A Q&A with Annie Lemieux
A Q&A with Annie Lemieux
REAL ESTATE PROFILE
Montreal Gazette · 24 Sep 2016 · LORRI BENEDIK
Annie Lemieux, the vibrant president of LSR GesDev, has achieved what appears to be a perfect work/ life balance. Not easy when your roles include businesswoman, mom, sports enthusiast and philanthropist. She describes the road to entrepreneurship as “a nice adventure” and says that, despite being very busy, every aspect of her life is energizing because she is having so much fun. We met at her office, in StLambert.
Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in the South Shore community of Brossard. My father (Serge Lemieux) was a fabulous builder. He founded LSR in 1969 and was the visionary behind Le Rive Droite, a threephase luxury condo project in StLambert, built in 1986. It was the first development of its kind in the area. My family moved there when I was in college (JeandeBrébeuf ). I continued my studies at Montreal’s Polytechnique, acquiring a civil engineering degree.
Did you always want a career in real estate?
Not really; I was very involved in sports. I played basketball and won national championships in volleyball and hockey. Friends of my parents expressed concern: “What will Annie do when she grows up? She only likes to play!” For a time I wanted to be a sports broadcaster and took courses to follow this dream. But I changed my mind when I saw how competitive it was — and not in a good way.
Can you explain?
As a player on a sports team, one goes all out to win. But I never once experienced the sentiment of wanting someone else to fail. In my broadcasting pursuit I witnessed an element of enjoyment when a classmate did not do well. That’s when I knew it was not for me. I closed that door and moved on.
What came next?
After university I worked for CIMA+ Engineering for two years. Then I joined my dad at LSR. Although I was just 25, he put me in charge of a project. His confidence meant a lot because his reputation was everything to him. I met the challenge and we continued to work sidebyside. My father was my mentor; everything I learned about this business came from him. Sadly, he passed away five years ago. Each day, I strive to uphold his values. He taught me that, first and foremost, we must satisfy our stakeholders — business partners, clients, employees and society.
What are you working on now?
We have two projects with our partners MarcAndré Roy (Sotramont) and MarieAndrée Boutin, which both feature the talents of interior designer Stéphanie Cardinal (Huma Design).
The first is Arbora, in Griffintown — with its solid wood frame of crosslaminated timber panels, seeking a LEED (Leadership in Energy &; Environmental Design) platinum accreditation. The project comprises 434 condos, townhouses and rental units. The second is Vic&;Lambert, in StLambert — aiming for LEED gold, a first for the South Shore. This development will consist of 50 condo units on eight floors. The location offers a stunning view of the Montreal skyline. It is just a few blocks from the village, with its charming shops and cafés. Vic&;Lambert is special to me because it was my father’s dream. It will bring new people to StLambert and contribute to the town’s evolution. I will be moving in, with my family.
What do you enjoy when you are not working?
My husband and I have two children: a daughter, 14, who does cheerleading, and a son, 11, who plays hockey and is a huge professional sports fan. I love watersports, golf, tennis and cycling. We are a busy family but I can still be lured outside to throw around a football. Another of my passions is philanthropy. I do fundraising for Hôpital SainteJustine, cancer research, and other worthy causes.
Will you share your secret for doing it all?
Running a successful business is like leading a winning sports team. Organization is of utmost importance and multitasking is essential. Another key is in recruiting great people. All of my employees have areas of expertise and are positioned to optimize their strengths. I believe in their abilities and delegate important tasks to them. Sometimes their way may be different from mine — but results speak for themselves.
What puts the spring in your step?
I am motivated by three things: continuing my father’s legacy, giving back through philanthropy and, most importantly, being a role model for my children. I want them to understand the value of hard work — not for potential wealth but for the feeling of wellbeing you get from contributing to society. I tell my kids: “You wake up in the morning and you work.” I dream that someday they will join me at LSR. My hope is for them to understand how exceptional their grandfather was and to follow in his footsteps with pride. My father was my mentor; everything I learned about this business came from him. ... Each day, I strive to uphold his values (and) I dream that someday (my kids) will join me at LSR. My hope is for them to ... follow in his footsteps with pride.