Stand your ground, business owner advises other women
By Shari Narine
Victoria LaBillois has an impressive combination of education, experience and volunteerism when it comes to the business world.
The Mi’gmaq entrepreneur from Listuguj, in the traditional territory of Gespe’gewa’gi, owns Wejipeg Excavation Inc., which she created in 2011 to participate in wind park development across the territory, and co-owns and sits as president of Wejuseg Construction Inc.
She serves on a number of professional boards, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, and has had numerous national and international speaking engagements.
She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and a master’s degree in Business Administration, both from the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton.
While education is valuable, it’s not everything, she says.
“You don’t necessarily need an MBA to get into business, it helps, but I rely more on resilience and courage,” she said.
LaBillois will be discussing her success and her challenges in the business world at this year’s Cando Conference, scheduled for Oct. 27-30 in Gatineau, QC.
She is one of four individuals who has been selected for the Women in Business panel, one of the signature events for the Cando Annual National Conference which promotes Indigenous economic development.
Having a panel with women entrepreneurs is important, says LaBillois.
“We need to raise our women up and continue to break the barriers. Our women need to see success stories in real people they can relate to. My message is a call to action - whatever you are thinking about doing, just start today, there is no better time,” she said.
LaBillois has broken ground in professions that are dominated by men, both in the construction industry and the wind power industry.
Her advice for other women looking to make similar commitments is simple: “Stand your ground, know your stuff, and own the room when you walk in - you are not a doormat.”
LaBillois sees her position on the panel as a role model with so much success as an entrepreneur and as a spokesperson for Indigenous women.
“I enjoy raising our women up and celebrating their successes,” 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.
Women in Business Panel 2019