

 

What book(s) are you reading now?

Hp-cleopatra-jacket
My kids gave me a Kindle for my birthday so I downloaded a few books that I want to read.  The two that I have started are: Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, and Pulitzer Prize winning Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff. 

 

Describe yourself in three words or less?

Keen.  Hardworker.  Proud (of my work).

 

Describe your ideal vacation?

An exploratory vacation somewhere with my children and my husbands.  I love seeing the world from my children’s perspective. 

 

If you could have dinner with one person in history (no longer living), who would it be?  Why?

Mahatma Gandhi.  I would want to know what was going through his mind when he said “go peacefully” when most people’s natural inclination is to be rebellious.

 

Written by Marsha Henry


Wayne Hamilton: A Man with a Mission

WayneHamilton
Wayne Hamilton’s birth home is located in the beautiful town of Mandeville, in the parish of Manchester in Jamaica, West Indies.  His undergraduate alma mater is Andrews University in scenic Berrien Springs, Michigan.  His J.D. degree was earned in North Carolina from the historic campus of North Carolina Central University.  His LL.M in tax, comes from the prestigious University of Florida, College of Law.  Wayne’s academic and tax career have allowed him to have the wonderful experience of traveling and living in many places since emigrating from Jamaica to the United States.  But, he and his family have finally settled in and now call Rogers, Arkansas home. 

 

Arkansas is also where Wayne currently serves as the Senior Director of the federal income tax controversy group for Walmart.  In this role, he regularly interacts with the IRS to handle both domestic and international tax issues on behalf of Walmart.   

 

Wayne has spent most of his legal career in tax:  working for the IRS District Counsel, General Motors Corporation, JM Family Enterprises, and now Walmart.  However, there was a period of time where he worked on the business side of a company in order to get comfortable with how decisions were made outside of the tax world.  This experience strengthened his professional advisory skills and prepared him with a broader perspective and understanding of the business story behind a company’s strategic vision.  It was extremely valuable when he finally returned to tax practice at Walmart.    

 

What is the most interesting part of your job?

Understanding on a day-to-day basis how impactful a decision around tax can be on business operations.   Although tax is not the driver of business, it is a major part of the overall framework. 

 

What advice would you give to a law student or new lawyer who is interested in pursuing a career in tax?

Three things. 

 

First, seek out a mentor.  I have had some great mentors throughout my academic and professional career.   In fact, I was able to transition into progressively rewarding roles in my career because of mentoring. 

 

Second, as a new lawyer you should seek an opportunity for broad based exposure to tax.  Places like the IRS, Treasury or a major accounting firm can provide you with this experience. 

 

Third, if you are really serious about tax, get an LL.M or other advanced tax degree. Twenty years ago advanced degrees in tax were a rarity.  That’s not the case anymore.  In 2011, you are competing against a lot of other new lawyers that have made the commitment and sacrifice to earn one.

 

What would you be doing now if you didn’t become a lawyer?

I would probably be a medical doctor.  Until my final year of undergraduate studies, I was convinced that I was going to medical school.  Something happened that year that sparked my interest in a career in business.  Once I committed to move in this direction I began to think about what my next step should be.  I realized early on that a law degree would be advantageous wherever I ended up.  So, I applied to law school without the expectation of practicing when I was done.  I simply knew I wanted to be in business in some capacity.  Things have a way of working out.  It’s been almost 21 years since I graduated and became an attorney.

 

Describe yourself in three words or less?

Focused.  Diligent.  Team player.   I hope four words are ok? (laugh).

 

Describe your perfect vacation?

A little beach in a little city.

 

If you could have dinner with one person (no longer living) who would it be? Why?

George Washington Carver because of his tenacity and commitment to his craft.   He was an agricultural chemist who discovered over three hundred uses for peanuts and hundreds more uses for soybeans, pecans and sweet potatoes.  I would want him to tell me what it was that allowed him to remain so focused. 

