Joining a fast-growing company has its own set of challenges and opportunities. Opened in 2013, the Coveo office in San Francisco is full of passionate people, including two young women from Quebec City. They both seem to be well-established, but far from losing their attachment to their hometown. Here are the inspirational journeys of Marie-Michèle Caron and Rosalie Girard.
Marie-Michèle, the young veteran
Dreaming of a business career since she was young, Marie-Michèle Caron had worked in the telecommunications sector and managed business missions for Canadian companies abroad when Coveo got her attention. In 2012, she went to have a coffee with Claude-Antoine Tremblay, now HR director. He had recently published a job offer that was superbly worded, with phrases such as “Come contribute to the international development of the company.
“What a disappointment… “The job was to make cold calls all day”. Claude-Antoine nevertheless convinced her to meet with the vice-president of marketing, who was visiting Quebec City. “As the meeting progresses, I realize she’s interviewing me for the position I’m not interested in. I repeated gently that I did not see myself doing that at all. But C-A had not said his last word. He called her again, and convinced her to meet Louis Têtu, who was president at the time. “He was really tough with me! We still don’t have quite the same versions of this meeting!”, she jokes.
She finally agreed to a three-month trial in the Marketing team, with the mandate to launch a partner program. At the time, Coveo had fewer than 60 employees, in a small office that had nothing to do with today’s beautiful spaces. “It allowed me to understand the product and soon after, I was specifically assigned to Coveo for Sitecore, that had just been launched. I managed to get a list of 400 partners and I called each one of them, one by one, to offer them a Coveo demo. Let me tell you , very few of them have not seen the demo! “. She also started attending all the events organized by the very active Sitecore community. Things were going well.
Bye bye Quebec
In the fall of 2015, Coveo’s leadership wanted to take the company’s presence in the US to the next level. With the expertise she had acquired, Marie-Michèle was tasked with building the alliance with Salesforce. The opportunity to relocate to the Bay Area had become a reality. The human resources team worked hard to help her obtain the visas needed to make this project a reality. “I always wanted to go work elsewhere and I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. Three months later, I was there!”
Initially, she worked from home. “It was more like a one-room apartment! San Francisco is a great city, but the rents are exorbitant. I clearly felt the gap compared to my big house in Quebec.” She also noted that moving to another country is no easy task You have to find a new bank, a doctor, a dentist, and so on. “It’s almost like changing your entire identity!” She says ironically.
In the following month, Marie-Michèle worked to develop the partnership with Salesforce. She became Director of Alliances and Partnerships in 2015, then Senior Director in 2018. Her vision of success? “If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, let’s go together! I can only emphasize the importance of people around me, competent people who have nurtured and stimulated me professionally.”
Then she put down roots
After more than three years there, is she planning to return to Canada? “There is so much to do! There are still plenty of projects and challenges for me here in San Francisco,” Marie-Michèle says, who will soon get her green card. “I have lots of friends here and I get regular visits from Quebec.
“Even though I live in the United States, I feel that I am helping to build wealth in Quebec. I know that we have a real impact by creating interesting professional opportunities for young Quebecers,” she explains. In January, at the 2019 Sales Kick-Off, our CEO announced that Marie-Michèle Caron was promoted to Vice-President of Alliances, becoming responsible for overseeing the entire Alliance strategy. In the end … we must admit Claude-Antoine’s job post was telling the truth!
Unlike Marie-Michèle, Rosalie was already in California when she joined Coveo much more recently, in August 2018.
Rosalie currently works as a Business Value Consultant for Coveo. I asked her if she had always known what kind of career she wanted to have. “I did not have a precise idea. Someone once told me that I should work in sales. I’m not far!” says the young woman.
Before joining Coveo, Rosalie had already moved a lot. Her career had brought her to Argentina, Peru, Chile, northern Quebec, and more recently to Minnesota and Wyoming … and all this before the age of 25! It is through these diverse experiences that she decides to make her way towards the high tech ecosystem.
Passion and patience
“Being from Quebec City, I knew a bit about Coveo a little. I looked to see if there was an office in San Francisco.”This is how Rosalie went for a chat with Marie-Michèle. This was the beginning of many discussions that continued for a few months. Until Mark Floisand, Chief Marketing Officer, decided to launch a program that matched her skills. That’s the benefit of a company that is growing so fast, things are changing fast, creating a lot of opportunities.
Her role is to develop a practice that aims to measure and maximize the financial value Coveo brings to his clients. Added to this is strategic intelligence, and working closely with potential and existing customers to identify, prioritize and quantify performance indicators. It is with these indicators that we can clearly demonstrate and achieve the ambitious strategic and financial objectives of our clients.
Patience is at the heart of her vision of her career. If she could go back in time, and talk to her 16-year-old self, the advice she would give is: “Hang in there! Your dreams will come true!” Wisdom she regularly shares with the youngest employees and trainees, here at Coveo.
Make these years count
Like Marie-Michèle, Rosalie is very happy in the Golden State. Working for a Quebec company, with Quebec colleagues, in such a stimulating environment is, in her eyes, the ideal scenario. (And by the way, she recently married an American!).
“The main advantage in San Francisco is the network of contacts. There are so many tech companies here that I have found a whole community of professionals doing the same thing as me. It allows me to interact with passionate people and it pushes me forward professionally. I really try to make the most of it all, to make these years count.”
In the US, Coveo has employees in about 20 states, several of them working from home. “I’m sharing my time between the Salesforce Tower and my house, which is a five minute drive from the beach. It’s really my haven of peace by the sea. Hard not to be jealous, right?
Marie-Michèle and Rosalie have seized the opportunities that a fast-growing company like Coveo provides. Consult our open positions; the #CoveoLife is waiting for you!