Sylvain Lambert, general manager of SEVÄ: made for Le Groupe Maurice
A year ago, the new general manager of the SEVÄ retirement home in Candiac brought with him a sense of vitality and new ideas. Although nothing seemed to predispose Sylvain Lambert to work in the field of senior residences, fate decided otherwise.
Mr. Lambert, tell us about your career path.
Sylvain Lambert: My background is rather atypical. I have a degree in electrical engineering and I worked at Videotron for many years, starting out as a technician, then climbing the ladder to management positions. After that, I worked for PepsiCo Canada and more recently in the natural gas industry as an operations executive.
What prompted you to switch industries?
Sylvain Lambert: I was very involved in the community. For example, I was a volunteer in an organization offering services to people with autism spectrum disorders and I’m the founding president of the largest amateur soccer club in Quebec, the Roussillon club, which has 5,000 young members. I have always been known as an innovative manager, close to and attentive to his colleagues. With the health crisis and all the upheavals it caused, I realized I wanted to work with people and be able to give back to the next generation.
It’s important to do what you love in life, the pandemic reminded us of that! So I decided to switch fields and applied when the position of general manager opened up at SEVÄ. I went through the hiring process and got the job in the end. My wife, who is a nurse, was very supportive of this endeavour. She reminded me how much I love human and social contact, being of service and acting as a coach. This job was made for me!
Why did you choose Le Groupe Maurice to make this career change?
Sylvain Lambert: A few years ago, my mother, now sadly deceased, lived in a Le Groupe Maurice residence. That’s when it all clicked: I found this company so extraordinary! I could see how much the employees cared for the residents and listened to them. I also discovered that this environment was very much in line with my own values and way of seeing things.
What is your approach as general manager?
Sylvain Lambert: My aim is to make life easier for the residents and to build trust with them. When I arrived, in the midst of the pandemic, I felt that people needed positive, authentic and personal leadership, and that’s what I strive to provide. Every morning I like to go around the residence and ask how things are. I also rely on transparent communication. For example, every week we explain anything new that has been put in place through the residence’s community television, so that everyone is aware of the changes. It’s important for me to be close to the residents and to listen to them.
But it’s also a team effort, and in that sense I see myself as a conductor who coordinates the work. I see myself as a facilitator rather than someone who “micromanages.” That’s why I give a lot of autonomy and responsibility to my department heads. Whether it’s in the care department, the dining room or the rental department, each of them is a link in the chain and plays an essential role. I think this is a good way to get the best out of each person, which ultimately benefits the residents directly.
Do you have a message for the residents?
Sylvain Lambert: I know the last few months have been difficult for all of us. It’s a bit like having to build a plane while it’s still in flight! But very soon, the plane will finally be able to land and our lives, which until now have been on pause, will finally be put back on “play.” The entire team is committed to bringing you the magic of everyday life in residence, and to offering you a diverse range of leisure activities along with inspiring and exhilarating experiences, all in a healthy and safe environment. Soon we will feel renewed and will enjoy life all the more. Our patience, for all of us, will be rewarded, I’m sure!
Thank you very much for this interview, Mr. Lambert. This is very promising for the next phase. We wish you all the best for the future!