That loud crashing sound heard across Canada on Feb. 16, 2005 was
the sound of Isabelle Hudon smashing through the glass ceiling of
the Montreal Board of Trade.
The venerable 7,000-member organization had just appointed Isabelle
its first female president/CEO in its 200 year history.. The
selection committee made the right choice. Isabelle had recently
received the prestigious “40 under 40” award, an annual business
award presented to 40 business leaders under 40 years of age. Over
1,000 nominations were received from across Canada.
“I underestimated the impact the award would have, not just on me,
but also on my team here in Montreal. It was very emotional,” says
Isabelle, a single mother with a 10-year-old son.
Born and raised in Beauharnois, Que., she took business courses at
various colleges and universities, including Carleton University in
“I was not a dedicated academic person,” she says.
To have reached this degree of success while still under 40 is an
achievement. But this is not the only accomplishment of this
high-energy person .She has held key PR management positions at Bell
Global Solutions, the Canadian Space Agency, Bombardier Aerospace,
BCE Media, and was executive assistant to Mila Mulroney. Now you
understand the reason she was selected to be the Board of Trade’s
first female president/CEO in 200 years.
When you ask Isabelle to give advice to other young people wishing
to achieve, she says, “ Get a dream and get a career that wakes you
up every morning...be happy and go for your dream but keep your feet
on the ground. Too often I find young people trying to fit in where
they don’t belong. When that happens they don’t perform. Find a
career that you are happy in. Remember that up to 70 per cent of
your time is spent working. You need to find a career you are happy
Watching her walk up to receive her award I just knew that here was
someone who will continue to achieve and crash through ceilings for
many years to come.
Photo credit Marie-Claude Hamel
Read more about Isabelle Hudon