Women of Influence: Cathy Perronpar Sandrine Champigny | August 18 2014 09:00AM
Trust your instincts and believe in yourself
From working at a family-run business to VP sales, private sector, at SSQ Financial Group, Cathy Perron’s career track is anything but typical. Hard-working and dedicated to teamwork, she eagerly ventures off the beaten path.
You have to trust in yourself. Sometimes, as women, we are not self-confident enough; we give up too quickly. We have to believe in ourselves, in our possibilities, set objectives.
“I decided to go back to school at age 23. I finished college and university and chose actuarial science. I come from Saguenay, Quebec so I moved to Montreal.” This is how Cathy Perron described her early days in the industry. Although she did not face insurmountable obstacles, Perron still thinks that it took audacity to make this decision. “I didn't really run into hurdles, but yes I had challenges. It’s not easy to decide to return to school when you're already on the job market, so believing in yourself is important.”
She took her first steps into insurance after a few years of working at Aon as a pension plan administration consultant. “An important person crossed my path and became my mentor. This person helped me quickly evolve at Aon and I followed him into group insurance after that. That’s how I entered the insurance field.” Her mentor, Yves Couturier, encouraged her to take on the insurance world.
Testing her limits
In 2010, Perron took the leap to SSQ Financial Group. “It was a great opportunity to test my limits. I had lots of independence in how I did things. It’s not like I wasn’t independent before, but they told me ‘go ahead, see things your way.’ This also really helped me learn to believe in my vision,” she recalls
When her boss retired, Perron became vice-president of private sector sales for Quebec. “For me, the important thing is to be able to influence and contribute to our business model and the services that we offer as an insurer.”
She is a team player with a very simple philosophy. “I treat people the way I want people to treat me. I am fortunate to be surrounded by quality people. I have a team I’m very proud of,” she says.
Her success so far has been partly fuelled by her self-confidence, advice she wants to transmit to other women who are considering entering the field. “You have to trust in yourself. Sometimes, as women, we are not self-confident enough; we give up too quickly. We have to believe in ourselves, in our possibilities, set objectives, make a plan and not be afraid to develop our strategy to attain our objectives. Especially when we start out, we don't dare to have too much self-confidence, but you don't really need as much professional experience if you have good instincts.”