Marie-Ève Chaumont: a Tribute to Imbalance


As Senior Director, Strategy and Business Development at La Factry, Marie-Ève Chaumont’s mission is to identify the needs of corporate managers and to bring them to a transformative experience through customized training.

Her personal and professional path, marked by research and perpetual motion, enables her to adopt a forward-looking attitude and act as an agent of change for tomorrow’s work. Her secret weapon: going with the flow.

How would you define your role at La Factry?

My role is to understand our customers’ needs and make sure that the product we offer them will have a real impact on their organization. To achieve this, I work in both communications and marketing; in my opinion, these tools go hand in hand to achieve results. I’m learning every day, and I hope I’ll be learning all my life, to improve communication, which is one of the five skills we teach at the Factry. Learning to communicate well, to understand others, to be understood, to be empathetic: it’s the most important thing in the world. For me, it’s an ongoing challenge.

I’m convinced that, to grow, the five skills we teach at the Factry must be our five pillars. I’m lucky enough to work with coaches and teaching teams who know exactly what makes a good communicator.

We recently had a Marketing and Communication meeting, and I told the teams: tomorrow, you have to invite the sales gang; it’s important that employees from all departments talk to each other and develop a cross-functional vision. Without that, you’re talking to yourself and staying in a vacuum.

How did your career path lead you to take on these responsibilities?

I worked for 10 years at the Sid Lee advertising agency, first as a receptionist, then in a production position in the creative department, a sort of funnel between customer requests and the creative team. I managed that team, and then Philippe Meunier [co-founder of Sid Lee] created a position for me, oriented towards the brand to promote the Sid Lee brand.

And then, overnight, I changed everything. I left Sid Lee, which I’d always had tattooed on my heart, to move to Charlevoix and embark on a new professional adventure: the Massif de Charlevoix project with Daniel Gauthier. I worked on the customer experience and events programming for Le Massif’s three poles: the mountain, the train and Hotel La Ferme, which is now Hotel Le Germain. I wanted to put the village on the map. Within three weeks, I had sold my condo on the Plateau, in Montreal, and left with my stock to settle in Charlevoix. A year later, I had a boyfriend, bought a house and was expecting twins.

What do you think motivated your desire to explore new horizons, far removed from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan Montreal and the world of advertising?

I’m terribly motivated to create something that doesn’t exist, even if it can be uncomfortable. Discomfort is a normal phase of creativity and innovation. I wanted to use my experience in innovation to “start” my own company, La Base, on a model that didn’t exist. My aim was to grasp the needs of customers and, through corporate outings, get them to think differently through teamwork. The idea was to get them out of their daily lives and help them solve problems while having fun. I worked with a wide variety of corporate clients-agencies, architectural firms, municipalities, government bodies who didn’t know what to expect from the experience. We created a surprise effect by brainstorming, for example, at the top of a mountain or in a kayak on a river.

This wasn’t team building. We were dealing with real team issues, with support for work organization: strategies, collaboration, communication, succession planning, and so on. My Charlevoix years began in 2013 and ended in 2020, by which time group work had come to an end, due to the pandemic. After a few mandates for Factry as a consultant, I took on a full-time management position on the operational committee as VP. It was a whole new adventure, a mix that now allows me to draw on all my experience. I now work with a team of experts in the best teaching techniques and innovative solutions around the world…

Embracing the unknown-and therefore taking risks-is one of La Factry’s ten ingredients of creativity. How is the risk of failure part of the solution?

You shouldn’t be afraid of your ideas; it doesn’t matter if you’re wrong. The important thing is to try things out, to change practices, to see reality differently. It’s important to put yourself off-balance every day, to be in a situation of openness. Everyone is capable of putting themselves in this position; there’s nothing worse than imagining that there are no other options, whether in your private or professional life. Sometimes it can be frightening, but you always come out the better for it, with many more skills in your baggage.

You have to see what doesn’t work out as a creative springboard rather than a failure. It may take a little naivety, a little carelessness. You can’t over-analyze situations; you have to let your inner voice, your intuition, express itself. You can make sense of everything life throws at you, and not stop at what doesn’t work. Fear of failure and stress can be uncomfortable, but it’s a normal phase of change; it doesn’t last. Change management involves several stages, but something new is being created; if you put up too much resistance, you break innovation. It’s a question of mental posture.

Are you wrong? Go back to square one with the baggage you’ve found in the meantime!
It reminds me of the Wall Street yogi who lost cash and opportunities after being a financial master. Then he became a yogi and learned from it all… If I had… let the ifs go! That’s what kills creativity. Life isn’t a long quiet river: sometimes it’s a river, with rocks appearing, rapids, little water. You have to deal with that, even if you get wet and lose your things. Go with the flow… You get back in the boat and keep going.

Nathalie Schneider

Nathalie Schneider is a journalist specializing in the outdoors and adventure tourism and has a large number of field reports to her credit. She is an outdoor columnist for Le Devoir and occasionally for Radio-Canada radio. She is also interested in subjects related to society, art and the environment.