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.”
- 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. 😉