 

What book(s) are you reading now?

I’m reading two books. 

 

(1) Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, by David Platt.  It delivers a powerful picture of how the values of many churches in America today are influenced by values rooted in the "American Dream";  and

(2) The China Study, by Dr. T. Colin Campbell.  It examines the relationship between the consumption of animal products and illnesses such as cancers of breast, prostate, and large bowel, diabetes, and heart disease.         

 

Are there any specific charitable ventures or organizations that you support?

UnitedHands

Yes.  A few.  But the one that I am most proud of is United Hands.  My family recently participated in a medical mission trip to Jamaica with 91 volunteers from the US, UK and South Africa.  The team provided dental, optical, chiropractic, gynecological, and pediatric care to locals. 

  United Hands Jamaica 2011 Team
                                                                    United Hands Team in Jamaica

I love these mission trips.  I use them as an opportunity to teach my daughter about how to give back.

 

Written by Marsha Henry


Glenn Carrington: This is not about Glenn. It's About Service to Others

Carrington, Glenn


Glenn Carrington’s name is synonymous with mentoring, selflessness, and generosity.  No, he is not a saint (at least not that we know of) or church minister, but for many aspiring African-American US tax professionals he is close to it.

 

Glenn’s official title at Ernst & Young LLP is National Tax Director for Client Services.  In this capacity, he also serves on the U.S. Executive Board of Ernst & Young and acts as a consultant to many major companies, focusing on M&A, financial products and tax accounting.  

 

After a combined 31 years in government and private practice, Glenn has earned his stripes at E&Y by ensuring that he delivers excellent client service and strategic planning advice at the front end of each deal or transaction he works on.   He has earned the respect of his peers and clients, and with that the title of lead engagement partner for several  fortune 200 companies with all major decisions flowing through him. 

 

In addition to his day-to-day commitments at the office, Glenn also takes his knowledge and know-how to the streets making presentations at various government offices and conferences.   He also regularly lectures at Tax Executive Institute Conferences across the country, the Practising Law Institute’s (PLI) Tax Strategies For Corporate Acquisitions, Dispositions, Spin-offs, Joint Ventures, Financings and Reorganizations, NYU’s Tax Institute on Federal Taxation and at the University of Virginia.

 

What advice would you give to a law student or junior lawyer who wants to pursue a career in tax practice?

 

The best building block for a career in tax practice is working in a government office such as the IRS or the Treasury Department.  The IRS administers the tax system.  Working with the IRS allows you to understand how various government offices work together to ensure the efficient administration of the Internal Revenue Code.    This experience is invaluable when you enter into private practice.       

 

I would also suggest getting as broad of an experience as possible.  On average it takes about five years to learn tax rules governing reorganizations and three years to learn and master tax rules governing other areas.  As a young lawyer your focus should be on familiarizing yourself with the Code, regulations and rulings.  The corporate tax rules are very complicated and can easily trip you up if you aren’t familiar with what issues to look out for.   You should have a burning desire to get the right answer. 

 

What is the most interesting part of your job?

I enjoy mentoring and helping others.  In my role as a mentor, I always ask myself how I can help someone work better or think more deeply about an issue?  My goal is the help people to be better at what they do.  This includes individual tax professionals as well my clients.

 

What recent event has had the most impact on your practice

The recession in 2008.  It changed the way companies do business.  Many companies had to make cutbacks.  My job as a consultant/advisor was to be creative in finding ways to enable these companies to continue and grow their business in spite of the bleak economic environment. Things are improving, slowly, but the spotlight is definitely on being more efficient with the use of time and resources.  You have to be able to convince a client, in many cases, that the reward is more significant than the cost. 

 

What book are you reading now?

Tax__mergers
I actually don’t have much time to read right now because I am in the final stages of updating the 2011 edition of my book entitled “Tax Accounting in Mergers and Acquisitions”.  

