2022 Star Women in Grocery winner Marleen Lavoie (Q&A)
Principal Director, Financial Services & Corporate Projects
How did you get into the grocery business?
After my first maternity leave, the mutual fund company I worked for at that time was purchased and the accounting positions were terminated. While searching for a new opportunity, I wanted to work in a field that was fulfilling. I had the choice between a full-time position in a clothing company or contractual maternity leave replacement for a food retailer. Although there was no guarantee that the maternity leave replacement would secure me a full-time position after 12 months, I took the gamble to go for the contract opportunity because I strongly believed that if I worked hard enough, somehow, they would find a place for me. And they did!
What is your proudest career achievement?
One of my proudest career achievements is my current team at Metro. I am a strong believer that alone we might go faster, but together we go further. When I first started with Metro, I must admit that I was a bit intimidated considering I was quickly nominated to lead a bigger team that included a few members with many, many years of experience. I am extremely proud that I was able to gain their trust. As a team leader, I believe we are all complementary to one another and I strongly feel that focusing on everyone’s individual strengths is much more beneficial. I like to keep an honest and open channel of communication and I encourage everyone to share their ideas. I truly feel my team is engaged, open to new ideas and that together we make sure we accomplish what is required to support our business.
I must say that I am also very proud that I was able to achieve my CPA title while working full time as a controller and being a mother of three wonderful boys. This was one of the biggest challenges I’ve taken on, but a necessary one that would allow me to work up the ladder in my professional career. It also allowed me to show my boys that anything is possible if you put your heart to it! When there is a will, there is a way.
What do you like most about your job?
Although I am an accountant, my current role is really diversified. Every day is different, and I get to be involved in a variety of business case analyses to support Metro’s strategic decisions in diverse fields such as logistics, distribution, pharma, retail food banners and e-commerce to name a few, as well as for our independent owners. I am grateful to have the chance to work and collaborate with a variety of knowledgeable colleagues from different departments, which contributes to my own development and professional growth.
What is the best career advice you've received?
Always listen more than you speak. Never be afraid to reach out for help. Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that will help you grow.
What has been the biggest challenge you've faced in your career?
Myself! As a former Canadian National Team member athlete, I am a perfectionist and very demanding of myself. I have a hard time recognizing my accomplishments and I tend to easily focus on what I could have done differently. On the other hand, I tend to recognize this same behaviour in other people and will always do my best to help them see things differently, and to release some of the pressure they impose on themselves.
How do you like to spend your time when you're not working?
I must admit I am often on the run. If my sons don’t have a hockey game, I really enjoy practicing sports such as road biking in the summer or fat bike in the winter. I now have a new toy and will soon be experiencing mountain biking. I also like to walk in different areas of the cities or get an adrenaline rush by, occasionally, skydiving! I find that sports help me clear my head and fuel my body with energy.
Click here for the full list of 2022 Star Women in Grocery award winners.