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Josée Perreault: Using leadership to expand the presence of women in powersports

To mark women’s history month in March, we are proud to highlight the determination, leadership and commitment of several exceptional women, who are making a difference in the powersports arena.

In this first article of a series of 12, we introduce Josée Perreault. Today, Senior Vice-President of Can-Am On-Road, Josée built her expertise internationally for more than 25 years. With a bachelor’s in Urban Planning from the University of Montreal and an MBA from Concordia University, Josée has made her way within big multinationals thanks to her leadership, her ethics and her expertise. After 23 years at Oakley, where she was most recently Senior Vice-President, Global Affairs, Josée joined us in 2016, ready to take on new challenges.

We spoke with Josée to learn more about how she sees the role of women in business.

How have things changed for women since you entered the labour market?

I notice greater efforts to raise awareness of gender equality in employment. This is mostly due to the laws that have been enacted to ensure and accelerate equality of the sexes. And I think it’s important. Laws speed up access for women. Women, just like minorities, need these activators, in my opinion. What counts is the quality of the talent we have, and we need to evaluate skills and expertise first and foremost when we’re recruiting, whatever the area. Laws help us to concentrate on these facts.

"If you're competent, you’ll be respected."

What’s it like to be a woman in the powersports industry?

Of course, there are many more men, both working in the industry and doing these kinds of sports. Female consumers are much more rare than male consumers. This reality does not, however, have an effect on the professional role of women in the industry. If you’re competent, you’ll be respected. I think, rather, that the challenge for women in this industry is to increase the number of female riders. And that’s the challenge I’ve given myself with Can-Am On-Road.

What are you doing to promote women in your industry?

I firmly believe that women should help each other. That's why, every day, I encourage women around me to stand up for themselves, to speak up, and to trust each other. Authenticity is an important strength that enables each of us to command respect, overcome outdated ways of thinking, and climb the ladder.

So, I see myself as a mentor. As Senior Vice-President, my role is to help women be who they are, in order to stifle that feeling of being an impostor that is sometimes still hanging on.

How do you see the future?

I believe the future can only be positive. With greater awareness of gender equality, the business world is moving in the right direction. As new generations come up, mentalities will change. However, women have to keep on helping each other, so we can become more confident and take the place we deserve.