Rachelle Caron has spent over three decades helping build Westburne and investing in a team that will undoubtedly carry on the incredible work she’s contributed during her time here. As Rachelle gets ready to begin her retirement, we wanted to take some time to acknowledge her contributions and get her advice for the next generation of professionals at Westburne.
So Rachelle, when did you start working at Westburne?
After working at an accounting firm for three years, I joined a HVAC and refrigeration distributor as a controller and assistant to the GM 31 years ago. The distributor was acquired three years later by Westburne, which is how I started working here. After nine years in that role, I was promoted controller for the Eastern region at Westburne.
How did you get into the general manager role?
I had a vision of what I could do to make Westburne a better company. It took a lot of dedication, persistence, and some great people who coached me and supported me in getting where I wanted to go.
On April 1st of 2002 I was promoted to General Manager, which in a lot of ways was a bit of a surprise! As a young woman with an accounting background, it was a shift in the dynamic for a lot of people, but I had developed a reputation as a hard worker with fresh ideas.
What challenges did you face getting into this role, and how did you overcome them?
It was, and to a certain degree still is, a male dominated industry, so building my reputation and credibility was extremely important. I worked closely with people on the team and got a lot of help from them to make sure I could learn the sales side of the business. It was important for me to prove myself to the team, just as it would be for anyone.
The best advice I could give is don`t be afraid of taking on challenges or letting stigma influence what you want to accomplish.
In the past 30 years, what’s the biggest change you’ve seen at Westburne?
It would have to be the speed of change and evolution of technology. It forced us to develop new skills and expertise so we could support the constant evolution of customer’s needs. Before we were selling products, now we need to sell solutions.
What would you like to see for Westburne in the next 30 years?
More women in leadership roles! I hope I have sent a strong message that women can succeed in a man’s world. I’d like to see Westburne become “the” distributor to work for because of our dynamic workplace and the range of careers we offer. We are working in a dynamic industry which presents many opportunities, including energy savings, renewables, LED, and now Industry 4.0. The future belongs to those who can anticipate changes and adapt to them quickly.
What contribution are you most proud of from your time at Westburne?
I led the division and helped make Westburne the second leading provider in the Quebec market, all while building a solid & dynamic team. Our team has contributed to a lot of changes and will continue to win market share. I am convinced they will accomplish great things!
Rachelle’s positive impact on Westburne will be felt for years to come. We wish her all the best in her retirement, and luck in her future endeavours.