Not So Average Jane: Loving leadership
Johanne Bouchard makes her mark in Big Sky and beyond
Johanne Bouchard is big into STEM, having majored in databases as a computer engineer. She has been tremendously successful in her career and became a powerhouse in Silicon Valley “opening the ways for not treating international as an afterthought, defining and focusing tech companies’ strategies and empowering healthy leadership as an executive leader and as an entrepreneur.” A Celine Dion super fan, she’s seen over a dozen concerts, showing her support for the singer, who grew-up in the neighboring town in Quebec.
She is way more than her extensive resume. Upon settling in Big Sky part time a few years ago, she set about mentoring area women – wanting them to realize their full potential “as they impact through their leadership.” Bouchard is also someone who actively advocates for board diversity. From C level corporate to small non-profits, she feels the inclusion of qualified women and minorities fosters stronger leadership and better decisions.
She also believes that the honor and responsibility of serving on a board should be approached with reverence, intention and a level of preparation.
Bouchard believes individuals who want to serve on boards should be prepared to do so, so she created a blog that now has a worldwide following to drive the conversation and address some of the questions of board leadership and governance.
Her business and board philosophy extends into her life philosophy. It seems that to Bouchard one cannot exist independent of the other. How a person chooses to live determines how they will function in business and in volunteer capacities.
She speaks to interconnectedness and to the larger goal of simply helping one another through life.
Bouchard asks these questions of herself and of those she mentors: “‘Did I contribute to making the world a better place? Did I contribute to creating healthier links? Because we are all part of a chain – what we choose to do now impacts our legacy.”
She speaks animatedly, showing we have tapped-into a subject matter she loves.
“We have to think that we are a part of a past before us and there are a lot people who suffered and made enormous sacrifices to bring the world to where it is. Often people forget,” she said.
She and her husband are cognizant of the hard work and sacrifices that came before – the people who built the trails they hike and the roads upon which they drive – the sweat and blood equity that has molded the United States and the rest of the world into what it is today.
“We will go for a drive somewhere or go for a hike and we will be thankful for the people who might have never been recognized in their lifetime for having built these gorgeous roads that we are taking… I mean, can you imagine? They took years to build. They were probably never seeing the results of their effort. They died in the process or it took too long,” she explained.
There has been a tragic shift in the mentality of modern society, both in business and in life, she explained.
“Now, we focus on the result more than the process and the essence of making the journey as good and conscious as it can be,” she said.
Bring the right people to the table, take the time to ask the appropriate questions and do not feel rushed.
“There’s always time to sit back and think about the things that you need to do, but we always think that there’s not enough time – so then we hurry,” she said. She encourages people to step back and think through what they need that is utterly essential and reflect on what is right before taking action. In the end, one of the most pivotal decisions any company and any person can make is to decide how to treat others.
When she is not out saving the corporate world and mentoring area women, she can be found on a hiking trail or shredding down a mountain.