Inspiring future entrepreneurs

February 1, 2016


Nicole Bourque-Bouchier is ready to share her story of success with Aboriginal business students

As Nicole Bourque-Bouchier begins her year as MacEwan University’s 30th Allard Chair in Business, the dynamic entrepreneur looks forward to mentoring the next generation of business leaders.

The CEO and co-owner of the Bouchier Group is one of 2015’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada, Alberta Venture’s 50 Most Influential Albertans, and the most prominent businesspeople in the Northern Alberta region. Along with her husband, Dave, Nicole oversees the Bouchier Group, which includes a heavy equipment contracting company, a general oil industry service provider, and a technical resource service.

“It’s important, more than anything else, to raise awareness of women in nontraditional roles and Aboriginal people in business, especially in our Wood Buffalo Region,” she says.

As the first Allard chair from the Wood Buffalo Region, she wants to share her company’s story of success with Aboriginal business students in hopes of inspiring future entrepreneurs.

Q: What was it like to build a company with your husband?

NBB: He started it on his own as a side venture. In 2002/2003, we were picking up winter work at Canadian Natural Resources’ Horizon site, and it was really taking off. We saw the need to pick up more work on that site, so we made the decision to leave our jobs.

I entered my new role very much in support of Dave as the entrepreneur, never realizing that I was also. I always told myself I was there to help him out. It’s been an interesting journey for me for the last 12 years because through everything, I found my own kind of entrepreneurship. I didn’t have the confidence in myself to believe that it was there, and it was something that I gained and learned over the years.

Q: When did you change your mindset to “this is also my company and I have a huge stake in this too”?

NBB: Dave took on a second position with the Fort McKay First Nation as a councillor, which pulled him away from the business. That meant I really had to step up to the plate, working with the team and managing the day-to-day.

Q: What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment so far?

NBB: Hands down, building the team. We were never the people to get into business with money in mind. It was all about the personal challenge and accomplishments we wanted to make as people. We came from large corporate environments where you were always a number in a company. Our company was about creating a positive environment with people you wanted to work with each day and that you build off of each other and keep each other going.

Definitely the team we’ve created is something I’m proud of. And through our team, we have held onto that family culture, which is something we’re also very proud of. As we grow, it’s still at the forefront of our minds that we have to continue that.

We know that there are always challenges, but when times are tough, we pull together, lean on each other and get through it.

Q: Your company is quite young and has already achieved so much success—do you feel there are still more goals to achieve?

NBB: I feel like if you stop setting goals, then you stop growing. I can feel it when I don’t have any challenges or I don’t have any goals set. You start to get more routine, and get in a bit of a slump. So I remind myself that I haven’t set my next goal and the company hasn’t set its goal and the team hasn’t set their goal, and that’s what pulls us out to say, “Let’s not get too comfortable here.” We’re still growing, still changing and there are still things to do.

Join Nicole as she gives the keynote address at the Dr. Charles Allard Chair in Business Luncheon on March 9. Tickets are available online.

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