08 Mar 2018

Senior Manager – Management Consulting
Sherbrooke office

CLEARR value embodied: EXCELLENCE

 

“Client satisfaction is my greatest source of motivation. I’m very proud when I realize that a client considers our fees an investment rather than an expense.”

 

From a young age, Christiane learned the value of work. She was just 9 years old and she was already helping out in her father’s little butcher shop in Grand-Mère, Mauricie.

“I would stock cans on the shelves, then, over the years, I had more responsibility. I especially liked serving clients, which forced me to overcome my shyness. At 16, I worked weekends in a pharmacy to pay for my school supplies and clothes. I did well at school because I put in the time and work needed. It’s in my DNA to work hard; I’ve never doubted it.”

With her diploma of vocational studies in hand, Christiane worked some ten years in the banking sector, then as a representative for a multinational. In her thirties, she decided to leave the work force to complete a Bachelor of Accounting at the Université de Sherbrooke which she then followed up with a Master’s. “I worked hard. On November 25, 1999, when I learned that I had passed the UFE, it was the happiest day of my life,” she said.

When she thinks back about her life, she becomes a little somber and emotional. “There were challenges early on in my journey and I had little support in facing them. When I was 19, my father took his own life and it’s only recently that I’ve made peace with that painful chapter. I had to rely on myself to find the strength to push my limits and find my own way in life.”

Christiane continues, “I think that my humble beginnings and the challenges I had to overcome to get where I wanted to have reinforced my openness to others. I’m always very touched when someone says that I inspired them to do something they wanted when they thought they couldn’t.”

This Senior Manager makes it a point to encourage and share her knowledge with her team members. She laughs, “But sometimes, it backfires. Two years ago, one of the juniors I was training told me he was leaving to work in France. He said it was because I had taught him to trust in himself that he had overcome his fear of the unknown.”

Passion, a driving force to the top

Christiane has been working for Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton since 2010. Her interest in being in contact with clients, which she discovered in her youth, has not waned. “This is what drives me every day. Client satisfaction is my greatest source of motivation. I’m very proud when I realize that a client considers our fees an investment rather than an expense.”

She especially likes the variety of the assignments in management consulting. “I like saying that my speciality is diversity! It’s an asset in consulting, to be able to help our clients from a wide range of fields and backgrounds. But I don’t think that I’m a know-it-all: if there’s something I don’t know in a file, I do what’s necessary to get it. Regardless of its scope, I carry out every assignment as if it were my own business.”

She says that she applies the same intensity in everything that she does. “Whether it’s professional activities or volunteering, or even cooking or planning a trip: everything I do, I do with passion!”

In 2015, she took part in a trip organized by one of her colleagues: climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, which raised funds for special projects for youths in Lac-Mégantic. “Our 14-person group raised $42,000. I had prepared myself intensely. In 6 months, I had walked 450 km. The training had been harder than planned because a sprained ankle forced me to stop training for two weeks, but I felt that the adventure was worth it. It pushed me to go beyond my limits on many levels.”

Does this energetic woman have other dreams in mind? Christiane says, “I would love to write a book. Not necessarily to have it published, but for myself, to relive momentous chapters of my life.”

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08 Mar 2018

Senior Manager – Management Consulting
Dolbeau-Mistassini office

CLEARR value embodied: COLLABORATION

 

“It’s easy to take credit when you’re managing a project, but we shouldn’t forget that success is the result of teamwork.”

 

Isabelle hails from Saint-Félicien in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. At 21 years of age, she already had her Bachelor of social work from the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi.

“I then worked for community organizations and foundations. Before I knew it, I was involved in management and I learned that I was good at it. Life happens for a reason; yes, human relations mean a great deal to me, but I’m not so sure I would have liked working in the field per se as a social worker. I then completed a Bachelor of Business Administration. I help people now working as a manager and consultant.”

Isabelle has been with Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton for less than a year now and mentions how surprised she was by the similarities between working in the community and her work now as a consultant with private entities and various organizations. “I thought it would be very different. Though the clients are not the same, they have many things in common. Problem-solving and listening are skills needed in any human resource assignment, regardless of the field of activity.”

