Kristina Capretta, senior tax manager at PepsiCo Canada and the 2022–2023 president of TEI’s Toronto Chapter, has always had an interest in accounting and business, despite her original plan to become a teacher. In her first year of university, she found out quickly that she wanted to go down the business route. “My father owns a construction company,” she says. “I’ve always been around the construction world and business, so I ended up changing my path and going into the business stream. My first job at an accounting firm allowed me the opportunity to learn and grow my expertise in both accounting and tax. I eventually ended up going down the tax path specifically.”
Capretta’s interesting career began right out of university when she took a job with a smaller accounting firm whose clients were predominantly owner-managed companies. “We did all of their accounting as well as their tax filings. I subsequntly moved onto one of the Big Four firms . . . and then I got back into the family business . . . and then I ended up at a service-only, Canadian-owned company, a company owned by three of the largest banks in Canada,” she notes. “There, I was solely responsible for all of the tax functions and was there for just over nine years. It was my manager at that time who introduced me to TEI. She was on the TEI Toronto board and brought me to a few events. Shortly thereafter, I became a TEI member (2014). I joined the board just a few years after that in 2017.”
Capretta also notes that she wound up at her current employer, though, you guessed it, as a result of making a connection through TEI. “I have shared this fact with my members on several occasions,” she says. “At the time, when I was looking for a career change, I reached out to a fellow member at TEI, and I wanted to run a few opportunities that had come my way through him before I made a final decision. Lo and behold, he had an opportunity open at PepsiCo, so we connected, and that’s how I ended up at PepsiCo.”
The PepsiCo Experience
At PepsiCo, Capretta has had to deal with many different aspects of tax. “We’re a small group in Canada; we’re a team of five,” she says. “We manage all of the income tax functionalities for Canada. We interact with our global partners in North America and worldwide. Weekly, we typically have the opportunity to meet with the rest of our PepsiCo tax colleagues. It really gives me the opportunity to understand the breadth and depth of the tax landscape, and it puts me in touch with a lot of other individuals who have exposure to so many other aspects of tax.”
Turning to her responsibilities as head of the Toronto Chapter, which ended in June, Capretta notes that she will be staying on the board and will continue to have some input. “They’re not getting rid of me that easily,” she jokes.
Capretta notes that the Toronto Chapter is well-established. “We are typically one of the largest chapters, if not the largest, at TEI. Our membership is now about 340. That was a big goal of ours, to ensure past members who we may have lost over COVID renewed, as well as gain new membership. We did that in a couple of ways,” she notes.
“We hold events typically every month, and we put out what we call a ‘Professional Development Program’ (PDP). The PDP is near and dear to my heart. It’s something that I pulled together in the current format when I first started on the board in 2017. Basically, it’s a beautiful booklet that highlights the events to be held in the year, highlights our board members, and highlights our sponsors. It really showcases the value that TEI Toronto offers to our members, with the hopes that we engage more membership that way,” she explains.
Capretta listed several significant events that the chapter held last year. “We kicked off the season with a Legal Day event. That’s typically how we kick off our season in September, and it’s always one of the more well-attended and well-loved events,” she says. “We had well over 100 people in attendance. It was hosted at a landmark hotel, the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, and it was hosted by one of our sponsor legal firms. It was really our first opportunity to be back in person with all of our members. It was a great event. That was one of the big ones we did. We also held an international tax event virtually with the rest of our Region 1 chapters in November. I want to say there were over 500 registrants for that from Canada. We also held other virtual events as well as in-person events for the remainder of the year.”
When asked what she would do to encourage new members to join the Toronto Chapter, she responded with, “I really lean on TEI’s principles of ‘Connect. Engage. Impact.’ TEI is a great opportunity to be part of something larger than ourselves and larger than our respective tax departments. Being TEI members affords us the opportunity to lean on all our associates within the tax world, and we get to bounce ideas off one another. We have a lot of engaging conversations at all of our events, because typically there is a social aspect of all of our events, even via email. The networking, I would have to say, is probably one of the biggest benefits of TEI and TEI Toronto. The networking lends itself to how we do connect with one another, how we do engage with one another, and then ultimately how we can impact not only ourselves but our jobs and tax in general.”
When not dealing with tax issues, Capretta likes to try new restaurants and, post-COVID, is back to visiting as many as possible. She also enjoys traveling. “I’m at thirty countries and counting,” she says. “I’m not quite sure where I’ll be hitting up this summer, but the plan is to visit somewhere new and exciting and for maybe a little bit longer than I typically would have in the past. I also enjoy attending many of the festivals Toronto has to offer: Dîner en Blanc (‘a worldwide event spanning six continents in which people have a meal dressed in white in a temporary dining setup in a public space’), a rosé party, salsa events, and any other kinds of festivals/cultural events,” and yes, that includes TIFF—the Toronto International Film Festival.