Nicole Bourque Bouchier
CEO and Co-Owner, Bouchier
Nicole Bourque Bouchier is a business leader, philanthropist, and advocate for Indigenous women’s economic empowerment. She is CEO and Co-Owner of Bouchier, a 100% Indigenous- owned company, with Indigenous individuals accounting for 42% of its workforce. The company began with nothing more than a used Caterpillar dozer, yet has become a leading provider of integrated site services. Since 2004, Nicole has grown the business from 35 employees and 20 pieces of equipment to more than 1,000 employees and over 400 pieces of equipment through January 2020. Nicole’s success in a male-dominated industry is a signal to young Indigenous women that with hard work and dedication, they can achieve their goals.
How She Made Change
Nicole built a family culture at Bouchier based on the founding principles of community, safety, respect, leadership, and commitment. She has led by example, demonstrating how to grow, develop, and achieve success in a primarily male-dominated sector. Through coaching and goodwill, she has inspired others to achieve their full potential, and has created a workplace culture where employees feel empowered to make decisions and drive the company forward.
Nicole purposefully assembled a diverse team and employee base, knowing that this will make Bouchier a better, more successful company. She notes the strengths within her team and ensures that the women around her receive opportunities that give them the experience they need to flourish in their roles. She encourages senior managers to mentor the high-potential women on their teams, which has resulted in the development of talented new leaders. Recognizing the importance of connections, she opens her network to others to ensure they have the opportunities to meet the people who can advance their careers.
To ensure equal opportunity for all employees—and guarantee that the right people are in the right roles at all levels—she takes steps to prevent bias from interfering in filling leadership positions. Nicole has also set goals for herself and her team to keep steering them in the right direction. For example, one target is to have Indigenous individuals make up 45% of the workforce. To add accountability, she provides a quarterly update on the firm’s progress towards meeting its hiring and representation goals. This update is shared broadly across the company, adding transparency to the process.
Giving back to the community is extremely important to Nicole and to Bouchier. Nicole dedicates time and resources to pay it forward, and encourages her employees to do the same by sitting on nonprofit boards and volunteering. In turn, she supports employees who need to take time off to fulfill their volunteering commitments through the Bouchier Community Engagement Program. Nicole often makes donations to back her employees’ efforts at these nonprofit organizations.
Nicole herself has been involved with Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta for over 10 years, supporting programs and events as well as making donations. Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta provides girls aged six through 18 with the knowledge and skills they need to break free from gender stereotypes, create social change, and be proud of who they are, empowering them to fulfill their potential. One of the more recent programs Nicole has undertaken with Girls Inc. is the Women of Inspiration Program. Recognizing that nonprofits must have secure funding in order to achieve their missions, Nicole committed to funding the program for the next five years, taking it to the next level and ensuring it will continue to thrive and showcase resilient women leaders.
Future plans include launching the Bouchier Indigenous Excellence program, which aims to encourage the self-empowerment of Indigenous employees working at Bouchier. The goal will be to provide them with multiple pathways to strengthen their skills and achieve personal growth.
Nicole is an authentic and inclusive leader who has created a work environment in which employees feel both valued and trusted. Through economic ups and downs, she continues to focus on the importance of inclusion, training, and developing skills. She goes out of her way to recognize individuals and teams for their hard work.
Nicole holds herself and her team accountable for achieving their goals. She hosts quarterly reviews with an external consultant to support ongoing learning at the company. Bouchier’s family culture enables open and honest dialogue, where individuals feel safe knowing they can share without judgement. Nicole encourages employees to feel empowered in their own roles. She fosters an environment in which all employees feel like an owner and take pride in everything they do. Nicole demonstrates to her team that their opinions and insights are valued.
About Nicole Bourque Bouchier
As Co-Owner and Chief Executive Officer of Bouchier, one of Alberta’s largest Indigenous-owned companies, Nicole Bourque Bouchier is one of the most influential women in Canada. In 2015, she was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women. In 2018, she was the recipient of the Indspire Award, and in 2019 she received the CCAB Indigenous Women in Leadership Award.