By Carly Whetter, Foundation and Alumni Relations
Alfred Zagloul’s multifaceted career as an accountant, Instagram influencer and entrepreneur is surprisingly all connected by one thing – coffee. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’ve been really fortunate that my degree has allowed me to merge my career with my passions and interests,” says Alfred.
Sippin’ on success
Out of all his professional ventures, his Instagram success is probably the most surprising. When Alfred’s Daily Hive colleagues noticed he enjoyed exploring downtown Vancouver’s coffee shops on his breaks, they suggested he start an Instagram profile. After a few months of planning, @AlfredDrinkingCoffee was born.
“The account started out as a joke at first,” Alfred admits. “We wanted to poke fun at the stereotype that accountants are boring with no sense of humor, while delivering a deadpan coffee review.”
Turns out, the joke was on him. In less than a month the account went from two followers to 2,000. Not long after that, coffee shops and roasters – from local JJ Bean Coffee Roasters to a roaster in Australia – started to reach out to collaborate. Now, the account boasts over 11,000 followers and Alfred has reviewed over 500 types of coffee. Officially a profitable side hustle, Alfred continues to grow the account and track his income, expenses and inventory with the skills he learned during his Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Douglas.
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Even though Alfred has found his unique professional niche, it wasn’t always easy. He came to Douglas College’s accounting program for a change of pace after failing out of another post-secondary institution.
“I didn’t study and quickly went from academic probation to being kicked out by the third semester,” he says.
The change proved to be exactly what he needed. The smaller class sizes at Douglas College meant he was able to connect with his peers and interact with his instructors in meaningful ways.
After a few semesters of keeping his head down and getting his grades up, Alfred realized he was missing out on half of the college experience by solely focusing on his academics. So, he became a Student Ambassador and got involved on campus.
Read more: Gain leadership skills and build your resumé as a Student Ambassador
“You’re not going to apply all the knowledge that you’re learning in your courses into your career. But what you will apply is all the experiences you had that built you into who you are. At my core, I know that graduating from Douglas made me into who I am today,” Alfred says.
Taking his shot
After graduation and a stint in the accounting department at Blenz Coffee’s headquarters – where he picked up his love of coffee alongside his first accounting gig – he was hired by Karm Sumal, CEO and co-founder of what was at the time Vancity Buzz to help reinvigorate the publication’s finance department.
“I got so much experience just in that first year of basically restarting Vancity Buzz’s books from scratch. We built the policies and the structures of the department,” Alfred says.
During his first year, Vancity Buzz expanded to Toronto and Montreal and rebranded as Daily Hive. Today, the company is the largest online-only media publication in western Canada.
“I didn’t get much sleep during that time, so coffee definitely helped,” he says.
Even with his success, Alfred is far from finished.
“Nowadays people seem to want to pursue a career and it’s the be all, end all. But it’s not enough for me. I want to do all the things I’m passionate about,” Alfred explains. “But with my degree and my understanding of how money works, I know I need to build a financial foundation before I can do everything.”
In late 2019, Alfred launched Zagloul Consulting where he aims to support his clients in pursuing their dreams by helping them truly understand their business finances.
Even with yet another side hustle under his wing, he’s already applying the skills he teaches his clients to his own future. “I still have five or so years to go, but I’d love to open up a coffee shop of my own one day.”
Want to connect and network with people like Alfred in the Douglas community? Join Douglas College Café, an exclusive mentoring and networking program. Learn more on the Douglas College website.