It typically takes two to three months to complete.  A lot of work goes into it.  The first edition was published in 2006 and was a significant turning point in my life.  I dedicated it to my mother who passed away a year earlier.  The 2012 edition should be available very early in the new year.

 

Describe yourself in three words or less?

 Honest. Loyal. Hardworking.

 

Describe your perfect vacation?

Being with family.  Playing a lot of golf.  Definitely on the water: boating and swimming.

 

If you knew you would be stranded on a desert island tomorrow, what one thing would you bring with you

Someone I love. 

 

If you could have dinner with one person in history who is no longer living, who would it be?

Either Justice Thurgood Marshall or Martin Luther King Jr.  They were impactful and genuinely cared for others and were not solely focused on themself.  This is the way I try to live my life.  My moto is:  It’s not about me.

 

What is your favorite DC restaurant?

The Bombay Club.  They serve Indian cuisine. 

 

Have a merger or acquisition question? Want to ask Glenn about a tax accounting issue?  

You can email Glenn at glenn.carrington@ey.com or give him a call at (202) 327-6268. 

 

Written by Marsha Henry


Sandy Thomas: Harmonizing her Many Different Interests

Sandy_Family
 Sandy, wearing an orange shirt and blue jacket, is beaming while surrounded by her family.

Sandy Thomas did not start her legal career expecting to be at the forefront of enforcing her country’s tax laws.  In fact, when Sandy graduated from New Jersey’s Rutgers University School of Law in 1986 and started drafting claims for class action lawsuits as a law clerk at Hangley Connolly Epstein Chicco Foxmann and Ewing in Pennsylvania, a career in tax was the furthest thing from her mind.  Even when she went on to become Assistant Counsel to New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean, she was not fully committed to a life in tax.  It wasn’t until her mentor, a big firm lawyer, suggested that she consider a career with the Crown Attorney’s office that she began to slowly move in this direction. 

 

Sandy began working as Counsel in the Department of Justice Canada, Criminal Prosecutions Section in 1994 primarily prosecuting offences under the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, as well as occasional matters arising under the Canadian Income Tax Act.  Now, as Counsel with Public Prosecutions Service of Canada since 2005 (previously a division of the Department of Justice), ninety-five percent of her practice consists of what is called “Revenue Prosecutions”.  This includes offences arising under the Income Tax, Excise Tax and Customs Acts.  These cases, typically, are fairly complex and lengthy.

 

Along with her responsibilities as Counsel on the Revenue Prosecutions Team, Sandy also acts as an Alternate Crown for Drug Treatment Court.

 

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy this work because it is like a puzzle.  You have to do a lot of detective work to pull everything together.  It’s very rewarding for me to put together cases involving circumstantial evidence.  You have to really use your brain.

 

What would you be doing if you did not become a lawyer?

Piano

A Musician.  I both sing and play the piano.  A lot of people don’t know this about me, but I have an undergraduate degree in music.  I had every intention of working in the music business when I started the program, but realized quickly that many of the most talented people don’t earn a decent living being an entertainer.  However, I did carry this passion for the industry with me into law school. 

While in law school I sang jazz and show tunes with a Cabaret group called Le Noir Cabaret, based in Philadelphia, PA.  I planned on becoming an entertainment lawyer.  This didn’t happen, but I continue to perform occasionally. 

I actually have a performance coming on September 13, 2011.  I will be singing as part of a choir comprised of judges and lawyers at the Special Divine Interfaith Service held at the Church of Holy Trinity in downtown Toronto.  I'm really looking forward to it. 

 

Where do you see yourself professionally five years from now?

Hopefully, in a role where I can continue to be involved in public service.  Definitely, doing something where I am able to help people-as ideal as that may sound.

 

What advice would you give to a young lawyer or law student interested in working in tax?

From the perspective of a public prosecutor/litigator, I would let them know that they don’t need an extensive background in tax to work in this area. When I started at the Department of Justice I mainly prosecuted drug offences.  What is important is that you are a thorough, well-prepared litigator.  The investigators and other experts can assist you in understanding the technical aspects of each case.   

