Growing underground

Just when we thought our Campus could not get any better, we stand corrected! Incorporating synergy into everything we do and in our people’s everyday life is key to supporting our successful growth! Synergy is a buzzword that we hear a lot at GDI. But what is it? What does it do for us? In short, synergy happens when forces combine to create greater productivity. To create this combined force, we converted our two existing buildings into a campus and connected them with an underground tunnel! Yes, you read that right—a tunnel!

Since its inauguration, not only has it significantly improved the synergy of the entire Head Office, but it has also created a more collaborative and inspiring working space where we are now able to easily walk over to the other building and work together.

It is Ciro Mascarenhas Falluh, our Senior Director, Construction & Property Maintenance, who oversaw every step of this cool project. Read what Ciro has to say about it here!

Climbing the ladder with Catherine

Meet Catherine Brisebois. After only three years with Groupe Dynamite, she recently took on the role of Vice President, Strategy and Business Transformation. Catherine’s mandate is to create a plan that will enable the company to reach its objectives while transforming the way the business operates in support of its vision. She might be our youngest executive, but after sitting down with Catherine, we found out that her senior title is matched with a wealth of wisdom.

Your career won’t necessarily follow a straight line

Catherine’s first piece of advice is to keep an open mind when it comes to your career path: “Many people—especially recent graduates—are focused on reaching their ultimate destination (a.k.a. getting their dream job), but you shouldn’t forget to enjoy the journey of building the experience needed to get there.”

Even though Catherine knew an engineering career wasn’t for her, she completed her degree in Industrial Engineering because she realized the program’s analytical and problem-solving disciplines would be an asset.

Find your element

After having worked in management consulting, Catherine went to the Harvard Business School to complete her MBA where she had the chance to explore industries that would best suit her career aspirations. This is where Catherine’s ideal choice of industry became clear; fast-paced retail was for her.

At Groupe Dynamite, Catherine found she was in her element. Her ability to influence the organization and think at high and detailed levels allowed her to complete multiple cross-functional projects while gaining a deeper understanding of business operations. “If you have the opportunity to work on a cross-functional project, take it! Having a 360° perspective on the business is incredibly valuable for an employee’s growth and development. It’ll also fill your career toolbox with very useful skills,” Catherine urges.

Lead by inspiration

According to Catherine, the most important quality in a leader is the ability to inspire and rally people towards a common vision. As you grow in your career, success won’t come from your individual contribution, but rather from the combined efforts of the entire team: “When you lead by inspiration, it increases your ability ten-fold to “get s**t done”—Dynamite’s motto in 2017! Because it’s not just about you, it’s about the army getting s**t done, getting the right s**t done.”

 

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

  • What is your strongest asset as a leader?

“The ability to influence. My professional experience—before and during my time at Dynamite—has taught me how to work with and influence people from different backgrounds and at different levels of seniority. There is no one-size-fits-all approach—adaptability is key!”

  • What is your biggest challenge in your role?

“Prioritizing and aligning. As a growing business in a changing competitive landscape, we have so many ideas and aspirations; it can be challenging at times to decide where to focus our efforts and resources.”

  • What is your proudest career moment?

“Seeing people who have worked under my guidance get promoted. I get very invested in the success of my teams and am energized by their success. I also strongly believe that our future success as a business will depend on our ability to grow and develop our talent.”

  • What have you learned from working with millennials?

“When you become more experienced, you tend to think too much or let previous patterns drive the way you think, which can hinder your ability to innovate. Millennials aren’t biased by their past experiences; they have a fresh perspective that can be very inspiring and helpful to crack difficult business problems. They also refuse to accept status quo and believe in making the world a better place, one step at a time.”

  • As the youngest Vice President, what do you think you bring to the Executive Team?

“Because I’ve worked on so many corporate projects in the company, I have a cross-functional perspective on current and future strategies, so I have the ability to map out the steps to reaching our big goals.”

