In 2006, when Jackeline Ojeda was offered a position as an administrative assistant by financial planner Pierre Lafond in Repentigny, she hesitated.

Arriving from Mexico shortly before, where she taught English, this literary woman moved by Gabriel García Márquez and Taylor Caldwell did not speak French very well and, above all, she had no interest in the abstruse – and arid, world, she believed. – mutual funds.

“Honestly, I thought I wouldn’t like it,” she said. What interested me was teaching second languages, and I wanted to enroll in university. I said yes, telling myself that it was just while I waited and to pay for my studies. »

Seventeen years later, Ms. Ojeda is the office framework for Mr. Lafond, who wrote to La Presse to say it was the best hiring decision of his life.

“This employee is gold in a bar,” said in an interview Mr. Lafond, who will soon retire and who still congratulates himself on having trusted his judgment on the character of the candidate, not just on her RESUME.

“When she arrived in Quebec, at age 40, she was a pure immigrant who had sold everything in Mexico to come and settle here with her daughter. »

However, the immigrant who spoke little French and who knew nothing about mutual funds did not take half measures, says her boss: “To improve her French, she enrolled in the intensive program of francization of UQAM. She absorbed it all! She writes French almost without mistakes and she checks when she is not sure. She has an eagle eye and even corrects my reports. » As a result, it is she who manages customer service on the telephone and in writing with a predominantly French-speaking clientele, says Mr. Lafond.

“I loved it so much! says Ms. Ojeda about her French lessons. “I was analyzing the language and the differences with Spanish, it was fascinating. » She notes that French, with its many exceptions, is more complicated than Spanish, with its spelling almost entirely phonetic. “Just take the last names: Archambault, Thibeault, Pineau. I would put an o at the end and it would end there! “, she said, laughing.

Same ardor for the technical side of the work, says Mr. Lafond: his “hard worker” invested in learning collective savings and obtained his certificate from the Investment Funds Institute of Canada.

Mr. Lafond says that his assistant has the knowledge to be a collective savings representative and that he offered her, at one point, to take on clients.

“No, it takes a certain temperament to do that, for example when the markets are falling and you have to manage your emotions and those of your clients,” says Ms. Ojeda. I don’t have that. Same thing for advising funds. If I try to sell you anything, in the end I’m the one who’s going to end up buying something from you! »

On the other hand, Mr. Lafond says that his employee has good business judgment, which she demonstrated when her firm chose another for a merger, which is in progress, with a view to its gradual withdrawal from business: “She had her say. »

Recently, Mr. Lafond was able to go on sabbatical for a few months with his partner: “I was in contact with the office, but I had complete peace of mind knowing that with Jackeline at the post, the fortress was well guarded. »

“In Mexico, I did a bachelor’s degree in communications,” says Ms. Ojeda. But I chose to be an English teacher, because the schedule accommodated daycare for my 3-year-old daughter. It served me well in collective savings. Most mutual fund companies are in Toronto, and I learned a lot there too. »

“In a world where good customer service is from another era, I feel privileged to have such an ally,” says Mr. Lafond.