A hunger for teamwork

Mireille Desjarlais, vice-president and corporate controller at Metro, which owns more than 600 grocery stores in Quebec and Ontario, stresses the importance of teamwork in achieving financial goals.

Q. What are the main challenges in the food world?

It is an extremely competitive sector. We have to maintain our market share, innovate and always stay on top of industry trends. Metro is smaller than some of its competitors, but that allows us to react quickly. Our business is in very good financial health and it has fewer reporting levels than other organizations.

How would you describe your leadership style?

For me, a leader is someone who guides people toward the expected results. I want to provide accurate, high-quality financial information. I also like to assist the people I work with in their development. For example, young people want to learn and we need to consider their feedback. I am open to changing course if the arguments presented to me are sound. I often tell my teams, “Look at the numbers. What are they saying to you?”

What have you learned about leadership in your 26 years at Metro?

Each stage in our career teaches us different things. When I first joined the organization, I had the opportunity to work with the management team and I learned a great deal from my predecessor. Working in the franchisee division for 15 years taught me the importance of teamwork — without it, you can’t move forward.

Last May, Mireille Desjarlais was appointed to her current post after holding successive positions as supervisor, controls adviser, general administration controller and controller for the franchisee division, to which the Super C discount markets division was added. Desjarlais obtained her CA designation in 1988.