The Pioneers Series: The Visionary
Article from Le Groupe Maurice's magazine « L'Innovateur », October 2018 #2
These are the company’s pioneers, the first people to work at, live in, or invest in Le Groupe Maurice, one-of-a-kind visionaries for 20 years now. They were only too happy to share their memories of Le Groupe Maurice’s tentative beginnings and how it became the success it is today.
Michel Toupin has been a financial partner of Le Groupe Maurice for 20 years. The director of Université Laval’s pension fund was the first person to support senior-loving entrepreneur Luc Maurice’s project to build his first retirement home. We asked him what inspired that confidence.
Mr. Toupin, how did you first get into business with Mr. Maurice?
It all started with a call from a friend, asking me if I’d meet with someone named Luc Maurice. Investors are often approached to help people. The ones I always agree to meet with are people who have just lost their job or are changing careers, or young entrepreneurs. In other words, people with drive.
And that was the case with Mr. Maurice?
That’s right. The first thing I asked him was, “But why do you want to open up a seniors’ home? There’s nothing exciting about that. And certainly nothing glamorous!” He answered, “Because I like seniors.” And for the next two hours, I listened to him tell me why. I wanted him to prove how much he liked them. Anyone can say, “I love retired people.” But I knew he was sincere. He wanted to make a career of it, and his approach was different. He wasn’t coming at it from a business angle. He was thinking like a human being. That’s what made him different.
For example, in the early days at Les Résidences du Marché, we realized that the dining room wasn’t profitable. But, we said, “We don’t care. Would we want our mothers to eat slop just so the operator can make money? No. So, then, let’s do what we think is right.”
So, you share the same values. Is that why you’ve been partners for so long?
Yes, I think so. I’ve never butted heads with Luc. We’ve always agreed and been adamant about the same things. People who go into business often think—wrongly—that they’ll be able to offer more once they start turning a profit. That’s false. If your product is good, the profits will follow. That’s always been our thinking, and that’s why we’ve always gotten along so well. Because we think alike!
What do you think makes Le Groupe Maurice so successful?
It’s the fact that not only is Luc a leader, he’s a leader with heart. Those two qualities aren’t contradictory. Quite the opposite, in fact, they actually go hand in hand. I’ve seen him interact with his family—he’s essentially a very loving man. So, he started applying that quality to his work every day, and thanks to his leadership, he’s managed to extend it to an entire organization. That’s his greatest strength and the key to his success. And it’s also what will keep his company running for many years to come.