Describing herself as hyper-curious and passionate about human beings, Julie Côte admits that she could have chosen a panoply of professions. His career choice, however, was dictated by reason. Fascinated by the business world and having an ease with numbers, the one who is CFA, MBA and strategic advisor to the Desjardins Group Pension Plan went into finance at university. Little did she know that the same year she would graduate, the world would change completely. “When I started my baccalaureate, I was sure that I was going to find a job quickly, but 9/11 happened. The financial markets were badly shaken and it took several months before I found my first job at ARX Capital, a private wealth manager,” recalls the professional. It was this experience that would set the tone for the rest of his career. A jack-of-all-trades, she has developed a background as a generalist in investment.
Driven by the need for new challenges, she held many positions at the Caisse de depot et placement du Québec while completing an MBA at HEC Montreal. Since March 2022, she has continued her career at Mouvement Desjardins, where she puts her expertise to good use by wearing multiple hats. Mandates and complex strategic files, expert with the main departments, management of the infrastructure investment plan and investment plan are just some of her occupations.
She saw herself as a doctor, but a statistics course at CEGEP changed everything. Seeing how easily she passed this course, which was deemed difficult, she began studying actuarial science. Ambitious and always looking for challenges, she continued her development by passing numerous professional exams, in addition to completing an MBA. “My friends jokingly tell me that it’s a disease and that I should stop trying to pass all these exams,” says Nesrine Siguerdidjane, ASA, FRM, MBA and Director of Performance Planning and Strategy at Business Development Bank of Canada.
Employed at the Business Development Bank of Canada for more than six years, she has been in a new role for less than a year. “Performance and strategy planning means looking at the past, present and looking into the future to know where you are going and align strategies. I’m still learning my role, but I’m pampered, I really like what I do. The actuary does not intend to stop on such a good path and wishes to be one of those who break the glass ceiling that we still find in finance. She envisions a position as Vice President in three years time.
She is not an activist, but appears as a humanist. She dreams of the finance industry welcoming both employees and clients as they are. “You have to go beyond the words of caring and inclusiveness, it’s a business challenge. We need concrete actions and that’s what we’re working on,” explains Salwa Salek, Head, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for Desjardins Group.
She chose Desjardins to achieve this ideal after beginning her career at PwC, where she had organizational transformation mandates. “Desjardins was one of our clients. Its cooperative model appealed to me a lot and I needed to see the impact of such changes from the inside, to see things evolve because decisions have been made. That’s why I’ve been here since 2011.”
From 2018 to 2021, Salwa and her team worked on the parity objective, which has almost been achieved. Next challenge, the inclusion of various employee profiles, including women, visible minorities, cultural communities and young people. “I never targeted any position in particular. The engine of my motivation is to create a more equitable world. »