Just a short time ago, I skimmed across a news story that really should have caught my attention much more than it did. In hindsight, I recall having (digitally) flipped right past it and onto the next one. Lucky for me, the story came back again, featured this time in a popular Canadian magazine. I made sure to read it this time around, and I’m sure glad I did!
Before reading her incredible story, I must admit that I had no idea who Viola Desmond was and why her effigy would soon appear on the next series of Canadian ten-dollar bank notes. Desmond was a successful black businesswoman who courageously refused to leave a white’s-only area of a Nova Scotia movie theater in 1946. Her contribution to the rise of the civil rights movement has made Desmond a true Canadian icon.
It’s pretty incredible how much has changed in such a fairly short period of time. Her inspiring story will remain ever-etched in my memory.
When I first arrived at Boiron Canada’s headquarters in 2015 in my new role as CEO, I was impressed by the vast number of women that worked here — they accounted for some 75% of our workforce.
But as we all know, simply meeting expectations is not enough to set yourself apart in the business world — especially for women. Even when they work hard and play by the rules, women are sometimes overlooked for choice assignments or important promotions. It was thus essential for me to help speed up the advancement of women into senior management positions at Boiron Canada while also making sure that their efforts were being rewarded in their current positions.
That’s why several exceptional women were promoted into leading, managerial roles in such a short time — positions they had long deserved. And since “Family first” is not just an empty, catchy slogan for me or for the Boiron group, we made sure to continue to offer them flexible schedules to facilitate their work-life balance. Fundamentally, we believe that if our employees are happy at home, they will in turn be happy at work.
And so, I would like to take a moment to salute four astounding Women with a capital W here at Boiron Canada.
Marie-Laure Protière, our Business Development Manager, who is synonymous with Boiron Canada! She has been with the company from the very start in 1988 and she has been an example of passion and dedication ever since. Her family consists of her two incredible daughters and of Boiron Canada – and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Julie McMillan, our Marketing Director, who tirelessly looks after all of our endless creative needs and communication demands despite having a busy personal life with three children under the age of 6. Lucie Clément, our CFO and human resource asset, whose calm, rigour and cheerfulness are sorely relied upon. Last but not least there’s Julie Boudry, young mother of 2 lovely kids, who boldly moved from France and recently became our Quebec Regional Sales Manager due to her natural leadership skills and professionalism.
Four very different women; Four very different roles; One common goal:
To provide Canadian families with reliable, high-quality homeopathic medicines.
This reflection on women and their place in the workforce often made me think of my own Mother, too. She was raised in a small East-African village in Eritrea, a war-torn and unspeakably poor country. Years later, she courageously moved to Southern France where, fraught with the great difficulties of raising a child on her own, my mother worked several humble jobs in order to give me a better future and an education.
So on that note, here’s to all the strong, remarkable women everywhere!
President CEO Boiron Canada