Arlene Anderson, the president and co-owner of Sam Bat in Carleton Place, Ont., the first company to supply professional baseball players with maple bats, knew she was in the right place when she walked onto the Carleton University campus for the first time in 1978. She met one of her lifelong best friends that morning.
“Right from the beginning, my experience at Carleton was great,” says Anderson. “The sense of freedom was fantastic. I majored in Commerce, but made so many friends from a variety of fields.”
Anderson discovered her love for business case studies at Carleton — the art of pulling together psychology, finance, marketing, economics and accounting. She excelled at solving problems and decided to become a chartered accountant, even though she had not taken any accounting classes in high school and initially found the area challenging.
“I marched off to the library with my textbook and immersed myself until I had caught up to the other students,” she says. “Initially, I was more interested in marketing and business, but I was good with people, and this helped me become a good auditor.”
Carleton’s employment centre helped Anderson land her first job at Thorne Riddell Chartered Accountants, where her auditing work provided behind-the-scenes views of operations across a range of businesses. This solidified and magnified her university studies, marrying the practical with the theoretical.
“I love seeing the fruits of my labour,” says Anderson. “Ten years ago, when I got involved with Sam Bat, it was facing serious challenges. The company had been around for a decade and experienced tremendous growth, which led to growing pains. It’s never easy, but we’ve turned things around and are thriving.”
Sam Bat, a.k.a. The Original Maple Bat Corporation, makes bats from single pieces of maple — one of the hardest woods in the world. They have been used by scores of Major League Baseball stars, including Barry Bonds and Miguel Cabrera.