That's just how I roll— Quebec


Vélo Québec is the guiding force behind Montréal’s much imitated bike culture, a model that is being exported around the world. The woman in the saddle explains how she forged a lean, green urban lifestyle.

Cycling, Transport

“I’m not a preacher,” says Suzanne Lareau, ceo and president of Vélo Québec. “I like to lead through persuasion.” As the figurehead of one of North America’s foremost environmental organisations, she is well aware of the reputation for evangelism people in her game tend to have. “We’re not militants. It’s more effective making constructive proposals than demonising people. In my role I have to be the guardian of that philosophy.”

Founded over 40 years ago, Vélo Québec is the oldest and largest non-profit of its kind in North America, cultivating…

The Rules

1: What time do you like to be at your desk?
Between 8.30 and 9:00, but I start when I wake up with my iPhone and my email.

2: What’s the best place to prepare leaders: at an MBA school or on the job?
On the job. I’m not saying MBA school isn’t good but if you don’t have the fibre to be a manager or a leader you won’t find it at school.

3: How do you describe your management style?
Decentralised. My management team needs autonomy. I can’t make every decision.

4: Are difficult decisions best taken by one person?
Sometimes you have to say ‘it’s going to be like this’, but I prefer to make important decisions with my team.

5: Do you read management books?
No. I don’t think I ever have. I once read a business book about sponsorship but that related specifically to an event I was working on.

6: Do you want to be liked or respected?
It’s natural to want to be liked, but for a leader respect is more important.

7: What does your support team look like?
Passionate. Some are passionate about cycling, others about their job. For me, passion is worth a lot.

8: What technology do you carry on a trip?
I stay posted on my iPhone.

9: Do you run in the morning? Have wine with lunch? Socialise with your team after work?
I don’t run, I’ll have wine, but not with lunch. I don’t often socialise after work – only on special occasions. I go home to my family.

10: What would your key management advice be?
Be efficient. Don’t be a functionary who takes five days to get something done. If you can do it now, do it now. Also, stay grounded and always remember your core goals.


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