2017 Catalyst Canada Honours Business Leader Champion
Executive Vice President, Financing, Business Development Bank of Canada
When Pierre Dubreuil joined Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) five years ago, he brought with him a strongly held belief in the merits of diverse teams. He has transformed his own leadership team from one that was all men to one where two-thirds of leaders are women, and where one-third of leaders are visible minorities. Having traveled and worked in different countries around the world, Mr. Dubreuil embraces an inclusive management style that empowers his employees to challenge the status quo of how things are done. He is described as a leader with an ability to spot talent in people before they even discover it within themselves, providing his team with significant stretch opportunities for their development.
Under Mr. Dubreuil’s leadership, BDC answered to the Federal Government’s wishes to better support women entrepreneurs by instituting changes in financing that allowed for a 27% increase in the portfolio of women-owned businesses financed through BDC. In addition, Mr. Dubreuil’s team is working on a program for new immigrant entrepreneurs, to help new Canadians establish themselves while also creating employment opportunities through the businesses that BDC helps to finance.
Mr. Dubreuil also supported the creation of internship positions within his business unit for Syrian refugees, with an aim of helping to provide essential Canadian professional experience. Most of the interns have since been offered permanent opportunities at BDC.
Taking Risks and Sponsoring Talent
It has been noted by his colleagues that Mr. Dubreuil has often taken chances in hiring and developing talent. He strongly believes that everyone should have an equal chance at success, and demonstrates this by giving talented people, who may have previously gone unnoticed, opportunities to develop. In order for Mr. Dubreuil to be able to sponsor these individuals at BDC, he had to first establish his own credibility within the organization, and transparently shared his vision of how a more diverse team would positively impact the organization.
Over time, Mr. Dubreuil was able to hire more women and individuals from underrepresented groups to replace positions as they opened up. At the same time, he was also supporting their development by providing stretch assignments that matched their skill sets.
Mr. Dubreuil is also a role model for others at BDC, where he encourages his team to develop talent, creating a culture of sponsorship at the bank.
Inclusive Leadership Through Empowerment
Catalyst research into inclusive leadership identifies four key behaviors that leaders demonstrate to create an inclusive work environment: Empowerment, Accountability, Courage, and Humility. Mr. Dubreuil is a role model for inclusive leadership in the way he demonstrates empowerment of his team members at BDC.
Mr. Dubreuil will provide members of his team with stretch opportunities to help them develop. He provides support by discussing and agreeing on the expectations of the assignment while providing them the space to complete the assignment in their own way. He is transparent with his team, encouraging them to take risks and to not be afraid of making mistakes. In this way Mr. Dubreuil is also creating an environment which is conducive to innovation, as his team knows he will support them in exploring potential new ideas. It is through this dynamic that the ideas for BDC’s initiatives around increasing financing and support for women and other underrepresented entrepreneurs were developed.
About Pierre Dubreuil
Mr. Dubreuil has over 30 years of commercial and general banking experience. At BDC, he is responsible for financing and operations support across the bank. Before joining BDC in 2012, he was Senior Vice President, International, at National Bank of Canada. During his 18-year tenure, he held executive positions in key functions such as syndication, credit, commercial lending, marketing and business solutions. After beginning his career with the Federal Business Development Bank, he also worked at Export Development Canada and as Vice President, Business Development, at the Industrial Bank of Japan in Toronto. Mr. Dubreuil holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Laval University and has completed various leadership and management programs.