Collaboration and mutual help are values that mean a lot to Isabelle. “It’s easy to take credit when you’re managing a project, but we shouldn’t forget that success is the result of teamwork. I firmly believe in the power of pooling the skills of each person. I think humility is a nice quality that is sometimes mistaken for a lack of confidence.”

Isabelle continues, “What counts for me in my professional life is to have a free hand in infusing my vision. This is why I really appreciate the support and trust I get from Éric Dufour, our partner in charge of consulting and the Vice-President for our region. He gives me the green light to implement what I believe in. I think that good managers know how to make those around them grow.”

Which comment pleases Isabelle the most? “It makes me happy when a client says that we made a huge difference for them and their organization, and that we helped them discover new possibilities.”

Recognizing how precious Life is

In her early twenties, Isabelle lost her father, and then eight years later, her 36-year-old sister passed away. “Losing two loved ones so early in life marks you forever. I also witnessed my mother’s grieving. She’s had a hard life—she lost both her parents at 16 and was widowed twice, but the loss of one of her four daughters was too much to bear. She was never the same again. Happiness didn’t come to her as easily. I learned from an early age that life is fragile and therefore precious.”

Isabelle talks with great admiration about her mother, who died about a year ago. “She was living proof that you can have a career and still be a good mother. She worked as a nurse and was devoted to her family. She was my role model when I had my son.”

When asked about her pastimes, Isabelle says, “My spouse and I are both very independent people. We spend a lot of time together, as a family, and we especially like going to our cabin in the woods, but we also do some solo activities. I like going out with a friend for a cultural activity or going skiing for the weekend with my son, Charles-Étienne. He and I always go on vacation one week in the summer. It’s like a mother-son ritual that we do every year.”

To sum up her first ten months at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, Isabelle says, “It was an important step in my professional career and there were some stressful times! My son is 14 now and I feel that I can invest more of myself in my career. I feel more at ease in my new duties and I hope to acquire more responsibility with time.”

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08 Mar 2018

Senior Manager – Tax
Montréal office

CLEARR value embodied: RESPONSIBILITY

 

“SMEs create jobs in Quebec. I’ll never stop being impressed when I visit a factory. I find that Quebecers are bold when it comes to business!”

 

After completing a Bachelor of Business Administration, Mireille worked for several years for the Service d’Aide aux Jeunes Entrepreneurs (SAJE), an organization that supports start-up businesses. “I was helping people start their businesses. I greatly admire those with entrepreneurial spirit and I have immense respect for their passion and willingness to take risks.”

Mireille then obtained a Master of Economics while teaching adult education, once again, to entrepreneurs. She then worked for a large international consulting firm for 12 years. She had completed various assignments across Canada and in different European cities when, in 2008, she was offered a chance to live in Paris for two years.

 

“I was very excited about this offer. Everything was organized and I was ready to leave when I learned that my father had only three months to live. Without hesitation, I abandoned my plans for Paris. There was no doubt in my mind that my place was by my father’s side here in Montréal. I took a leave of absence to be completely available, free of the hassles of professional life, to enjoy what time was left with him. We talked a lot and I read to him often. Even in quiet times, we were close. We shared many loving moments together. In our busy lives focused on productivity, we often forget to slow down and appreciate the times when we can contemplate and share to find the strength we never knew we had.”

When Mireille arrived at RCGT in 2009, the young economist was thrilled at the opportunity to have SMEs as her clients. “SMEs create jobs in Quebec. I’ll never stop being impressed when I visit a factory. I find that Quebecers are bold when it comes to business! One of the reasons I love my job is that allows me to interact with a wide diversity of businesses because we have clients in so many sectors.”

Human ties above all else

Mireille is very enthusiastic when she talks about the ties she has with her team.

“We specialize in transfer pricing consulting services for cross-border transactions between affiliates. You don’t learn that stuff in school. Succession training is therefore very important. I love sharing my expertise with young people, I find them remarkable, open, friendly and united. Working with younger colleagues is enriching for me: they have a newer, more original vision.”

