Geneviève Fortier: The inspiring journey of a daring leader and her quest for excellence
Last updated on June 29th, 2023
Ordre national du Québec: a huge honour for our CEO
In recognition of her inspiring career, her remarkable personal and professional achievements, and the standard of excellence she embodies, our CEO is being presented with an honour that few Quebecers receive. Geneviève Fortier is one of 34 Québec citizens to be awarded the insignia and title of the Knight of the Ordre national du Québec. It is the highest honour bestowed by the Government of Québec.
Presented by Premier François Legault at a stirring ceremony, the insignia bears the inscription Honneur au peuple du Québec (homage to the people of Québec). It bears witness to the distinguished actions of individuals who have left a strong and lasting mark on Québec or contributed to its renown in various sectors of activity.
In all, just over 1,100 people belong to the order, more than 400 of whom have been inducted posthumously. As is the case for the great actor Michel Côté, who recently passed away and was inducted in the same cohort as Ms. Fortier.
A driven and illustrious figure
After earning a bachelor’s degree from Université Laval, Geneviève Fortier began her career at Sécur, where she was promoted to head of human resources within a year.
As a Girardin-Vaillancourt scholarship recipient, Geneviève completed a master’s degree in industrial relations, which earned her the title of chartered human resources professional (CRHA). It took only eight years before she was elected chair of the board of directors of Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines et en relations industrielles agréés du Québec, the youngest to hold that position. She was also the first person from Québec to chair the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations (CCHRA).
In 2006 she received the Québec Interprofessional Council’s Professional Merit Award, the highest honour awarded in Québec’s professional order system. In 2014, she was named Fellow of Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines et en relations industrielles agréés du Québec, a title usually reserved for professionals much further along in their career.
Victory is a team effort
Geneviève Fortier’s management style is all about fusing the full potential of an organization with that of the people inside it. Leveraging the power of collective intelligence paves the way for effective decision-making and enhanced performance, while creating a real sense of belonging. Ms. Fortier excels at engaging and motivating people to rally around a common goal.
A career steeped in success
From the outset, Fortier’s natural leadership and strategic mind landed her complex assignments where her clear and compelling vision made all the difference.
Her keen business acumen and ability to get things done led her to quickly climb the management ladder, whether at Marchands Unis, Biochem Vaccines, Merck Frost, or Reitmans. She notably made Vice President of Human Resources at the age of 30, an early sign of her impressive leadership.
At the same time, she turned her hand to corporate governance, chairing the boards of the CHU Sainte-Justine and CHUM hospitals, and sitting on the boards of Sanimax, Groupe Germain, and Lassonde until she was appointed chair of the Investissement Québec board of directors in May 2022.
Geneviève Fortier also left her mark at McKesson Canada, the country’s largest pharmaceutical product distributor, which notably owns the Uniprix and Proxim banners in Québec and Rexall across Canada, before moving to the insurance business in 2018.
She was later appointed Senior Vice President of Sales and Distribution at SSQ Insurance, where her partner- and member-focused approach delivered spectacular results.
Without even knowing, she was preparing for the biggest challenge of her career.
A dedicated woman with her eyes on the future
Geneviève Fortier has earned numerous awards and honours all throughout her career. In particular, she was recognized as one of Canada’s five most influential women in human resources and diversity, a key performance driver that is particularly meaningful to her. She also received the Femmes d’affaires du Québec (business women of Québec) Award for large corporations in 2014, a great source of pride for someone who has always championed the cause of female and youth leadership through her involvement with The A Effect, Fitspirit, and Forces AVENIR.
A well-deserved first
In 2019 Geneviève Fortier made history by becoming CEO of Promutuel Insurance, the first woman to lead this flagship Québec company in close to 170 years.
For Geneviève, it was a natural fit. Mutualist values are ingrained in her DNA. She has always been driven by a desire to listen, reflect, and get to the essence of a problem to deploy the best possible solution for the good of the community.
That is exactly what she has been doing ever since taking the helm, and the results are plain to see. Promutuel Insurance has just surpassed the mythical milestone of $1 billion in premium volume, a figure that has risen steadily since her arrival. As the fourth-largest damage insurer in the market, Promutuel Insurance is continuing on its path of profitable growth, which is one of her main motivations as CEO.
Geneviève is constantly looking to the future. Her vision is crystal clear: Promutuel Insurance will continue its growth not only in Québec, but also beyond as it sets its sights on expansion outside the province.
Fearless, agile, and always ready to seize opportunities that arise, Geneviève Fortier leads with a steady hand. She is backed by a team of more than 2,000 dedicated employees driven by her example to always strive to go further.
And on behalf of each and every member of our staff, congratulations on this well-deserved new honour!