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Ten Questions for Christian Germain |  Grow the company with more employees

Ten Questions for Christian Germain | Grow the company with more employees

Every Friday, someone from the business community reveals themselves in our section. This week, Christian Germain, co-president of Groupe Germain and star of the show In the eye of the dragonanswers our questions.


What do you always carry in your bag?

I always have to be ready to go anywhere in the world, so I always carry my passport with me.

Do you have a mantra?

Getting out of my comfort zone all the time. It's important for me to do things I've never done before. If life gives me this opportunity, I will jump at it.

Your best investment?

When I bought a plane ticket to go to New York in 1986. At that time, when we were looking for ideas, we went there to get inspiration. There was no internet! I was with my brother and we saw the Morgans Hotel on Madison Avenue, which is the first boutique hotel in the world that opened two years ago. This is where it all started.

Your greatest sporting achievement?

When I climbed Mjoun in the central High Atlas of Morocco, more than 10 years ago. It's not the highest mountain in the world, but it's very difficult to walk on, and I made the climb by pitching my own tent every evening. I have climbed other mountains, but Mjoun Peak was my biggest physical challenge.

How can you separate?

I do a sauna and then go to the frozen lake. It's unbelievable! I can assure you that when you are on the ice, you are not thinking about anything else. Going into the water, getting thermal shock, your brain shuts down. It feels good and it's good for everyone. Other than that, walking in the woods helps me disconnect. I also try to be a role model for my grandchildren and put my cell phone away when I'm with them.

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The perfect retirement?

I don't have much idea about retirement. Of course, as we get older, we think about slowing down and there are three words that come to mind: health, fun and engagement. Sharing knowledge and friendship. Throughout my career, things have happened fast, and my life moves fast. For years I haven't had much time to share moments with my friends and I've reached a point in my life where I wish I could spend that time with them. I also support entrepreneurs and I really enjoy it.

Who do you admire in the business world?

Liz Watter. When she came to Quebec, she made an appointment at the same hair salon I was at. I saw it and was very impressed! When you look at what you did and when you did it…being named “Entrepreneur of the Month” in 1983 for example, you should do it! I've known her for a few years and see her from time to time. She is a wonderful woman, always available and giving good advice. He is someone I greatly admire.

What do you do when you need to come up with an idea?

I drive. I really like driving. I really like the road. I love being in my car. Maybe this is the only time I can do just one thing. I'm not the person who will stop, who will scribble on paper and who will say: I have to come up with an idea about this. I put it in my head and let it go. Then when I'm driving, the ideas come.

What is the sentence that you can no longer stand?

Will not work. You want to do something and the person tells you: It won't work. This often happens because people resist change. So instead I tell them: Let's try to find a solution to make it work.

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A good manager is someone who…

He listens. I'm not sure I always knew how to listen… When I started, the models were men and we were not in listening mode, but in “do what I tell you” mode. You have evolved a lot. However, what was there, and what my family passed on to me, was fairness and justice. Important. Coming back to listening, the manager will know which elements in the organization the employee is more or less familiar with, but from the moment you listen and record what people tell you, you can adjust your decision so that employees follow you. A good manager is someone who brings people together to help the company grow, and is also someone who creates jobs that help people grow.

Who is Christiane Germain?

Christiane Germain is co-chairman with her brother Jean-Yves of the family company Germain Hôtels, which owns 19 hotels in Canada under the Le Germain, Alt and Escad brands.

She is also Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Museum of Fine Arts of Quebec.

She comes from a family of businessmen. His parents, Victor and Huguet, became owners of a tobacco shop and lunch counter, Buffet Henri-IV, in 1957.

In the mid-1970s, their father created Casot, a real estate company with more than 1,000 homes (sold in 2003) and 600,000 square feet of commercial buildings while Christian and Jean-Yves learned their skills at several restaurants, including Fiacre and Saint-Eves. Honoré, cousin and coziniere.

With her brother, she founded Germain Hotels in 1988 and opened Canada's first boutique hotel, Germain-des-Prés (now Hotel Alt Québec).

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Le Germain Quebec (formerly Dominion 1912) opened in 1997, the first in Montreal in 1999 and the first outside the province in 2003 in Toronto.

The alternative hotels, environmentally responsible and avant-garde, were launched in 2007.