 

If you could have dinner with one person in history (no longer living), who would it be?

It’s hard to choose.  There are at least three people I would want on that list:  My father, the Honorable Julius Isaac and Michael Jackson.

 

My father because he was my hero.  I miss his counsel, wisdom and sense of humor.  The Honorable Justice Isaac because he was an incredible inspiration, role model and mentor to me as well as to other young minority lawyers in the court.  Michael Jackson, because he was a musical genius, a good person, a fabulous composer, dancer and a humanitarian.  Shall I go on? He was just incredible.

 

Describe your ideal vacation?

Lying on the beach in Tobago.  Reading and relaxing.   Taking in the scenery.  Looking at boats in the water.  All day.  Every day for at least a couple weeks. 

 

What book(s) are you reading now?

TheHelp
I just finished reading Midnight by Sister Souljah.  It’s a very good book.  It's written from the perspective of a Sudanese immigrant living in Brooklyn. 

The Help is next on my list.  I plan to see the movie when I am finished reading the book.

 

 

 

Written by Marsha Henry


Vanessa Scott: A Global Appreciation for Tax and Fine Ethnic Cuisine

ScottVanessa
Vanessa A. Scott is Counsel at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, a law firm that proudly boasts about its expertise in providing legal advice with a “global reach”. 

 

About five years ago, after taking a hiatus from the practice of law, Vanessa accepted a position at Sutherland in their tax group.  Armed with an LL.M earned from the prestigious Georgetown University Law Center in 2006, she quickly transitioned into an position at the firm providing advice to large, multinational employers seeking assistance with structuring employee benefit plans and executive compensation arrangements, as well as compliance issues arising under ERISA.  

 

Much of Vanessa’s time is spent talking on the phone with clients to obtain sufficient background information to produce thorough oral advice or a written advisory opinion that addresses complex tax and business issues.  This includes advising clients involved in mergers and acquisitions about how to manage benefit plans after a deal.

 

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Keeping up to date with changes in the law.  Employee benefits advisory is a very broad area of practice.  An attorney working in this area must be current on federal and state tax laws, fiduciary laws, ERISA, and many others.  This can be very time consuming so to be successful you must be creative about how you receive your updates.  Although I read a lot of material from sources such as Tax Notes and Tax Analyst, being in Washington is helpful.  Here you can develop a network people working in the agencies directly involved with drafting the laws.  You can learn a lot over a cup of coffee. 

 

 

What recent event has had the most impact on your practice?

Definitely the Affordable Care Act, which is expected to reform the current way health care is delivered in the United States.  Right now, a lot of my practice is spent advising employers about how to comply with provisions in the legislation that have already come into effect.   We also work with employers to develop a plan to help them with complying with parts of the Act that will not become effective until 2014.   This includes keeping them abreast of the status of lawsuits challenging the Act.

 

What advice would you give to a young law student who is interested in pursuing a career in tax

The big growth areas for tax practice are in advising clients on ERISA and international tax matters.  The global economy continues to grow.  There are tremendous opportunities in these areas because not a lot of people commit to becoming experts on these issues.  Also, not a lot of attorneys have knowledge of how these two practices areas are connected.  That would be a very valuable skill set to develop.

 

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

I would like to be well versed in international tax aspects of ERISA and use this knowledge to develop an even more sophisticated practice representing a broader array of employers.  This would mean that I would be advising more on benefits offered to expats and in-pats, as well as providing multinational employers comprehensive advice on employee benefits structures that can be applied to their global operations. 

 

How do you spend your free time?

Believe it or not, my weekends are completely consumed by football.  Mostly little league games where I watch my eight-year old son play and my husband coach.  My house is a football house.  I think my five-year old daughter may actually be the number one draft pick for the NFL quarterback position for her generation (smile).

