Most of the time in the shadows, a woman makes her place with the Montreal Canadiens in one of the most important positions.
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France Margaret Bélanger holds the position of Executive Vice-President and Head of Commercial Affairs within the Montreal training. She recounted her career as well as the mandates she must accomplish during a generous interview granted to Jean-Charles Lajoie on Friday.
If she officially decided to join the team in 2013, her history with the Canadiens goes back much longer.
“In 2001, I was a young lawyer at Stikeman Elliott and we made the transaction when George Gillett bought the Canadiens. From that moment on, I have always been associated with the team since it was a client that we represented. Eventually, in 2009, George sold The Canadiens to Geoff Molson’s group. I then had more experience and it was I, with a team from Stikeman, who carried out the sale. ”
It is therefore from this moment that France Margaret Bélanger began to develop links with the president of the Canadian. The latter managed to convince her to join his team full time a few years later.
“We met while I was leading the sales negotiations in 2009. I was acting for the seller and he was represented by lawyers because he was buying. The process lasted several months, so we had the chance to talk and get to know each other. Several years later, he called me to see if I wanted to join the team. But in the meantime, once the sale had been completed and George Gillett was no longer our client, I had gone to Geoff Molson to tell him he should trust us at Stikeman Elliott. We were aware of all the files concerning the team and Geoff had agreed to entrust us with certain tasks. When they approached me, I decided to take the leap and I never looked back. “
Regarding the fact of making her place as a woman in an environment where the vast majority of positions are occupied by men, the native of Matane thanked her boss who is sensitive to the issue. The one who is involved in the executive council for inclusion in the NHL also notices a nice openness from Gary Bettman and the other owners.
“Male or female, I can tell you that everyone wants to win. I never made a case with that. It’s not something I think about. I arrive at the office and take care of my business. It takes someone opening the door. At this point, the credit goes to Geoff. I am not the only one. Several women hold important positions in the organization. We are not there because we are a man or a woman, we are there because we are able to do the job. At the level of the NHL, there is a real motivation to get things done. ”