Catherine is very ambitious about Groupe Dynamite’s future and believes we can successfully compete with the biggest global players. Understanding our customer inside and out—before she knows her own needs!—will be the key to our success. We can’t wait to see what Catherine has in store for us—no pun intended. 😉

CLIMBING THE LADDER WITH MELISSA

Strong-willed and passionate, Melissa Hughes likes new challenges. This attitude has allowed her to work her way up through the company since she first started working at Groupe Dynamite 12 years ago.

When Melissa was first introduced to the retail industry at age 14, she was more interested in sports than shoes, but has since discovered a strong fondness for fashion. After setting foot in a Garage store for the first time, she was deeply impressed with the level of enthusiasm and energy shown by the team, and she knew instantly that this was the work environment she was looking for.

Since 2004, she has quickly moved from the ground up by fulfilling multiple roles at the location where she was initially hired. She later took on more responsibilities when she became a Manager. Melissa demonstrated versatile skills as she managed to support and assist stores in need before ensuring the training of new Store Managers and District Sales Supervisors in her territory. After being with the company for 7 years, she was ready for new challenges in her young professional career and became a District Sales Supervisor. Melissa has received many awards for the quality of her work throughout the years. She currently occupies a very strategic position within the company as a Sales Director.

MOTO

 “When you’re through changing, you’re through.”

5 KEY ELEMENTS TO CLIMBING THE LADDER

  • Try new things. Don’t be scared to make mistakes!
  • Be ambitious and set your goal.
  • Embrace the change and learn from it.
  • Empower others around you.
  • Always push the bar (don’t stop at “good”, reach for “great”).

TO PURSUE A CAREER IN FASHION

Find a company that shares your personal values, because if you don’t connect with the company, you’re not going to be able to create a lasting relationship. It’s key!

MY YEARS OF EXPERIENCE HAVE TAUGHT ME…

To believe in others’ potential! Years ago, someone (Melanie Jay, not to name names…) put her faith in me and I owe her for taking that chance on me. She has pushed me and motivated me to always take that next step. I hope to one day be that same person for somebody else.

FUTURE GOALS

Continue to grow people forward and grow the business through our core competencies. Provide guidance and share my knowledge with employees to help them understand where the company is coming from and where it’s going.

IN NUMBERS…

Melissa is overlooking:

  • 50 stores
  • 4 districts
  • 4 Supervisors
  • 3 Head Merchandisers

 

 

 

 

 

WELCOME TO CALI, GARAGE!

Groupe Dynamite continues to aim higher. Since starting our ascent in the United States in 2007, our growth persists and we now count a total of 80 stores for both Garage and Dynamite brands. We are proud to open our first Garage store in the most populous state: California!

With an economy larger than most small countries, California provides an incredible opportunity for growth and expansion. It’s the place to be! Our first California store is located in Westfield Valley Fair, one of California’s most sought-after locations where retailers typically wait years to get in. In the upcoming months, we will be opening stores in three more locations in the Golden State: Westfield Topanga, Irvine Spectrum Center and Stoneridge Shopping Center. This shows that California has a strong appetite for Garage.

Entering the California market means we are now playing in the big leagues. “Big retail brands have their best stores on both coasts. It made sense that our next big opportunity was going to be on the West Coast,” explained Lucy Checksfield, Sr. Director Real Estate. At Groupe Dynamite, we have done our homework and strongly believe that now is the right time for our company to take on this new challenge.

Team_Garage_Opening_California

The expansion in numbers:

  • Our store opening in Westfield Valley Fair marks our 75th Garage store in the United States.
  • 86 new employees will be hired this year to fill these new openings in California.

To sustain the opening of our new store in California, were shipped from the Montreal Distribution Center to California:

  • 390 cartons
  • 3,809 bags
  • 6,500 hangers
  • 120 mannequins
  • 9,013 pieces of clothing

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