 

What is your favorite restaurant in Washington, D.C.?

Rasika.  They serve the best Indian food.  It took some time, but my husband recently discovered he enjoys Indian food as much as I do.  We like to go to Rasika when we can get reservations.   It’s a real popular spot.  If you are ever in DC, you should try it out.  Their website is: http://www.rasikarestaurant.com/

 

Describe your ideal vacation?

Two weeks.  Napa valley.  Half day wine tasting.  Second half of the day hanging out with the kids.  As long as my Blackberry and iPhone are close by, this is paradise. 

Want to Talk to Vanessa?  

For any tax, employee benefits, workers compensation or general questions, you can email Vanessa at vanessa.scott@sutherland.com or give her a ring at (202) 383-0215. 

 

 Written by Marsha Henry


Ashley Wicks: Working Hard to be a Part of Something Greater than Herself

Ashley_Wicks
Ashley Wicks, a true Southern Belle, is a fourth year associate in the Private Client Services and Business Advisory practice group at Watkins Ludlam Winter & Stennis P.A.  Ashley’s practice includes providing advice to clients on federal, state and local taxation issues, corporate finance deals and general business and corporate transactions.  Ashley has developed a niche practice advising clients about new markets tax credits used to provide capital to projects geared towards the low-income community.  In addition, her tax advisory practice also includes IRS collection matters, tax controversy work, overseeing state tax audits, as well as providing her research expertise to answer complex tax questions.    

 

What is the best part of your job?

I enjoy doing work that allows me to be creative and delve into the Tax Code in order to answer really complex tax questions.  For example, when I worked on a lien collection matter for a client and I was able to craft a resolution that the client was able to live with, it felt really rewarding.   When a client gets a notice from the IRS, it is really nice to be in a position where you can help them to satisfactorily resolve the issue and relieve their stress. 

 

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Balance.  In my area of practice you have to get used to the fact that everything that the client brings to you is an emergency.  When you have multiple clients with emergencies at the same time, you tend to drop everything so that you can assist them as quickly as possible.  I constantly have to remind myself to carve some personal time out so that I can respond to these emergencies with a clear and open mind. 

 

What do you do with the personal time that you are able to carve out?

KimanipressarrabesqueI enjoy reading romance novels: Kimani Press Arabesque is one of my favourite series.  

I also must confess that I am a reality TV follower.  I like to watch Single Ladies and Real House Wives of Atlanta.  Outside of that, I always try to spend time with my parents, my sister and my friends.  I value my close personal relationships and try to invest as much time as I can to maintain them.   

 

Are you a member of any organizations?

I am active in a lot of organizations.  ABA and NBA are two organizations where I am really active.  My view is that it is important to be a part of something that is greater than myself.  Involvement in these organizations allow me to do that.

 

If you could have dinner with any person in history who would it be? Why?

I would have to say, Tupac Shakur.  I like reading his interviews because he always has something interesting to say.  He is very deep.  One of the quotes I find intriguing, he says:  “I am not saying that I am going to change the world, but I am saying that I am going to spark the mind that does change the world”.  It makes you think.  Tupac died before he had an opportunity to mature into his greatness.  He has or had a lot of power with his words, and I do not think that he truly had an opportunity to harness this power.

 

If you knew that you would be stranded on an island tomorrow morning, what one thing would you bring with you?

My iPhone.  Without my iPhone I couldn’t text my friends, search for directions or talk to my Mom – and I definitely can’t go a day without talking to my mom.

 

Describe yourself in three words or less.

Ambitious.  Charismatic. Creative.

 

To learn more about Ashley and her practice, feel free to contact her by email at awicks@watkinsludlam.com or by phone at (601) 949-4828.  Ashley will be happy to assist you with any business or tax related issue that you may have.

