Neighbours: Lucy Arruda: Going above and beyond

Lucy Arruda has always pushed herself beyond all limits.

Lucy Arruda has always pushed herself beyond all limits. This is something that was instilled in her by her mother. “My mom gave me the will to plan and to always push myself to do better. Complacency wasn’t an option. The status quo wasn’t an option. Mom used to always tell me that if I wasn’t doing my best, I wasn’t doing good enough,” she said.

Her parents were determined, hard-working Portuguese immigrants who came to Canada from the island of Sao Miguel, an island paradise in the Azorean archipelago that is located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Her father landed in Halifax harbour on April 29, 1954 and from there, made his way to Kitimat to work at Alcan. Five years later, he returned to Sao Miguel and after he was married, came back to Canada. This time, the couple settled in Toronto where her father took on a job with Ontario Hydro.

Of the five children in the family, Lucy is the youngest. “I came home from the hospital on my brother’s birthday. My brother had wanted a boy but here I was. I always hung out with him and we enjoyed going to Blue Jays games together. I actually became somewhat of a tomboy. I played all kinds of sports but softball was my first love,” she smiled.

Although her family had a strong work-ethic, this drive didn’t preclude the family from enjoying frequent social gatherings. Family time was treasured. In the Arruda household, education was also of paramount importance. “As immigrants, my parents wanted their children to have the best possible education so that we could succeed. Dad wanted to buy a 50 acre ranch but mom refused to move to the country so that we could get our education,” she said.  After graduating from

St. Joseph’s College, Lucy went on to the University of Toronto where she received a Bachelor of Commerce degree.

Unfortunately, her father developed diabetes. “Actually, by the time that he was diagnosed he was already so sick. He really wanted to work but couldn’t do what he was doing before so he went back to work as a custodian. Then there were complications and eventually he had to go on dialysis. Then he had a stroke and eventually, he was taken off of life support. It was so sad. Dad was a wonderful man. He was rather quiet and reflective but so incredibly loving. He was always helping others,” she said proudly.

Her father’s death in 1993 caused her to reflect on her own life. “I married quite young and after my dad died I began to realize that I wasn’t happy at all and the year after my father’s passing, I divorced. The company that I was working for at the time was consolidating and this gave me the opportunity to head west,” she said. Lucy had continued to play organized ladies fast pitch and since you could only play at that level in either Vancouver or Chilliwack, she had a choice to make. “Since I had friends who had come out to Chilliwack to build the Falls, coupled with the fact that I didn’t want to live in the city, I chose to make Chilliwack my new home. I moved out here in September 1995,” she explained.

When she moved out to Chilliwack, Lucy worked for Terry Mitchell CGA but since her daughter was only three, she decided to work from home. “When I was ready to work outside of the home again, I went to work for Stan Rogers. Then after four years, I had the opportunity of working for Stream as their Site Finance Manager and I did that for three years. The next three years with Stream I was their Regional Senior Finance Manager for the Americas. This meant that I worked with 16 sites in total in Canada, the US, the Caribbean and Latin America.” It was a demanding job and she was constantly on conference calls. “I would start my day at 6:30 in the morning and I’d work until 7:00 in the evening.  I began to realize that what I wanted was to get back to working with people again. I had done by CMA (Certified Management Accountant) in Ontario and in 2009 decided to get into the planning side of things as I was finding accounting just a bit dry,” she smiled. By 2010, she had her CFP (Certified Financial Planner) designation and opened up her own practice. She now works under the Investor’s Group umbrella.

“I absolutely love what I do,” she admitted. She also believes in giving back to her community, a quality that her parents instilled in her from the time that she was a very young girl. Life is about balance, though, so Lucy always tries to make time for her friends and family and to enjoy one the things that she loves most. “I have always loved the outdoors. I like to hike, kayak and travel. It’s great to explore different places,” she enthused.