When on November 9, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly, named Madeleine Féquière as Canada’s Consul General in Chicago, it represented another step upward in the spectacular career of this high achieving Montrealer.
“I feel as if I have been training 35 years for this,” she told the Contact in a recent telephone interview. “I will bring to it everything that I’ve acquired over the years, including my knowledge of geopolitical trends, international commerce as well as my experience in corporate credit administration.”
The position places her at head of one of Canada’s most important foreign service mission and heaps a lot of responsibilities on her shoulders. The Chicago consular has jurisdiction over Illinois, Indiana (Jasper, Lake, Laporte, Newton, and Porter counties), Kansas City, Kansas, Missouri and Wisconsin and represent the third largest population base in the United States.
It’s an economic corridor that accounts for more than $60 billion in annual trade with Canada.
Ms. Féquière who most recently served as the corporate credit chief at Domtar Corporation will also be taking with her the wide-ranging leadership capabilities she has acquired along the way, working with some of the world’s leading companies.
Ms. Féquière holds a directors education program diploma in governance from the Rotman School of Management of the University of Toronto, an ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors, a mini-MBA from the McGill Executive Institute and a certificate in finance from HEC Montréal jointly with the Credit Institute of Canada.
Her experience in corporate governance serving as a board member of Investissement Québec, the University of Montréal and an expert panel member of the Canadian Centre for the Purpose of the Corporation.
Ms. Féquière will also be managing a budget of six to seven million dollars along with a staff of 12 to provide a range of governmental services that include, citizenship, notarial, passport, educational and visa and immigration.
Her approach to the job, which she officially starts in February, is not unlike anything else that she has done in the past, she says.
“I’m going to take probably the first hundred days to familiarize myself with the job and the surroundings.” she says. “ Eventually I’ll have an opportunity to instil my expertise and experience, but we have to understand that the mission has been in place for a long time and already has its mandate, so it’s not for me to recreate anything.”
Her appointment comes a few months after she was named as member of the Order of Canada by Governor General Mary Simon.
Her involvement in both French and English sectors of the community reaches back decades, having worked and contributed to the development of the MABBP, the Mathieu DaCosta Foundation as well as many other institutions.
At a recent tribute evening hosted by the The Afro-Canadian Cultural Centre of Montreal, students and supporters joined family members and friends at a packed Oval Room at the Ritz Carlton in downtown Montreal to sing the praises of Ms. Féquière and the impact she has had on their lives.
As she transitions to her new role as a diplomat, Ms. Féquière says she is thankful for the opportunities she has had to serve the Black community as well as Montreal, Quebec and Canada.
“I’m happy to have been part of the building process,” she says. “But more importantly I’m excited about what I seen in many of our young leaders. Inspite of the many social challenges that our community faces, these young men and women are well-educated, well-travelled and well-positioned to lead our community into the future.”