The world has a way of making room for people who are not afraid to go the extra mile, fight against all odds and become victorious. Such leaders see the opportunities in every situation, making those opportunities count by doing what needs to be done. They love what they do, and they do what they love.
One such leader is Nadia Malek. Nadia truly loves what she does and believes in the capacity to make an impact. She firmly believes that opportunities are there for those willing to take them. She is the Vice President of Procurement and Administrative Services at Desjardins.
Nadia always works in the best interest of the members and clients of Desjardins to enrich their lives and those of their communities. She inspires her team members to do their best for the clients. She wants to make sure that Desjardins brings value as a supply chain organization and that her team members should feel that they make a difference and are essential to Desjardins’ success.
Desjardins is the financial institution with the largest regional presence in Quebec and is well established in Ontario. It offers its services across Canada and around the world.
Learning and Growing through Challenges
Nadia’s biggest challenge came from within her, not externally. She was the only woman in a mostly male dominated function. She had to walk into board meetings where there was no other woman. Most of the executives she negotiated with were male, but that didn’t bother her much.
Nadia’s challenge came from the fear of accepting roles she wasn’t sure she could handle. Perhaps, she may not have the experience required to succeed and perform to the standards she holds herself accountable to. However, she always gave herself the chance to try to jump in and say, let’s do this. If it doesn’t work, at least she will have learned something so far she can’t complain. That attitude has served her well and led her to all kinds of new challenges.
Nadia is an accountant by trade but never worked a day in accounting. She started her career as a cost analyst for the procurement team at Bell Helicopter Textron. She was later transitioned to the manager of the indirect procurement team, and then the e-business trend came about. She bought the software and was also asked to implement procurement systems. While at Bell, she also completed a two-year Blackbelt program which she highly recommends.
From Bell, Nadia was asked to take CAE’s indirect procurement Director position. Her role was to create, build and implement an indirect procurement department, thus, centralizing a function that was quite decentralized. Here she learned the power of the network and the necessity of communicating clearly and openly with peers and colleagues, and the ability to influence became key.
After four years at CAE (and two kids bringing her family to a total of three kids under eight), Nadia ran away and joined the circus. She accepted a Director of Procurement position at Cirque du Soleil. She was thrilled! Not only was it a new industry, but it was also close to home and daycare. Cirque and Aerospace are worlds apart, to say the least, but as she always says: procurement is procurement. What you buy may differ; however, the process is the same.
After eighteen months in the game, Nadia was approached for the senior director chair. Her group now included shipping and receiving, travel, strategic sourcing, procurement, and customs compliance. Here, she was learning a whole new world and it was quite a ride. They were buying lights, stages, travel, and catering services and had to get trucks and planes across multiple international borders. Again, she gives credit to the team! She learned quite young that the best way to surmount challenges is to hire people smarter than you, and the right people on the right chair make all the difference in the world.
Executing and Achieving Common Goals and Objectives
Nine years later, an opportunity to manage Desjardins’ procurement and administrative services came about. Nadia couldn’t refuse! This was the chance to run one of the biggest procurement organizations in Québec. She went from a team of 40 employees to 400 overnight and more than quadrupled the spend under management. She has to admit that was a little nerve-racking. She again says that the people made the difference.
Nadia says that Desjardin’s culture is unique and focused on its members and clients, but the team in place was amazing. For her, the thought of working for its community and that the dollars the company saved went back into the pockets of its members and clients was gratifying. It’s been quite a journey, and if she has learned one thing, is that passion and conviction are essential elements to success a that each role makes you more humble and makes you grow as a person.
Nadia’s role is to work with her team on establishing vision and strategy and then give them the required tools and support to execute and achieve Desjardins’ common goals and objectives.
Improving Economic and Social Well-being of People
Desjardins’ mission is to improve the economic and social well-being of people and communities within the compatible limits of its field of activity.
- By continually developing an integrated cooperative network of secure and profitable financial services, owned and administered by the members, as well as a network of complementary financial organizations with competitive returns, controlled by the members.
- By educating people, particularly members, officers, and employees, about democracy, economics, solidarity, and individual and collective responsibility.
Creating Meaning and Common Purpose
At Desjardins, its values are linked to its cooperative nature. They guide the decisions of its employees, managers, and board members. They help boost engagement and serve as a benchmark to inspire its actions and create meaning and a common purpose within the organization.
- Money at the service of human development
- Personal commitment
- Democratic action: “one member, one vote” principle.
- Integrity and rigor
- Solidarity with the community
Desjardins has always been at the forefront of social and technological issues, and this new era fits perfectly with its core values.
Doing Best for Members and Clients
Desjardins’ cultural shift is based on always doing what’s best for its members and clients. It aims to enrich the lives of people and communities and become everyone’s number one choice. It hopes to achieve this goal by doing what’s best for members and clients.
Desjardins provides members and clients with the best experience to build a strong, trusting relationship with them. It wants to make sure that its members always receive the advice, product, or service that meets their needs to be financially independent. Doing what’s best for members and clients is one of the founding principles of Desjardins.