Interview with Stéphane Giasson, Puribec General Manager
By Catherine Nadeau
One of Puribec’s great strengths is the mutual support and collaboration between all colleagues, regardless of department. Employees are recognized and know that the employer is there for them when they need it, even in their personal lives. As Puribec is a bit of a family affair, I wanted to talk to Stéphane Giasson, one of the sons of the company’s founder, the late Denis Giasson, to find out a little about his values, his vision and his daily routine.
Thank you for agreeing to meet me on such short notice! I’ll try to be brief! Shall we begin?
Thanks to you! No problem, yes, I’m ready!
What drew you to Puribec?
Towards the end of elementary school, I started working there every summer. I quickly realized that I wanted to fulfill my potential and be active from an early age. Eventually, in 1988, I became a shareholder.
What’s your role in the team?
I’m a mobilizer, a bit of a mentor, a unifier. I like to rally the troops behind a common project, with good communication and approach. For me, it’s important to try to work at the same level as everyone else. I’m not the kind of general manager who imposes.
What are your days like?
Everything to do with organizational development, resources, human resources. Take daily action to improve retention. Institutional and commercial development. Supporting the company’s vision is part of my daily routine.
How did you cope with the last 2 years of the pandemic?
I lived them pro-actively. I think Puribec made the right decisions from Day 1. It was an opportunity to do things differently. We could have taken it negatively and fought the situation, but instead we adapted to the rules. Even if we were in the “essential trade” category, were we going to put our team at risk or not? We had to concentrate on the most essential, most urgent cases. Set priorities. Of course I was worried, but together we got through it.
After 34 years as a shareholder, what still motivates you to get up every morning and go to the office?
The team and its evolution, versus what we’ve managed to build. To see people who have been here for 20, 30, 40 years and also to see the quality of the new generation. The synergy between all these people motivates me! It makes me want to go further. It’s a great gift to see.
In 5 years’ time, do you still see yourself as involved in Puribec?
Yes, as much involved, but perhaps by choice. In the sense that the company operates with even greater autonomy, so that I can take on other projects. On a day-to-day basis, things are already going very well, but the organization no longer needs me.
You’re an entrepreneurial mentor. How did it happen?
Perhaps 25 years ago, I joined a regional club of the Groupement des chefs d’entreprise du Québec. Entrepreneurs meet to discuss their challenges. At the time, there were others who wanted their children to take over their businesses. I listened and received their advice and knowledge. Today, this sharing has served me well and given me a taste for giving to others. I was involved for ten years as an administrator on the board of the Drummondville club. I now continue to mentor on an occasional basis.
Puribec is very much involved in the community, through benefit events for example. Can you tell us a little about it?
We do it on a regular basis. For example, a Golf Santé day has just been held to benefit the Fondation du Centre hospitalier régional de Rimouski. We also provide financial support to the Ligue de baseball Puribec du Bas-Saint-Laurent and Baseball Québec. Among other things, we like to encourage the development of youth sports. When it comes to sport and health, it’s in line with our values.
Finally, outside of work, what are you passionate about?
I love never stopping! Whether professional or personal, always have a project on the go. I find it hard to just do nothing. Whether it’s tinkering, traveling, snowmobiling in winter or boating in summer. I’m an adventurer with a passion for motor sports, driving and racing with friends.
Thank you so much for your time; it was a pleasure!
Thanks to you, have a good weekend and don’t hesitate to contact me if there’s anything!
One to watch:
To mark its 45th anniversary, Puribec has begun work to relocate its head office and Rimouski branch to the industrial district, for early 2023.
“The projects just keep on coming!”
– Stéphane Giasson