Women across Canada are kicking butt in the workforce, all while maintaining their cool and doing the things in life they enjoy. “Motivation Monday: How she does it” is a new series where we profile notable women working in various fields to find out how they juggle work-life balance. For this installment, we chatted with Christiane Germain - Co-president of Groupe Germain Hotels.
Can you describe what you do?
I manage a company that has 13 hotels. My job is basically to manage all my work teams and to make sure everything is running smoothly. At the end of the day, if there’s a problem, I’m there. I must admit that with time I’ve been doing more Human Relations since I’m co-president with my brother. My brother is a lot more focused on administration, finance and development, while I’m more focused on operations and marketing. That means that I make sure everything is going well. I take care of the teams, I visit the different hotels, and I’m also kind of in charge of our business culture.
What does a typical day look like for you starting from the moment you wake up?
First off, a typical day does not exist! You can’t manage a business and say ‘ok, this morning I’m going to do this and this.’ There are moments that are reserved to meet with people and to take calls, but essentially day after day I’m getting closer to employees, clients and partners. There’s no regular schedule.
What are some challenges you face as a career woman - personal or professional?
There are scheduling challenges – trying to get everything done. Time in itself is a challenge. It’s also a challenge to make sure the people who work with us are happy in their positions and also trying to grow the business.
How do you overcome these challenges?
I try to plan as much as possible. My workouts are scheduled in my agenda as would be a conference call or a meeting with a supplier, or a client. You have to have discipline and plan as much as possible the things that are important to get done. If we just leave things up to chance, it gets more difficult.
Do you have any routines or tricks that help you juggle that work-life balance?
The type of job and responsibilities that I have are all a part of my lifestyle. There are days where I won’t have time for myself, but there are others where I will. For example, this week, I had a big week because I travelled a lot, but on Friday I’m going to leave a bit earlier and get a head start on the weekend. I try to find a balance, but there are times in my life where it is all about work. It’s something very personal. Finding balance isn’t something that I calculate on a daily basis, but rather on a longer period of time. So for me, I am able to dedicate some days and even some weeks to work. That works for me. It’s a lifestyle that goes very well with my personality.
I guess work for you is personal because it’s your own business.
Yes, it’s my own business so it’s not like I work for someone else. That’s probably why I wanted to launch my own business so young. I probably wouldn’t have been a very good employee. I like to do what I want to do. Everything in life happens for a reason. If I’m running my own business today, it’s because that’s my personality.
What did you do before launching your own business?
I worked a bit for others, but I started my business very young at 23-years-old. I worked in the restaurant industry, in various management positions, and even at a young age I think I had it in me to manage a team, and that’s what I did. But I quickly got an opportunity to launch my own business and I took it.
What’s your advice for someone who wants to launch their own business or create their own career path?
First off, don’t do it just to make someone else happy. You have to do it for yourself and you really have to feel it. Don’t be pushed into things. I remember, I was going to get married when I was 20-years-old. I really wasn’t happy, it wasn’t working out, and I wasn’t well. I called my mom and she said it was normal to be nervous, but if you’re too nervous, forget it! And I realized that I was, and so I canceled the wedding. So, you have to listen to how you feel. That’s probably what I have done my whole life. You have to force yourself a little too, but when it’s too much, you have to listen to yourself. Do what you feel like doing and then go for it! You don’t want to always be second guessing your decision. You have to be happy where you are because there will be a lot of effort that you will have to make.
How do you like to unwind?
I like to stay active and go to the gym. When I’m working out, I am relaxing. When I’m going up a big mountain on my bike, I’m mad and no longer thinking about work. So, it’s a good way to clear my head. I also love to travel, love to entertain, and I just love being around people and having them over at home. I love life.
Do you prefer wine or cocktails?
I’m definitely more wine! I haven’t been for cocktails in awhile. I lived with my parents during the “hard liquor” generation, but I always go for wine and sometimes maybe a gin and tonic.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
I am very lucky to have had parents who taught me good values and gave me good advice that I still use today. They are very important to me and the older I get, the more I realize it. If I have to choose one piece of advice, it’s to do what you love. You really have to focus on that because if we want to meet our goals it takes a lot of work, and it’s more fun to do the work when you love it.
How do you define success?
My definition of success is being happy in general with your everyday life and your ability to make people around you happy, and that can be people I work with or family. Success is happiness. I get a lot of satisfaction at work seeing strong bonds form between my employees and that makes me very happy.
Do you know someone we should feature in this segment? Send an email to [email protected]