Welcome Season 4 of our series This Is How I Get It DONE, where we take a moment to interview members of the PR In Canada & Profectio community members to find out more about the person behind the desk, how they got their start, their current role (and everything in between). For our second episode of Season 4 we talked to Vicky Boudreau, CEO & President of bicom.
I am a business development Ninja! Always on the lookout for new trends, social changes and market evolution I anticipated what’s coming while making sure we hear and guide our clients. My interest in their business goes way beyond the marketing and communication functions. I want to know what’s happening with their business as a whole, what’s keeping them up at night and how we can build impactful campaigns that will contribute to our client’s success.
One word to describe
I am a master connector! Whether it is to connect two clients that could benefit from a collaboration, helping someone find a job and a contact filling a role, I keep on growing my network for the benefit of our clients, our firm and for charity! I just love people and am always interested in learning their stories. Whenever my plane lands there is a big chance I got to know my seat neighbour and we keep in touch!
Tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today.
Born and raised on the North Shore of Quebec, I’ve always been a people ‘person. At 6 years, I remember inviting everyone I knew to my birthday celebrations in the summer. I would pick my mom’s phone book and call all our family and her friends. When I started going to school, I had a lot of friends from different groups. I knew very early on that I wanted to study communications but finally after a student exchange in Italy, I decided to pursue Fashion Design then Fashion marketing and ended up doing an internship in fashion public relations. Day 1, I had no clue what public relations was, but I had already built a great network by that time.
What made you start your own company?
I always knew I was going to be an entrepreneur. I was selling toys at the park very young and started to work as a cashier at 14 y.o. In 2005 I met my work wife and business partner Marie-Noelle in another firm where I was doing an internship and she was already partner. After a few days, we were already close friends and we had the energy and vision to grow the business! When she decided to leave that firm, I followed her this is one the best decision of my life. At the beginning we wanted to create the workplace we always dreamed of. A result-oriented communication firm evolving into a collaborative and stimulant environment that offers a lot of liberty to employees as well as a strong sense of community and engagement.
What is a typical work day like for you?
Wake-up with my girls, aged 2 and 6 and prep them for their day. Before I leave the house, I already cleared most of my emails. Then I run to the office (it’s a nice 5 km), if I can’t make it because I have some early meetings I run back home at night. I have been commute running for more than a year now and it’s so fun and convenient!
We always have a 15-minute meeting with the upper management at 8:30 to share: one good news, our priority of the day and ask for help if needed. It is super short and super effective because once you commit to your team to do one priority in the day it helps stay focus because you become accountable towards yourself.
Then, emails, meetings a few business lunches per week and a maximum of two events at night during week days. Before having my family, I was a crazy social butterfly with charity boards at 7am and events until 11pm. Now I have to choose carefully to keep some kind of balance. I also travel every 2 or 3 weeks between or offices in Toronto and Montreal.
At night I unwind with cooking myself a nice dinner. I would cook a duck magret with asparagus with a glass of Sancerre at 8pm. It’s my me time and the occasion of having a great meal should never be wasted!
You launched your agency, when did you know you had something?
In May 2006 I joined my partner in the founding of bicom. and at that time we were in our mid twenties with little responsibility. We had a few clients coming from my partner’s former agency and from year one we were able to both have a salary and we took it from there. We were putting in crazy hours and had so much fun together. The great thing about being an entrepreneur is that you love your job so much it never feels like a job it’s just one big huge project that evolves as you grow your business. I am still as excited today, 14 years later!
What was a moment in your career that really helped define how you work today?
I would say my toughest clients were my best school! After 2 years in business, I had this pretty demanding client that would put so much pressure questioning everything.I always needed to have a rationale ready to explain behind every decision and that really helped me develop my strategic thinking. (We are still being is Pr firm after 12 years!) More recently we had the chance of launching a very successful Japanese brand in Canada. We won the account after an RFP process of 7 rounds. Working with them elevated our standards on so many points. It was a gift after 10 years in business to come across such a detailed oriented company and the pride to serve them successfully was just so empowering!
How do you balance family-work?
I try to be super focus whether I am with my family, my friends or at work. I like to treat these different aspects of my life as pieces of pie that require equal attention but it’s never possible to be 100% in all of them. I do not accept to feel guilty; I live with my decisions. I love my kids to death, but the company was my first baby! To make this feasible I am super comfortable to ask for help. I “outsource” all the tasks where I am not adding value (cleaning, running errands, cooking for my family when I travel). I also make sure my husband and I are spending a few long weekends per year on our own. OK… I tend to stick one or two business meetings in those trips, but he is an entrepreneur too with is creative firm human we share business development meetings when travelling.
9-5 is LONG gone, what is one shortcut or life hack that works for you?
With the years I learned that I have peak moments for certain types of tasks, and I tend to manage my schedule accordingly. For example, if I need to do some writing it needs to be the first thing in the morning and for creative brainstorm sessions, after 3 pm is a good time. Not always possible to do so but most of the time it works and it’s very effective. I call my runs my meeting with my mental health department it’s in my schedule and it won’t be canceled. It relieve stress and anxiety and gives me so much energy in return. Also, as I travel back and forth between Montreal and Toronto sometimes I take the train and it’s a 5 hours with bad Wi-Fi, so I am super focus and get so I am super focus and get so much done!