 

Written by Marsha Henry


Sandra Rosier: Helping to Bridge the Gap Between Law and Style

SandraSandra Rosier is a Tax Director at the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB).  In her role as Tax Director she is responsible for supporting the CPP investment teams in various multijurisdictional investment transactions from a tax perspective.  Sandra’s practice focus includes, but is not limited to, providing advice for private debt, infrastructure investments, public market investing; and funds and secondaries transactions. 

 

Sandra began her tax career as a law clerk for the Supreme Court of Canada.  She then headed south to Boston to join Ropes & Gray.  It was not long before she realized that she was a true Canadian at heart.  Accepting a Tax Associate position at McCarthy Tetrault, she quickly settled back into the hustle and bustle of downtown Toronto life.  Sandra further fine-tuned her tax expertise, before making the leap to CPPIB, at Couzin Taylor as a Tax Associate and then at Ernst & Young as a Senior Manager in International Tax Services. 

 

What is the most interesting part of your job?

I really enjoy learning about the commercial and business dimensions of a transaction.  The Tax Director role allows me to be a bridge between CPPIB’s external advisors and the internal investment team.  To do this job well, you need to have enough knowledge to make you dangerous on a wide breadth of issues.  In my role as a Senior Manager at Ernst and Young I was able to work on a lot of big deals.  However, I was limited in how involved I could be in the entire deal.  At CPPIB, I have to see things from a business perspective so I am exposed to many issues beyond tax that might affect an investment transaction.  This, to me, is really exciting.  It keeps me on my toes.

 

What is your biggest challenge at work?

The learning curve.  I am fairly new in my role and coming from an accounting and law firm the nomenclature is very different than in a business environment like the CPPIB.  The CPPIB is a private equity investment environment.  Although I worked with clients as an external advisor, as an internal advisor the communication style and emphasis is different.  Legal jargon is not enough to excel.  You need to understand the business objectives and know how to articulate it using business language and terminology. 

 

Where do you see yourself professionally five years from now?

In the next five years I am committed to really learning the investment industry.  I hope to be an expert in this field so that I can provide seamless advice more intuitively and efficiently. 

 

What one thing would you bring with you if you knew that you would be stranded (indefinitely) on an island tomorrow morning on your way to work? 

It’s a toss-up between pictures of my kids and my IPod.  In all seriousness, the pictures of my kids would definitely win that toss.   My IPod is a strong second runner-up. 

 

If you could have dinner with one person in history, who would it be? 

It would have to be Billie Holiday.  She was gone too soon.  I would want to tell her how special and talented she was. 

 

Who is your role model?

My mother.  She is a poet, retired teacher and the most wonderful woman in the world.  She is a model of how to live a life of devotion to others. 

 

When you are not working, what do you do with your spare time?

Etiquette_information I love to spend time with my kids.  I run recreationally and enjoy watching foreign films.

I also write fiction and publish an etiquette blog for lawyers.  You can find it at:  http://www.lawandstyle.ca . The name of the column is Bar Code.  Check it out when you have a chance.

 

 

Written by Marsha Henry


Shamsey Oloko: Picture Perfect Ambition

Shamsey
Shamsey Oloko, a partner at the Thorgood Law Firm, is a seasoned US Tax Code veteran.  He has been in the trenches for over twenty years representing businesses and individuals in tax controversy proceedings and performing audit activities, as well as in criminal tax prosecutions.  Many of Shamsey’s clients are either tax preparers who often inadvertently direct their clients to run afoul of the Code or who file tax returns based on interpretations of the Code that are either unpopular or simply raise the ire of the IRS.  Shamsey has often found himself working with businesses that have been established in a state other than NY, but unbeknownst to the client touches New York for tax purposes.

 

Shamsey, originally from Nigeria, started his career in tax long before he entered law school.  As a student in St. John’s University’s MBA in Finance program, Shamsey took a quick liking to tax after his professor declared: “the only two things in life that are definite are death and taxes”.  Coming from a country where taxes were elective, Shamsey was not immediately convinced.  However, he quickly realized that if this statement were true there would always be work to do in both of these areas.  Having no interest in working with the dead, Shamsey elected to build his career in the more exciting and sexy tax industry.

