Co-Founder & President
Maison Le Grand
How did you get into the grocery/CPG business?
I love food! While in university, I started taking food classes at night and then I met my partner in life, Bernard, who had a health food company that was before its time. He was healing people with food over 30 years ago and I was interested in making his mission-driven business a commercial success. Plant-based is a new concept—when we started 30 years ago, the term plant-based or even vegan did not exist. To top it off, vegetarian products had the reputation of being bland. Therefore, at the time we described our products as gourmet. But what was most important to us—and remains true today—is creating products that are made fresh every week, while never compromising on taste and clean label. This has been true of every product we’ve ever brought on the market, whether we label it as gourmet, vegan or plant-based.
What are your career highlights/greatest achievements?
My biggest career highlights are building a company and product lines that stand the test of time, building our new factory in 2013 that allowed us to expand in the plant-dairy category and bring all these new amazing products to market, and building an amazing team that I’m excited to work with every day. However, I would say our greatest achievement is the fact we stood our ground and never sold out. At LeGrand, we truly believe that food heals and eating real food is essential to fuel your journey (you should understand what every ingredient is on your food labels)! Therefore, it’s extremely important to us that our products reflect that.
What is your proudest moment?
I’m most proud of the fact Bernard and I have never given up regardless of all the obstacles.
What is the biggest challenge you faced in your career?
Going against the grain every step of the way. Finally our time has come, but we have always been ahead of the health curve and eating well! Consumers are now coming to wellness, healthy living and a plant-based lifestyle in droves, but that wasn’t always the case. It has taken time and a lot of patience to convince buyers and retailers that our superior products are a must for their stores and should be displayed front and centre. Retailers now recognize that it’s essential to get on the bandwagon so it’s a huge relief to no longer feel so marginal.
What do you like most about your job?
I love building the business and creating something from nothing. Visualizing projects that don’t exist and working with our team to get them excited about the strategy.
What is your leadership style/philosophy?
My last name is Bossy so what can I say! I’m intense and have tons of energy (I don’t even drink any caffeine). I show up every day with my A game and expect the same from those around me. I love and recognize excellence. I have a deep appreciation for people who have character, who are hard working, curious and open. Once I’m reassured the job is being done well my goal is to be minimally involved, except for being kept up to date on essential matters through a communication and meeting structure we follow religiously.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Have a higher purpose in whatever you do in life! Life is grand and we can all make a difference. Be curious, don’t ever take anything at face value and question the hell out of what we have been led to believe is health. We either fuel our journey or we undermine it with the food choices we make on a daily basis. You have the power of choice.
Click here for the full list of 2021 Star Women in Grocery award winners.