Lise Déziel’s career path has been an unusual one at best. She had always wanted to be a dietitian, but at the end of the 1990s she changed directions and began work in the field of commercial quality control, a job that required her to monitor the production of a number of different kinds of products. Then, in 2010, she launched Cordé Électrique, a company specializing in the production of cable harnesses – electrical cables and wires that transmit electrical power.
The Valcourt, Quebec-based entrepreneur hasn’t looked back since. Company revenues have been growing by double digits over the last couple of years, and she recently won the Lowe’s Accroissement de la productivité prize, awarded at the 2017 edition of the prestigious Les Mercuriades contest. It’s a contest that celebrates innovation, ambition, entrepreneurship and performance.
Déziel knew nothing about the electrical wiring industry, but after leaving her dietitian job, she became a coordinator at Megatech, a machinery company located in the Montérégie region. Her main task was ensuring certain quality standards were met, but while she was there she learned about the production of cable harnesses for various electrical systems. “It was love at first sight!” she exclaims. “It’s a very specialized field, which inspired my creative side.” It was also there that she met her future husband, a fellow engineer.
She and her husband moved to Quebec’s Eastern Townships, where they founded an electrical wiring business. The project didn’t go anywhere, so she returned briefly to her work as a dietitian. But her heart wasn’t in her old job anymore. “I’d been working in the field of electrical wiring for 15 years by then,” she says. “It was my life.”
Déziel values her position as a successful businesswoman in a male-dominated field, and wants to encourage women all over to start their own companies.
After Déziel realized that she didn’t want to give up on her dream, she launched Cordé Électrique. She continued working as a dietitian until the business took off – and she even paid her staff out of the money she made at her old job.
Today, Cordé Électrique has around 60 employees. It’s a proud Quebec business that also serves markets in Ontario and the United States. For Déziel, growing her company is paramount, but she also strives to give her employees a high quality of life by, for example, providing longer break times during the day. Being good to her staff is one of her guiding principles, especially now that her two adult children work for the business, too.
Déziel also values her position as a successful businesswoman in a male-dominated field, and wants to encourage women all over to start their own companies. “Only 13 percent of business owners in Quebec are women,” she says. She has experienced first-hand how leading by example can inspire a new generation of women, and she’s started to see more women enter her field and others as well. “I can feel the winds of change blowing through the Quebec business world,” she says.