BCom students honour their role models at 41st DMAA

On February 5, Desautels students, faculty and alumni came together to honour four prominent industry leaders at a first ever virtual edition of the Desautels Management Achievement Awards (DMAA).

Organized by BCom students, the DMAA ceremony was established in 1979 to honour leaders who have made a significant and valuable contribution the Canadian economy and way of life through their success in business and their involvement in the community.

McGill’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor Suzanne Fortier kicked off the ceremony with welcoming remarks followed by a presentation of this year’s Young Inspiration Award to Arianna Rehak (BA’15), Co-Founder and CEO of Matchbox Virtual Media. This award applauds young leaders who have proven success in their industry despite their age.

“I’m so grateful for this award for so many reasons, but mainly it caused me to reflect on the last few years,” said Rehak. “Every single day for me is a passionate day. It’s not always a good day for me, my mentors or my family who are there to answer the phone, but it’s always, always a passionate day.”

There were two recipients of the Management Achievement Award this year: geneviève bich (BA’87) and Conrad Sauvé (IMHL’14).

As Vice President, Human Resources at Metro Inc., bich was named to The Globe and Mail’s list of Canada’s 50 Best Executives of 2020. She is also a member of the Board of Hydro-Québec.

“One of the things I tell my team often, beyond taking care of each other and the people we’re responsible for, is the past is experience, the present is experiment and the future is expectation,” said bich. “Use your experience to experiment and exceed your expectations.”

Sauvé is the President and CEO of the Canadian Red Cross. Under his leadership, the organization has made significant contributions in the wake of multiple large-scale domestic and international emergencies.

“I’m very honoured and touched by this recognition,” said Sauvé. “I went back to school in my 50s and that’s been an important part of my learning journey. I made connections there that are still very important to me, and I want to salute all my colleagues who are with me here today.”

Rounding out the ceremony was the distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Larry Tanenbaum, O.C., Hon LLD. An accomplished operating executive and private equity investor with a distinguished record of public service to a variety of organizations, Tanenbaum was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2007. Tanenbaum sits on the advisory board of the Montreal Neurological Institute and is one of the co-founders of the Tanenbaum Open Science Institute at The Neuro.

If you have a passion for whatever you’re doing, the chances of success are so much more advanced,” said Tanenbaum.

The event concluded with a student-moderated panel discussion, with the four honourees sharing their experiences working at the top of their respective fields.

“While planning this unique and unprecedented edition of the DMAAs, the organizing committee truly relied on the values of the awards – resilience, pushing ahead and innovation,” said Lea Charron-Duhamel, one of the event’s co-chairs. “Honouring such inspiring and influential role models was an incredible experience, and we thank everyone involved for making it a great success.”

While no hands were shaken nor business cards swapped this time, students and alumni alike were no less excited to celebrate, connect and engage with each other through their screens during a very memorable edition. “DMAA is a perfect example of what can be achieved when we come together, work together, and build together,” said Morty Yalovsky, Interim Dean of the Desautels Faculty of Management.

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