We Must Commit to Advancing Women

Monique F. Leroux is the Chair of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Desjardins Group. She also chairs the boards of directors of Caisse centrale Desjardins, Desjardins Trust and Desjardins Venture Capital, in addition to presiding over the Desjardins Group Management Committee. As a member of Desjardins Group senior management since 2001, Monique F. Leroux held the position of President of Desjardins Financial Corporation and Chief Executive Officer of its subsidiaries. From 2004 to 2008, she was also Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Desjardins Group. Before joining Desjardins, Ms. Leroux enjoyed a remarkable career as a high-level manager in the world of finance.

Ms. Leroux is currently a member of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and the Founders' Council of the Québec Global 100 network. She is also a member of the United Nations IYC Advisory Group (International Year of Cooperatives, UN), member of the Board and the Executive Committee of the European Association of Co-operative Banks, Vice-President and member of the Board of Directors of the International Confederation of Popular Banks (CIBP), member of the Table des partenaires influents (roundtable of influential partners) of the Ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine and member of the Catalyst Canada Advisory Board. She is also a member of the Conference Board of Canada, the Global Agenda Council, the World Economic Forum, HEC Montréal's Council of Governors and the Governing Board of Montréal International.

Monique F. Leroux holds honorary doctorates from Concordia University, Bishop's University and Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, her alma mater. Fellow of the Ordre des comptables agréés du Québec (Order of Chartered Accountants of Quebec) and the Quebec CMA Order, she was also President of the Ordre des comptables agréés du Québec and served on the Board of Governors of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Ms. Leroux is very involved in community works and also generously lends her time to a host of not-for-profit organizations. She is, for example, acting as President of the Canada Summer Games to be held in Sherbrooke in 2013.

Monique F. Leroux lives in Montreal with her husband and their daughter.


  • Transcript


Monique Leroux: It is quite important to have more [women] on boards, but a significant impact will be first to work to have more [women] in senior management positions.  I guess that that’s really a context where the CEO has a more direct influence.  You can have in your organization programs--mentoring, coaching, networking--which will help [women] to progress in the organization.  And if you have that progress and this evolution with more women taking more senior roles, obviously you will have a larger funnel of candidates to go on boards going forward.  So that’s a very important step. 

You need to be committed.  Personally, as a Chairperson of Desjardins Group and CEO of our organization, I’m very committed to have better representation, and it starts at the top.  If you don’t have that commitment, it will not happen.  There will be a lot of issues, problems--anti-selection, if I may say it that way--that will, you know, eliminate some very good candidates to go to the top positions.  

So, for example, we have more than 60 percent [women] in terms of our senior managers; board members—more than 30 percent, which is quite impressive.  I’m not saying that everything is resolved, but I think that we are making a lot of progress because we are committed to that objective and we want to make the difference.  

Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd