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.”

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08 Mar 2018

Lead Senior Manager – Insolvency (commercial)
Recovery & Reorganization Group
Montréal Office

CLEARR value: INTEGRITY

 

“So far, my career path as been somewhat personalized and has been shaped by opportunities that presented themselves along the way here in the firm.”

 

Geneviève was quick to tell us, “I’m a very reserved person who doesn’t go out of her way to be in the spotlight. I don’t have any great professional accomplishments to share.” She agreed to the interview when we explained that we just wanted to present her professional experience through the values she considers important.

Geneviève was born in île d’Orléans. “While I was still in high school, I was working 20-30 hours a week. I couldn’t wait to be free, to make my own choices. I did well in school. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do later, but I knew what I didn’t want to do as a result of my part-time jobs. I eliminated health and pure and applied sciences, and decided that administration could pave the way for several career choices.”

She chose accounting and began her training in the Québec City office in 2000, staying on after obtaining her title. “Working in assurance taught me a lot. I especially enjoyed carrying out assignments for SMEs, where I was able to work in areas beyond audit, such as tax. It’s a great training ground.”

In 2002, one of Geneviève’s colleagues transferred to the Insolvency group and at the colleague’s urging, she made the move as well in 2003. “It suited me perfectly to discover a new field while staying with the same firm. I couldn’t see myself progressing any longer in audit.”

“I’ve only every worked at RCGT since finishing my studies, something I’m very proud of,” Geneviève adds.

Shortly after joining the Insolvency group, she was given the opportunity to start training to be a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. “I felt it was a good time to start this demanding program, which took three years at the time. You have to pass several exams to obtain the licence, including an oral exam before a jury.”

Reconciling work and family at the forefront

When discussing her lifestyle, Geneviève explains, “I’m not the type of person who plans far in advance. Actually, I’d find it kind of boring to know exactly where I’m headed. So far, my career path as been somewhat personalized and has been shaped by opportunities that presented themselves along the way here in the firm.”

She goes on to say, “That’s how I am in my personal life as well. When I was 30, I had no plans to start a family. Then, at 31, I had my first child and, six years later, there I was, with three.”

Geneviève has been working in the Reorganization & Recovery Group in the Montréal office for 15 years. “I moved to Montréal to be with the person who would eventually become my husband and the father of my children. Working a four-day week was the best option to balance work and family life. I want to develop professionally, but will not sacrifice my family life. At one point, I had to set matters straight and reaffirm that priority.”

Geneviève goes on to say, “For the past year, my role within the team has changed. Now, I spend more time supervising and supporting new staff. I serve as the intermediary between the team and partners. This structure boosts consistency and efficiency, making it easier to retain staff over the long term, one of our group’s priorities.”

How would she describe her leadership style in one word? “Simplicity. I prefer a relaxed setting, I have no interest in a formal hierarchy. Everybody gets the same attention. My door is always open, it’s a whirlwind in my office. My team members would likely tell you I’m very available and uncomplicated.”