Online with Grégoire Baillargeon

Online with Grégoire Baillargeon


Grégoire Baillargeon, President, BMO Groupe financier Québec, and Vice-Chairman of the Board, BMO Capital Markets, confided to me that never, ever, in his millions and more of dreams, had he dreamed of becoming the president of a bank. About the fact that he holds such a position, he has a message for young people, to always have an ambition in life, because you never know what the future holds.

Grégoire Baillargeon is very grateful to his predecessors, including Claude Gagnon and Jacques Ménard, who paved the way for him to make a difference in the community. It is important for the president to help and guide entrepreneurs and to involve the financial sector in the fight against climate change.

He was born in Quebec and, until the age of 10, he lived in Loretteville, then in Sainte-Foy and Saint-Cyrille. Just like his mother, Louise, he is not afraid to go for it to achieve his goals.  

Your parents are career professionals. 

My father, Michel, is a doctor whose biggest fault is that he came home late, because his patients were important to him. My mother, Louise, is a full professor and associate researcher at Laval University.  

Why did you go to CEGEP in English?

The family at home was not bilingual and I wanted to open doors to another horizon. I found it important to discover different cultures, not to mention that I wanted to learn English to continue my law studies at McGill University. 

You had an English dictionary by your side at Cegep Saint-Lawrence.

YES ! The party was not part of my life in CEGEP. My focus was more on learning English and getting good grades. 

Family activities played an important role in your life. < /p>

My sister, Emilie, and I shared so many beautiful moments with our parents. We were skiing, not to mention our bike rides to discover our region. Our parents took the time to make us understand the importance of our school subjects. 

How were the conversations around the dining table?

For the first fifteen minutes, the topics touched on medicine and research. Afterwards, my sister and I would tell our parents that we wanted to discuss something else.

Discussing medicine, did that help you make a choice of career ?

Without a doubt, our discussions about medicine led me to the business world.

With a bit of humor, you told me that your parents had set the bar high.

And how! Think about it, my father is a doctor and my mother is a full professor and associate researcher at the University of Laval. However, I never felt any pressure from my parents about my studies.

Were you a good student?

In primary school, it was very difficult. Suddenly, there was a breakthrough in secondary 3, at Saint-Charles Garnier College, because I became a young entrepreneur.

You founded your business.

With a group of friends, we formed a car storage bag company. At the end of the year, we handed out dividends of a few dollars to our investors.  

You played a lot of badminton.

< p>In high school, I did gymnastics, but above all I had so many great moments at the Provincial Badminton Championships. 

Your parents are your mentors. 

For my father, wisdom, listening, collaboration and hard work were paramount. My career planning in the business world, I learned it from my mother, who is an exceptional woman of the head who was never afraid to go for it. Maman is one of the first female full professors at the University of Laval. Back then, a woman had to fight to take her well-deserved place.  

You were a street vendor.

Every morning, it took me an hour and a half to deliver the newspapers to my neighborhood. 

You also worked for the Nordiques.

I was finishing high school when the Nordiques hired me during the summer in their telemarketing sector, to sell season tickets. That's when I started dealing with CEOs and CEOs.

You also had a business in college.

My first car was a used Nissan pick‐up because I needed it to get around. help run my College Pro franchise of fifteen employees. We did housework such as painting, cutting grass and washing windows.

Where did you live in Montreal?

In my first year of university, I lived on rue Côte-des-Neiges, near Sherbrooke. Subsequently, with roommates we lived on the Plateau Mont-Royal. 

Once in Montreal, how were your cooking skills?

Stupid, and it hasn't changed today, just like working with a hammer.

The last ice storm brought back memories for you. 

In 1998, we experienced an ice storm. Luckily we had no shortage of electricity at home, because several members of my faculty were able to come and live in our residence.

Montreal opened the door to multiculturalism for you.

When I arrived in Montreal, I was dazzled by the richness of culture and multiculturalism. At university, I became friends with Lebanese, Greeks and Italians which allowed me to learn about their different cultures.  

What is the biggest challenge for a bank president?

I believe that sustainable finance is at the heart of our responsibilities of what we must do as a society.  

< p>In closing, humility is very important to you.

My parents consider themselves blessed to be able to live such a quality of life. I will never forget the life lesson my parents instilled in me: mom and dad taught me to be humble in life. 

Online with Grégoire Baillargeon