Carole Leblond: Inspiring Others
Carole Leblond, Manager of REDD, NBS’s Francophone office in Montreal, grew up in Northern Quebec.
“I started my life in my community trying to make the best out of it,” she recalled. “It was a small community with no resources for a teenager; it was boring. I became the president of the student association and every Friday I organized a disco and 400 teenagers came from other small towns and villages. It made our community more alive.”
Carole’s dream to change the world pushed her to move to a big city at 17 years old to get a college and a university degree. Since then, Carole has lived in Amsterdam and Montréal.
Whatever her location, she tries to bring energy, inspiration and out-of-the-box thinking. “I always try to make the life of others more enjoyable and to find solutions with them,” she said. “My greatest talent is to make others enthusiastic about changing the world. You can become a game changer and I can convince you to do it.”
Carole focuses on partnership to change mindset. “If we want to build knowledge on sustainability and CSR, identifying important issues with companies helps them advance in their sustainable journey and we make a great co-creation research project.” She is driving a current project with the Quebec’s Ministère de l'Économie et de l’Innovation (MEI), developing tools to increase CSR best practices within mining and forestry.
In managing the REDD office, she draws on decades working in Public relations and economic development. Carole is also pursuing a Masters in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability at the Business School of Université du Québec à Montréal, (ESG UQÀM). “I believe I’ve been doing CSR for the last 15 years of my career. I always try to say to the businesses, ‘It’s not just about profit, guys, it’s also about the whole picture if you want a real impact.”
Carole learned about sustainability initially not from studies but from life: growing up in Northern Quebec and living in Europe.
Her childhood town has 3000 people but is the third-biggest city in the province, surrounded by a million lakes. “It makes you aware that you are one human being on this whole planet and I can make a great difference from every action I take.”
Spending 20 years in Holland taught a different lesson about sustainability. Because Holland is crowded and below sea level, “you have to be respectful” of nature and people, explained Carole, considering them in every move you make.
Her goal at REDD/ NBS is to “make our network more alive and significant for everyone, not only researchers and businesses.” She thinks particularly about young people. Sixty percent of REDD website visitors are ages 18 to 35. “I believe they are junior professionals and students — future managers from all those Business schools,” says Carole. “They are reading our great content — they will be our game changers.”
Carole’s advice to others is to follow one’s intuition and be true to yourself on WHY you’re doing things. “You don’t have to do anything to be loved and appreciated. Stay close to yourself, your values and your dreams... and I assure you, they will come true.”