“I really enjoy working with my colleagues. Furthermore, we share the same values. For example, when I have to take care of my mother who’s getting on in years, they always ask how she is doing and are very supportive given my schedule constraints.”

Mireille believes that in addition to individual responsibilities, the issue of vulnerable elders deserves more thought. “The difficulties of reconciling work and family life aren’t only issues for people with young children; it also affects family caregivers. As a society facing an aging population, we’re going to have to ask ourselves what can be done to support people who are active in the work force and care for their less autonomous parents.”

What would Mireille like to accomplish when she has more free time? “I’d like to travel more, especially in places where I can dive and sail because I love water sports. For about two years now, I’ve taken an interest in primates, more specifically in orangutans, because their habitat is seriously threatened by palm oil production. On the island of Sumatra, in Indonesia, there’s a national park that serves as a huge sanctuary where orangutans can live without fear of poachers. I would like to visit that sanctuary,” she says with some excitement in her voice.

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08 Mar 2018

Manager – Assurance
Chandler office

CLEARR value embodied: LEADERSHIP

 

“I never thought of myself as a leader, but afterwards, people around me said they saw it right from the start. This training changed the way I saw myself.”

 

Caroline’s father wanted his only daughter to go to university. “He loved being a mechanic, but he regretted not having had the chance to continue his schooling. I was Daddy’s girl and I followed him everywhere. When I asked him how to do an oil change for example, he would say No. He didn’t want me learning about car mechanics; he was afraid that I would take an interest and miss out on a profession with more to offer.”

In September 2004, when she was 19 years old, Caroline left her parents’ home in Grande-Rivière, Gaspé, to live in an apartment in Rimouski and begin her Bachelor of Accounting at UQAR. “Three weeks after the start of the semester, the unthinkable happened: my cousin came to tell me that my father had died in an ATV accident while on a hunting trip. My whole world was turned upside down.”

Caroline had to deal with this terrible loss while being there for her mother, who was deaf from birth and who had depended on her husband for several aspects of daily life. “She asked me to put my studies on hold to come back home and live with her. I understood her of course, but I was torn between being by her side or continuing my studies, especially since it had been something really important in my father’s eyes. If I gave them up, it would have been like disappointing him.”

“So I contacted each of my professors to say that I would study on my own at home and would only come in to the university for exams. They agreed. However, one said that he did not see how I would succeed, teaching myself in this way. But lo and behold, I got an A+ in his subject!”

Caroline joined the Chandler office team in 2009, after having worked for about two years in Rimouski. “I was very happy to come back to Grande-Rivière and to be able to work only 15 minutes from there. I bought our family home and my husband and I renovated it so that my mother could safely live with us, in her own apartment in the basement. Then the following year was one of happy news: I received my CPA designation and I found out that I was pregnant with twins.”

Unknown leadership

Caroline explains, “My 12 colleagues and I make up one large family. Some have been here for 35, 40 years! We share in each other’s joys and when someone is going through a difficult time, we are all saddened but united.”

As team leader, work ambiance is very important to her. “We take our work seriously, while having fun. The juniors who leave this office are sad to go! Work shouldn’t be a burden. I do all that I can so that my team enjoys every day. People often tell me that I’m always smiling.”

In 2016, Caroline had a revelation whilst participating in a training session in Québec City. “The evaluations, as well as the instructor’s comments, made me aware of my leadership style, which is not conventional or hierarchical. I never thought of myself as a leader, but afterwards, people around me said they saw it right from the start. This training changed the way I saw myself and had a positive impact on my career as a potential successor for the Chandler office leadership.”

Caroline adds with her light laughter, “Here, I can count on Richard Chrétien, our partner, to encourage me to take on new challenges. It’s because of him that I continue to grow. I close my eyes, take a deep breath and charge!”

Does Caroline have a special project or dream that she would like to make happen? “For now, I’ve got all I want, and above all else, I feel so privileged to be surrounded by such wonderful people, at work and in my family. I want to continue fully enjoying life and seizing all opportunities that come my way.”