Marie St-Gelais

Authenticity, preparation are keys to management success

By Shari Narine
Cando Contributor

There aren’t a lot of women in the engineering field, but Marie St-Gelais isn’t about hiding who she is and what she knows.

Marie St-Gelais“Be yourself,” she said. “It is your authenticity that will lead you where you want to go. Always be prepared, keep control and smile.”

St-Gelais, an Innu civil engineer who resides in Chicoutimi, has owned and managed Ashini Consultants since 2016. She has 13 years of experience as a manager, project manager and design engineer having worked in the mining, construction, and building fields as well as in Aboriginal communities. She has expertise in the design and calculation of bridges, steel and wood building structures, civil engineering structures and environmental aspects.

She holds that education and business experience are equally important.

“I strongly believe in education and entrepreneurship to drive our communities’ development,” she said.

She also believes in entrepreneurship as a lifestyle.

“Entrepreneurship is freedom. You are free to dream and make all these dreams reality,” she said.

Being a manager is an important position and one that sees a person always growing, says St-Gelais.

“Act as the manager you wanted to have. Do one thing at the time. Listen to your team, they will help you to become a better manager,” she said.

St-Gelais encourages women not to shy away from the opportunity to become a manager.

“Management is a polyvalent role opening your career and your path to many opportunities,” she said. “You should go for it.”

It’s this point of view and experience that St-Gelais will be discussing at this year’s Cando Conference, scheduled for Oct. 27-30 in Gatineau, QC, where she is one of four individuals who has been selected for the Women in Business panel.

St-Gelais believes that such panels are vital.

“I think female entrepreneurs bring a different point of view of doing business,” she said.

This marks the sixth year for the Women in Business panel, which highlights and recognizes the significant impact Indigenous women entrepreneurs have on the Canadian economy.

The Women in Business panel is one of the signature events for the Cando Annual National Conference which promotes Indigenous economic development.



Women in Business Panel 2019

Mallory Graham

Jolene Johnson

Victoris LaBillois

Marie St-Gelais