REACHING NEW HEIGHTS
Even in these challenging times, we’re discovering people who are rising to the top and creating positive change as they help literally build the world. Corinne Dutil—musician, artist and Sales Director for one of the world’s largest construction elevator companies, Fraco in Quebec, Canada—took time to tell us her story, and what it’s like working for a women-led company.
Fraco in Quebec, Canada designs and manufactures state-of-the-art construction and permanent industrial elevators. The company is run by sisters Julie and Emmanuelle, who bring their passion for progress to every project.
The Kodiak Interview with Corinne Dutil
KODIAK: So tell us, how did 29-year-old Corinne Dutil end up as the Sales Director for a construction elevator company like Fraco?
CORINNE: (laughs) Well, it’s not what I set out to do. I was more of an artist and musician—the dramatic one, the emotional one. I did actually grow up in a construction family, but that made me positive that I wouldn’t ever want to work in the construction industry.
K: "Yet here you are! Take us on that journey."
C: It started when I was working at a school for entrepreneurs and I met a lovely woman named Julie, who was co-president of Fraco with her sister Emmanuelle. When we met, we knew in our souls we were meant to be friends.
K: Love at first sight?
C: Exactly! She said to me, “I know you don’t think you want to work in construction—but come see what we do. I’ll make a role for you.”
K: And you had no experience in construction yourself?
C: None! But she created the role of Brand Ambassador and it was perfect. Well, it was perfect because she gave me the freedom to make it perfect.
K: What does a Brand Ambassador for Fraco do?
"I always focus on the humans, because that’s the heart of any company."
C: I focused on people. That’s what I do. I always focus on the humans, because that’s the heart of any company. I started making videos that celebrate our people—and we shared them on social media.
K: And they found an audience?
C: They really did. There weren’t a lot of companies in construction that were bringing people to the forefront—telling the human side of the story. And they took off—the videos found an audience.
K: How did you make the leap—the big leap—to Sales Director?
C: Good question! Julie came to me and said, “You’re going to be sales director.” And I was like, “What?!” I told her I’d be over my head, but she had confidence in me and that gave me confidence in myself.
K: As Sales Director, who are you directing?
C: All men! (laughs) I work with the most amazing team. Obviously I couldn’t hide that I was a 29-year-old woman with almost no experience in construction, so I was honest. I said, “I’m here to help you—to understand your challenges and help you solve them. I want to learn.” That level of honesty and being true to myself, that’s how I was able to be comfortable and define my role.
K: And how did they respond?
C: At first they tested me, but with time we all developed trust in each other and became a real team. We really talk, we really open up to each other. We’re very different people, but we have the same goals.
K: How would you describe working for a women-led company?
C: I don’t think I can generalize, but I can talk specifically about the women I work for. They’re caring and guiding—almost motherly at times—but also very business-focused and in control. It’s a wonderful balance.
"Just say yes... But when opportunities come, grab them. "
K: Last question for you: If you could give advice to a woman who wants to get into the construction industry, what would you tell her?
C: I would tell her that when opportunities come her way—not just in her career but in life—to say yes right away. Just say yes. As a woman, I think sometimes we’re conditioned to think things over more. But say yes and see where it leads you. You can always steer things differently later and make different decisions. But when opportunities come, grab them.