To mark International Women’s Day, we spoke with Chantal Soucy, Joint President of Soucy Enterprises. We discuss what this day means for her.
One of the first things we notice when we enter her office is that she’s wearing lace-up shoes.
“I’ve made wearing sneakers in the workplace acceptable. In life, the important thing is to be relevant. It doesn’t matter what kind of footwear you choose.”
We already know it’s going to be a fascinating interview!
Being a woman in a male-dominated industry
Ms. Soucy has been working for Soucy since she was a teen and has witnessed just how much the industry has evolved. In the early days, nearly all her colleagues were men from heavy industries with traditional mindsets. Women were few and far between in the company, making it hard for them to carve out a space for themselves and share their ideas.
Our joint president has observed the progress that has been made over the years. "[Today], I see young women sharing their opinion. It reassures me and I admire them!” Ms. Soucy genuinely believes that teams that include women make better decisions and improve their reflection processes. She also deems gender equality to be important but to achieve this goal, we sometimes need to make space for women and be aware of each person’s unique circumstances. Including in manufacturing plants.
When you think of International Women's Day, what comes to mind?
“I’m very optimistic! I think the younger generations are extraordinary!” says Ms. Soucy, a twinkle in her eye.
She is confident that change can come if we simply listen to these younger generations and adjust our attitudes. According to Ms. Soucy, the way work is envisioned is shifting, with traditional work models losing relevance. With this in mind, one of her top priorities is to improve employees’ work-life balance. “We’ve got good people who are brimming with talent. We need to make sure they can reach their full potential. That’s my mission.”
What has motivated you to become involved in causes that support women? For example, why have you chosen to support Partance?
“There simply aren’t enough women [in the workplace]. Even at Soucy!” she says without hesitation.
Ms. Soucy observes that in the past, women who stayed away from the workforce were mostly stay-at-home moms. Today, the unemployment rate is lower. That means that many of the unemployed women who reach out to Partance (an organization whose mission is to develop the employability of women) are looking for support to overcome difficult situations.
Motivated by a desire to improve conditions for women in the workplace, Ms. Soucy was named the honorary president of Partance’s annual fundraising campaign in January 2023. As someone who has been in mostly male-dominated work environments, she understands the challenges women face and believes in the organization’s mission. In fact, Soucy has pledged to donate $15,000 per year for five years to Partance.
Ms. Soucy also wants to encourage women to go into STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, math), which remain heavily male dominated. She believes we should change how we view these disciplines and do our utmost to break down barriers, often cultural ones.
Does the culture at Soucy promote a work environment where women can naturally access decision-making positions?
Even though at Soucy more and more executives are women, we still have a way to go according to Ms. Soucy. In light of the current challenges associated with the labour market, the global market, and the overall economic context, she argues we need to change the way we view these positions and how to develop them. She would like to put greater emphasis on the talent of candidates and then create teams based on every member’s strengths.
With a role model such as Chantal Soucy at the helm, we believe Soucy Enterprises is on the right path and has made the right decision to leverage what every individual, man or women, brings to the company.