Careers: Interviews
Internationally Renowned Leader and Executive: Stéphane Boisvert, President - Bell Canada Enterprise Group

This week, Stephen Ibaraki, FCIPS, I.S.P., DF/NPA, MVP, CNP has an exclusive interview with Stéphane Boisvert.

This week, Stephen Ibaraki has an exclusive interview with Stéphane Boisvert.

St├ęphane BoisvertStéphane Boisvert belongs to the new generation of managers who enjoy challenging the status quo. A dynamic leader with a strategic change management approach, he is driven by a desire to resolve complex business issues and a focus on continually improving customer service.

Acknowledged for his disciplined approach, excellent overall technological knowledge and ability to rally team members around a shared goal, Mr. Boisvert is a manager who promotes a participatory leadership culture while paying particular attention to training future leaders.

His career in the technology sector began in 1985 when he was hired by IBM as a commercial accounts manager. He quickly stood out and played a critical role in IBM's $30 million investment in NetGen, a program created to support technology start-ups across the country. Success quickly followed, and barely a year later his business unit increased its revenues from $12 million to $150 million.

In 2002, Sun Microsystems offered Stéphane a challenge that he was unable to resist: to turn around the corporation's activities in Canada. In a mere three years, he completely revamped the operations of the Canadian division, as a result of which it moved from 14th place to 1st place in terms of profitability and earnings growth. In 2005, Mr. Boisvert moved to California, where he led a specialized Sun Microsystems group dedicated to the integration of international acquisitions.

In August 2006, Mr. Boisvert was named President of Bell Canada's Enterprise group. In this position, he is responsible for leveraging the group's market value proposition and maximizing the financial performance of its various business units, notably through the addition of professional and consulting services.

Mr. Boisvert currently sits on the Board of Directors of Wellspring, an organization dedicated to offering support to cancer victims with numerous centres in Ontario. He is also a member of the boards of the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation and the Fondation de l'Hôpital Sainte-Justine. In 2000, Mr. Boisvert was named to Canada's prestigious "Top 40 under 40" list of successful businesspeople.

A Montréal native, Mr. Boisvert holds a degree from McGill University. He has two children, to whom he devotes considerable time despite his undeniably heavy workload.

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

The latest blog on the interview can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.
http://blogs.technet.com/cdnitmanagers/

DISCUSSION:

Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

:00:37: Stéphane Boisvert profiles how he got to his present position and what his current role entails.

:02:04: What opportunities will you realize for Bell in the short and longer term?
"....in the short term we are in the business, first and foremost as a service provider, to deliver high powered networks.....On the longer term....maintaining and sustaining high customer satisfaction and running a very profitable business...."

:03:30: Please provide your forecast of the top technology trends and what are their opportunities to business?
"....We are getting more and more into a world of true connectivity...."

:04:42: What leadership, career tips, and lessons can you share from your rich experiences?
"....passion for the business, decisiveness... leveraging organization capabilities, personal management are the key ones that define you as a person and really helps you to be successful across your career.....What I do realize is that....being in an uncomfortable environment you really stretch yourself.....I think that routine and being too much in a comfort zone really diminishes your capabilities over time...."

:06:53: What are your lessons for managing change within an organization?
"....It is basically having the organization that has enough of a structure to embrace change on an ongoing basis. I believe that change is not a month during the year, a week during the month, it is a constant thing of running your business...."

:08:45: How does one become the manager everyone wants to work for?
"....Individuals want to be part of the winning team. A team that solves issues, that gets very good customer satisfaction, and is very rewarding...."

:10:16: Stéphane Boisvert shares stories from his many experiences.

:11:26: You recently took on a great challenge involving addressing the IT Skills Gap. What do you see as the IT Skills Challenge?
"....The fundamental issue that one should expose to the marketplace (both private and public sector) is the complete disconnect between supply and demand...."

:12:48: What kinds of skills shortage do you see?
"....The thing that is not well explained to the youth, students, and the market is that most of these job types, (referred to in the negative press on IT jobs being outsourced abroad and other emerging markets), are the low skill IT jobs....One thing that we have to address and to educate the market is that there are a ton of jobs already available for highly skilled individuals with an IT background...."

:14:43: Mr. Boisvert comments on the scale of the IT skills problem.

:15:14: What are some of the contributing key factors?
"....a lot of media and press on outsourcing, making it an issue that so many jobs are moving to emerging markets....people feel that there is no future in IT...."

:16:51: What are we putting at risk?
"....I think that national productivity is a key concern....investing in systems, in key technology...."

:17:31: Is this a global problem and can you provide examples?
"....I think it is....what's interesting is that some countries who were facing that issue in the past really took the bull by the horns (and took action)...."

:19:28: Mr. Boisvert comments on/shares some solutions.

:21:07: Tell us more about the Canadian Coalition for Tomorrow's IT Skills which Bell founded and about its goals.
"....We are rallying the industry.....and a large number of universities and educational institutions across the country to help us solve the issue....The number one objective is to raise the profile of ICT and ICT career choices among young people....Second is to raise public awareness of the importance of ICT in Canada....Third is to develop government immigration policies to ensure our present and future needs...."

:24:35: Take this time to comment on any topics of your choosing or looking at this another way, if you were doing this interview, what questions would you ask and then what would be your answers?
".....How do you change the perception of Bell as only a telco company?....Another question is around managing change (touched on previously)....A third question which comes to mind is more in terms of leadership...."

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