Leadership Questions | “I have never deviated from my values”

This week, businesswoman Danièle Henkel, ambassador of the economic Francophonie for the Conseil du patronat du Québec and ex-dragon, answers our questions on leadership

Since 2019, you have been inviting companies to discover programs to encourage the hiring of people with disabilities. What are your findings after five years?

When we started, we were talking about more than 250,000 people with disabilities who were looking for work. Today, there are 100,000. This campaign is therefore a success, but there is still work to do. We are seeing a resurgence on the part of businesses and not just because they need workers. Many did not understand the process, did not know that there is support. Because one of the most difficult things is knowing how to integrate an employee with a disability so that they feel good and stay. Some have already suffered from prejudice in the past, so we tell them: raise your hand, expose your blockage and we will find a solution. Next, you have to make sure that other employees are comfortable. There are organizations that work with the Office for Disabled Persons of Quebec throughout the province and which have consultants. It’s free.

A study by the Business Development Bank of Canada and the Innovation Center of the University of Montreal revealed last fall a decline in entrepreneurship in the country. In the current economic context, is now the right time to start a business?

Do you remember the financial crisis of 2007-2008? It was in this economic context that I decided it was time to build a head office and leave my rented premises. So I turned to my bankers, tax specialists, accountants, economists, people who know whether it is the right time to do things or not. Everyone raised red flags saying to me: do you realize that we are entering a recession that has no bottom? Wait two years and stay rented! My partner was of the same opinion. Now, for some reason I can’t explain, I knew there would never be a good time. I had found a piece of land located at the intersection of highways, a phenomenal location, and I imagined that it was going to boom. I said, let’s build! It’s the nicest gesture I’ve made. The REM will pass here and the land has increased in value. There’s never a good time to start a business.

If we offer entrepreneurs more programs than before, why are there fewer of them?

Because we don’t dare take risks with our young people. We still have a lot of prejudices like this: she doesn’t seem serious, she doesn’t have the ability, he won’t succeed because there’s competition. But if we help them prepare the ground, because the product makes sense and has an impact, it can lead to success. Our financial system no longer corresponds to the risks that we must take to help those who want to create. Large businesses have their place, but our governments forget SMEs, the real lifeblood of Quebec, in particular the small local bakery, the hairdresser, the butcher. It’s an entire community that we support with jobs that we offer nearby, which can be self-sufficient and which has a positive impact on the environment. How dare we stifle them?

Young boys are currently interested in misogynistic discourse. Is this likely to have repercussions in the job market?

There is nothing in a society that arises like that, because once you have a hint of information, it means that the current is already deep and does not just come from a public figure. My concern is that we are in a pendulum where we have the impression that we only talk about women and female leadership. I go to schools, CEGEPs and universities, where young men tell me: “We don’t know what to do, we no longer know where we stand, you’re talking about things we don’t understand, we doesn’t capture your story. » I explain to them that if they see “feminist” movements, it is not because we want to knock them down, eliminate them and push them away, but that we want them to understand what happened. , why we talk about women’s right to achieve and why women must participate in the economy. You have to take the time to explain things to them, and women must also support each other.

What do you think is true leadership, true influence?

Often, people didn’t like my style, they judged the person I am without knowing me, they didn’t bother to understand what motivated me. Did that stop me? No. It hurts me. You can’t please everyone. So I continued to do what I was doing and reached millions of people. That’s the real influence. It’s not because I’m in a clan or in a group. It’s because I have maintained, against all odds, a vision, a way of doing things that is unique to me, and as far as I know, I have never deviated from my values.

reference: www.lapresse.ca

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