Interview with Alain Champagne, the new President and CEO of Le Groupe Maurice
Interview with Alain Champagne
Last October, Alain Champagne became the new President and Chief Executive Officer of Le Groupe Maurice, succeeding its founder and Executive Chairman, Luc Maurice. Since assuming the office, Mr. Champagne has taken the time to visit all the residences and their teams. He also gave an open and candid interview for you to get to know him better. Enjoy!
Alain, what guides you in your daily life?
As a young professional, I was already thinking about eventually having a family – which was quite different from many of my colleagues at the time. Becoming a good family man was my ultimate goal and my general definition of success. Now that it’s become a reality, the role is my greatest source of pride.
So, no matter what I have accomplished in my professional life, I’ve done it with the intent of being a devout family man and by always considering all the parties involved; clients, employees, shareholders and others. On a day to day basis, I would say I’m most concerned with doing the right thing rather than always being right. So I regularly ask myself, “What’s the best choice to make in this situation?” I tend to confer with the people around me, because I don’t want to make arbitrary decisions. Acting as a good family man has sort of become my North Star.
Were there any defining moments in your professional journey?
Yes, there have been a few! The first one was surely obtaining my university degree; although it was not a natural path for me. I even took a step back and dropped out of CEGEP during my teenage years. I come from a humble background and a single-parent family. I’m also an only child and there were several turbulent periods, shall we say, during my youth. In short, I quickly learned to roll up my sleeves and get to work. Earning my degree represented a turning point in my life and had a pronounced impact on my self-esteem. It was the beginning of a wonderful adventure.
Additionally, there were times along the way when key decision-makers entrusted me with responsibilities that I believed were beyond my capabilities. Over time, I have learned to have faith in those who make decisions! It has enabled me to frequently push beyond my comfort zone, better preparing me for what lies ahead.
What key values can contribute to a company’s success?
In my opinion, among other things, you need long-term planning, commitment and communication. I chose long-term planning because without a destination, it’s difficult to navigate! I believe that we all need a compass, a well-defined and well-communicated alignment; it helps us to make the right decisions.
I also attach great importance to commitment. It’s a fundamental value that can be fostered, in part, through employee experience. We have to connect with the needs of our teams, listen to their opinions and acknowledge their efforts. As leaders, it’s our role to create a healthy work environment – which will inevitably be reflected in the customer experience. One key element that can be particularly helpful in this regard, is to always strive to keep things simple!
As for communication, it obviously plays a fundamental role in human relationships. All conflicts result from a breakdown in communication. You will often hear me say, “As long as we’re talking we have a shot at understanding each other.” It’s a value that I hold deeply. Clear communication sometimes requires a degree of both courage and humility, but it paves the way toward solutions much more readily. And of course, beyond mere communication, there is the spirit of collaboration. The two are intrinsically linked.
Alain, what are your sources of motivation and inspiration?
My greatest source of motivation has always been, unsurprisingly, my family. I’ve always aspired to be a good family man, as I mentioned earlier. I wanted to create an environment I didn’t experience in my own childhood, and I think I’ve generally succeeded in doing so. This year has been very difficult, as we lost our beloved Amélie, who brought so much light and joy into our lives. Our daughter was a fighter. She showed great courage in the face of adversity. She was (and still is) an immense source of inspiration for me. The courage of my wife Joanne and my son Mathieu, along with Amélie’s partner Nicolas, also gives me the strength to face the tragedy we’ve experienced. We support each other. And that inspires me greatly.
From a business perspective, I’ve always been motivated by the prospect of building teams that can deliver outstanding results, by setting ambitious goals and by recognizing and celebrating the hard work that goes into achieving them. For me, this has always been inspirational. It excites me as much as it did at the beginning of my career. Working in a team and achieving our goals is incredible, and it is part of my DNA.
What interested you in taking on the challenge at Le Groupe Maurice?
Without a doubt, it was the company’s mission that caught my attention. I was deeply moved by the sector and the human values represented by our founder, Mr. Luc Maurice. You only need to spend a few minutes with him to see his passion for the well-being of seniors. He’s made it his life’s mission!
