Catherine Foisy : "I want to deconstruct gender stereotypes in advertising."
Marie-Hélène Leclerc might be a young woman in a management position, but she doesn't want to hear the infamous phrase: "You're too young!" She firmly believes that age and gender should not prevent a person from getting the job they want. In her role, for example, the ability to build lasting client relationships comes first.
"I've always been the youngest of my friends, family and colleagues. I had to get used to speaking up. All my life and throughout my career I have had to fight to be heard. Every day I have to prove that, despite my age, I can deliver a project. That I have what it takes to achieve this, as much as someone with many years of experience does.
In the industry, there is often judgment about a person's age – whether they’re younger or older –, experience or gender. At Republik, I never felt the need to justify myself to other members of the management team. I was able to gradually prove myself through what I was bringing to the table."
Part of the effort that Marie-Hélène puts into her work is solicited on calls with clients during which she has to give them the straight goods:
"There's nothing better than having a strong relationship with your client. You can create that kind of bond by being honest with them. That's how you're able to have the 'hard conversations' together. As a Senior Account Manager, I have to give advice. I can't just say yes to everything. Questioning is important on both sides. Transparency has to be a priority."
One of Republik's mottos is to "speak real" and when it comes to making an impact with our clients, it's essential to tell them like it is.
Marie-Hélène remembers hearing her father's cousin talk about his job as a sales representative in a major fashion company. The work sounded so exciting. She quickly became passionate about marketing. In CEGEP, she has participated in dozens of competitions on the subject. Even then, she tried to approach each case presented to her with a fresh eye:
"Marketing was becoming a real passion! Our teacher would give us cases and we had to work on them. The way I approached it was never by doing pure marketing. I didn't believe in traditional advertising. I actually thought it was awful. So, I would try to bring brands to life through events, a stunt or content creation."
With that in mind, she entered the professional world and later joined the Republik team, with whom she shared the same vision: breaking the mold of traditional marketing. The small team had big ambitions.
"When I joined the agency four years ago, we were eight employees and we are now almost thirty. That's what always attracted me: working for ambitious people who want to turn their little dream into a big project.”
Marie-Hélène thinks big for the agency, but also for the clients she works with. She says it's easy to exceed the goals they set together when they speak on a regular basis.
Marie-Hélène's position is the best of both worlds. She can immerse herself in the world of marketing and explore the best paths to take with her clients. Nevertheless, the human aspect is just as important. That's where she gets her motivation to go to work:
"I've always loved management, because I really like the psychological side of marketing. I like to ask questions and analyze behavior. It's really the human side of my job. Delivering projects, yes, it's challenging, but management is about who I am at the core. I can really connect with people and understand them. Every day, I am challenged to solve problems."
Marie-Hélène is convinced that a marketing agency must focus on the individual first. It is essential to collaborate with our clients to build a good business relationship, but above all, a solid human connection.
What kind of agency welcomes the personal convictions of its team members? An agency that wants to change the world, nothing less.
At Republik, we work with clients who understand the importance of taking action on social and environmental issues and who integrate the principles of social responsibility into their business models. We are looking for talents who have strong convictions and who have the ambition to change the world.
Don't let your convictions take the backseat, put them to work and run with it.