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Derrick Li

Forty Under 40 winner 2019, Executive director, corporate services, Coast Mountain Bus Co. Age 37
Rob Kruyt photo

Among Derrick Li’s accomplishments is work completed after TransLink’s then interim CEO, Doug Allen, in 2014 appointed the then 32-year-old Li to be on a five-member core-service review panel that helped steer the transportation authority’s strategic direction.

“During that time, we almost felt that we didn’t want to say that we worked at TransLink, as morale was down,” he said.

“That’s probably the most instrumental thing in my career as it helped shape the current TransLink, which is now seen in a positive light.”

After graduating from Terry Fox Secondary School, Li attended Simon Fraser University, where he completed a bachelor of business administration, with a specialty in accounting.

After four co-op terms at BDO Canada, the accounting firm gave him a job as an auditor. He soon realized that his love was enterprise risk management, so he moved to the TransLink subsidiary Coast Mountain Bus Co. as enterprise risk and capital manager in 2008, reporting directly to the CFO and the company’s board of directors.

Promotions followed. Last year Li became an active member of TransLink’s investment-plan steering committee, which would help win the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation’s approval of the second phase of TransLink’s $7.3 billion 10-year transportation plan.

Since being named among BIV's 2019 Forty under 40 winners, Li has taken on a new role, as chief operating officer of Lawson Lundell LLP.

Outside work, Li is involved with Vancouver’s Lean Sensei International – an organization that teaches principles based on manufacturing methods pioneered decades ago by Toyota Motor Corp.

In 2016, Li was awarded a gold medal for top performance by Lean Sensei International. He was also recognized in 2014 as one of the global Institute of Internal Auditors’ top 20 emerging leaders, based on professionalism, leadership, certifications, advocacy, community service and innovation.

Li, who has a child with autism spectrum disorder, has volunteered for autism advocacy groups to help make it easier for those with special needs to find employment.

He and his wife, Joyce, spend as much time as they can with their three children and their puppy, Momo.

Birthplace: Pictou, Nova Scotia

Where you live now: Fraser Heights in Surrey

Highest level of education: BBA from SFU, CPA and CA

Currently reading: An Early Start for Your Child with Autism: Using Everyday Activities to Help Kids Connect, Communicate, and Learn by Sally J. Rogers; The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick M. Lencioni

Currently listening to: Anything on Spotify in between “Baby Shark”

When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up: NHL hockey player

Profession you would most like to try: Assistant GM of the Canucks, or work in Canucks hockey analytics

Toughest business or professional decision: Going all in and championing TransLink’s Lean Academy, which involved a lot of long hours and hard work but significant payback

Advice you would give the younger you: Spend time in internal audit, where you will be exposed to all parts of the business while interacting with all levels of management, C-suite and boards

What’s left to do:  Work to develop recruitment and retention strategies aimed at helping persons with autism meet their career goals

Join us to celebrate the 2019 Forty under 40 Awards on January 30, 2020, at the Westin Bayshore. For tickets and event information visit