 

What is the most interesting part of our job?

I really enjoy dealing with individuals who feel so overwhelmed by the IRS and the tax rules.  It gives me great pleasure to be able to assist them in managing this relationship, empower them and provide solutions for their problems.

 

Where do you see yourself professionally in ten years?

Exactly what I am doing now.   Although I have the flexibility to work for a large firm or corporation, I’ve always known that I wanted to be self–employed.  I also really enjoy the dynamic nature of tax.  It’s such an integral part of everyday life.  I always feel challenged in my practice and regularly seek out new opportunities to grow. 

 

When you are not strategizing about your future as a tax professional or waist deep in client files, what do you do with your free time?

Reading.  I love to explore the world through literature.  I am also a photographer in hiding.  I carry my Canon T2i whenever I am on an adventure away from work.  I like to capture each moment of life with my camera.  Those moments can never be replicated, but they can be memorialized for the future.

Shamsey_photo_GCT
Shamsey_photo_GCT

 

Who is your role model?  Why?

Bill Clinton is my role model.  To appreciate Bill, you have to know his past.  He does not allow people to limit what he can achieve.  Bill and Hilary were, and still are, a great team.  They were both ahead of their time in many respects.

 

In three words or less, describe yourself?

Outgoing.  Driven.  Compassionate.

 

Contact Shamsey

If you want to learn more about Shamsey and his practice, feel free to contact him directly.  He would love to hear from you. 

Shamsey T. Oloko, Esq.
The Thorgood Law Firm
100 Park Avenue - 20th Floor

New York, N.Y. 10017

Tel: (212) 490-0704
Cell: (347) 661-4575
Fax: (212) 490-0706

Email: oloko@thorgoodlaw.com
Web: www.thorgoodlaw.com

© Copyright

Written by Marsha Henry


Tanza Olyfveldt: Professional and Driven

Tanza Olyfveldt-1 Tanza Olyfveldt began pursuing a legal career as a tax practitioner after graduating from the University of Ottawa with a law degree in 2007.  After articling at a tax boutique law firm and seeking a challenge, she decided to expand her knowledge of the rules governing international tax issues by  continuing her legal studies at Northwestern University School of Law.  In Spring 2010, she completed a LL.M. in taxation.  

 

Since then, Tanza has been working at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as an International Tax Consultant specializing in US/Canada cross-border tax issues related to transactions involving multinational corporations.

 

Tanza provides advice to a wide range of clients in various industries.  However, she has been developing a niche practice delivering consulting services to financial services companies.

 

What is the most interesting part of your job?

Dealing with files that really engage the US Tax Code and/or the Canadian Income Tax Act and related tax treaties.   In particular, working with tax treaties to resolve complex tax issues involving multiple jurisdictions.  For example, I get really excited when I’m on a file with complicated tax issues that span the U.S., Canada and other countries – that sort of complexity often happens when we advise multinational clients on restructuring in merger and acquisition transactions.  Since a lot of the files I see involve the financial services industry, I’m also learning a lot about various financial products, particularly in asset management.  Basically, I am generally most interested in things that challenge me to think outside of the norm.

 

If you could have dinner with one person who is no longer living, who would it be and why?

I would really enjoy having dinner with Michael Jackson because he was a compassionate person who was very dedicated to his work.  I would love to gain insight into what motivated him to achieve and maintain the level of success he reached before his death.  I’d also like to chat with him about how he viewed the world.

 

Describe yourself in three words or less

Confident, ambitious, compassionate.

 

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

In five years, I see myself more intimately involved in the client’s business as a strategic leader.

 

In your spare time, what do you watch on T.V.?

I’m a huge fan of the Colbert Report, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Criminal Minds.  

 

Written by Marsha Henry