"What makes Desjardins different?" is an interview series with employees who make Desjardins what it is: a cooperative that works for its members and clients. From programmers to field agents, find out what drives them at work every day.

Marie-Christine Marcoux works as a commercial account manager for a Desjardins Business centre in Lévis. Jobs like hers are often overlooked or go unnoticed.

First of all, what does an account manager do?

At Desjardins, account managers get to see how things work in various sectors, giving them the opportunity to learn and grow. Desjardins Business support members in 3 main sectors: agri-food, commercial and real estate. Some of my colleagues who work elsewhere in Desjardins specialize in international business, investment and even support for large enterprises. My own role in the commercial sector is to help business members with their daily operations. I help them manage their day-to-day finances and major projects, like acquisitions and expansions. We listen to their needs and goals so that we can help them grow.

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What are your main challenges as an account manager?

To be a successful account manager, you need to be able to connect with people and build trust quickly.

Entrepreneurs face various challenges as their businesses grow, plus there's always the unexpected, like the pandemic we're in right now. We're there for them at those times too. It's what makes the difference and it's an opportunity for us to strengthen our business relationship.

What kind of education do you need?

For a solid foundation that will let you grow as an account manager and the knowledge required to support our entrepreneurs, you need a bachelor's in finance or administration. But there are quite a few paths that could work. I'd say that experience, personality and the drive to help entrepreneurs are equally important.

During your interview, recruiters will want to see how well you interact with others. They'll put you in a situation where they can assess your judgment and analytical skills. That helps recruiters find candidates who might have been overlooked because they didn't technically meet the education requirements.

How did you become an account manager?

In my case, I didn't choose my job--my job chose me! When I was at university, I did a placement at a Desjardins caisse (credit union) and started working as a financial services agent. It gave me the opportunity to build relationships and work with the account managers' business members, so I took the plunge. Eventually, I got my account manager job. It's a career with a lot of potential for anyone who wants to learn about the reality of business owners.

What do you like most about your job?

The relationships that I can build with business owners. There are rules to follow, but there's a personal element to it as well. I focus on building long-term relationships, and my business members are practically family!

What does a typical workday look like?

Honestly, no 2 days are the same. I spend some days doing my usual tasks and other days doing more administrative work or meeting with people offsite or in the office.

With everything we're going through because of the pandemic, my meetings with colleagues and clients are pretty different! We have a lot of online meetings these days. We had to adjust our ways of working with entrepreneurs, of course, but even though we're physically distanced, we feel as close as ever.

Networking is a major part of our days too. We attend a lot of events to grow our networks, connect with colleagues, enrich our professional skills and meet new folks. For example, I'm involved in local networks and organizations like the Réseau Femmes en Mouvement (a network for women in the business sector at Desjardins) and the Association of Quebec Women in Finance.

I also block off time to meet with the business members I work with. As much as is feasible and safe these days, I like to visit and see how they're doing. They love talking to me about their businesses and I love seeing them in action.

Why did you decide to work at Desjardins?

I'm from Quebec City, which is very close to Lévis. And Lévis practically has "Desjardins" written all over it. I became a Desjardins member at the School Caisse in my elementary school. I've always appreciated Desjardins's cooperative nature and how it's involved in the community.

I have a very Desjardins mindset: I work in a team, I work with everybody, and I work for everybody. It's really motivating when I see that we're accomplishing things together!

I also like that I have freedom here. We're encouraged to think differently, be creative and come up with ideas to continually improve.

How is your manager? Do you have flexibility at work?

My manager is very thoughtful, and I can talk to her about things in my personal life that might affect my work. She's willing to help me find solutions. My hours are very flexible. I also need to go out and meet with clients offsite, and my manager is open-minded and really understanding about it.

Not a lot of women pursue careers as account managers. What would you say to a woman who's considering it?

"Believe in yourself! Business owners need women around them." We women are structured and organized, and we can help business owners succeed. Being an account manager is really rewarding and has a lot of potential.

If someone asked you why they should work at Desjardins, what would you tell them?

I'd tell them that anything is possible at Desjardins. Someone who sets goals, gets involved and is willing to learn can go far. There are a lot of challenging and exciting opportunities. Plus, there are always new ways of doing things, so forward-thinkers can be happy at Desjardins for a very long time. There's always something new.

Learn more by visiting Desjardins Careers' website.

Apply here! 👉 Account Manager (myworkdayjobs.com)

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