Working for Le Groupe Maurice also interested me because my daughter, who had a big heart, intended on returning to the RPA industry after her studies. She had previously worked in this field during her teenage years, between the ages of 16 and 19. It certainly influenced my decision.
Of course, that’s not all. I also thought about the aging of the population, the social needs and the challenges facing the healthcare system. RPAs are part of the solution, and there is great potential for expansion. It also represents a big professional challenge, for sure!
What have you noticed over the past few months at Le Groupe Maurice?
That everyone shares a common trait: kindness. Everyone is so nice! I quickly realized that it takes a special kind of individual to be a part of this group. Everyone working here shows a lot of empathy. They are consummate professionals with a strong desire to do things well. I’ve noticed a very high degree of commitment within all of our teams. I feel incredibly inspired by their resilience and their determination to maintain our quality of services, despite the challenges posed by the ongoing labour shortage.
What do you think best distinguishes the company?
For me, what truly distinguishes us, are our values. There’s no doubt about it! It’s one thing to have values and display them on the wall, but it’s quite another thing to bring them to life on a daily basis.
By the way, I want to give a big shout-out to our management teams who serve as great role models for our employees. During my visits, I was able to see that everyone was willing to pitch in and not hesitate to get their hands dirty. Residences are dynamic environments where a sense of family, mutual assistance and collaboration is quickly built. In fact, Protégez-Vous magazine recently highlighted the quality of our services and employees as an element that set us apart. This difference is immediately apparent at any and all Le Groupe Maurice residences.
Anyone can build beautiful complexes, but it’s a lot more complicated to have them align with your corporate values. I think Le Groupe Maurice rises to this challenge rather admirably. And I’m very proud of that.
Tell me about your vision and priorities for Le Groupe Maurice.
There are a few areas we want to focus on. We’ve given ourselves, among other things, a mandate for continuous growth in a context that may seem more difficult due to inflation, high interest rates, construction material prices, labour costs and so on. Nonetheless, I believe we are holding our own with several projects underway or in development. In fact, we’re looking to enter the Ontario market. It’s an important project for our expansion, and it’s extremely exciting.
In the coming months, we will also be focusing on simplification. For me, it’s important that when a company experiences significant growth, that it takes a step back to assess, review and streamline its processes.
Finally, we’ll be looking more formally into innovation, to better meet the needs of our current and future clientele. This also includes the ESG component. Of course, none of this can be achieved if we also don’t focus on our human capital. So, the employee experience will remain a priority to ensure consistency in the delivery of our services to our valued residents.
Let’s wrap up this interview with some rapid-fire questions!
What always makes you smile?
My dog Jack. A little Boston Terrier with an abundance of energy. When I come home at the end of the day, I feel like a rock star!
What’s been your absolute best trip?
The cruise in Greece I took about five years ago with my wife and children. Everything was perfect! If I could freeze time, that’s the particular moment I would choose.
And your most beautiful memory?
The birth of my children. Becoming a father was the most beautiful transformation of my life! It centred me, focused me on my purpose. My children have undoubtedly enabled me to greatly evolve.
How do you define a moment of happiness?
I love family dinners. They’re privileges that I have never taken for granted. We’ve also had many memorable moments with our closest friends, who are like family to us!
What’s your favourite sport?
I really enjoy running. It helps clear my mind. Otherwise, I’m an occasional golfer. I often say that I like golf more than it likes me (laughs). But I haven’t given up on it just yet!
What person had the biggest impact on your life?
My mother. She has shown great resilience throughout her life. She’s an amazing role model.
What’s a book you would recommend?
Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom. It’s a very touching novel. I’m currently reading Surrender, the biography of Bono.
What cause is close to your heart?
There have been several over the years. Childhood cancer, Parkinson’s disease… and now with Amélie’s story, I’m particularly drawn to the cause of Lyme disease and suicide prevention.
Finally, what’s your hidden talent?
Well, I have an artistic side. As a kid, I loved drawing and doing impressions. While I considered becoming an architect, I also harboured a secret ambition to be a stand-up comedian.
Thank you, Alain, for your generosity and candour. The Le Groupe Maurice team is both delighted and fortunate to have you on board!