MGAC Impacts: Pamela Tremblay on Positive Energy, Toronto Team Building, and Toddler Dance Parties
The Impact Blog is a spotlight series that highlights and celebrates the diverse employees that make MGAC tick. Beyond their day-to-day schedules, we want to know how they have a greater impact on their colleagues, their company, and the communities in which they live and work. We want to know what makes them get out of bed in the morning, what led them to their current role, and what they hope their lasting impact will be.
Today, we get to know Pamela Tremblay, Project Manager at MGAC.
MGAC: Welcome to the Impact Blog, Pamela!
Pamela Tremblay (PT): Thank you! It’s good to be here.
MGAC: Tell us what you do here at MGAC.
PT: I am a Project Manager at MGAC, based in our Toronto office.
MGAC: And when did you first join the company?
PT: I started about nine months ago, so I’m still pretty new!
MGAC: And how have the past nine months been?
PT: They’ve been great. I love the entrepreneurial aspect of MGAC. There’s so much opportunity to get involved. Previously, I was at an architectural and engineering firm, and there were just a lot of processes and procedures, rules, and boxes to check. I was really more interested in making my own rules and making the work more efficient, so it’s exciting to have a more hands-on role now. In the first interview at MGAC, I could tell the firm really cares about its people and puts them first. And I really liked that—and have seen it to be the case.
MGAC: That’s great to hear. You mentioned that you hadn’t always been in the project management space. Can you walk us through how you got to where you are now? Did your younger self imagine yourself in this role?
PT: No, haha! When I was a very young kid, I actually wanted to be a cashier. And then my parents said, “Well, maybe you should go to university.”
MGAC: Cashier—that’s a first for this series! What had you set your sights on next?
PT: In Montreal, there are two years between high school and university. I started looking into operation management, but then I decided to keep all the doors open. I was all over the place! I did a bachelor’s in economics. Then, I moved to Toronto because I wanted to improve my English, as I grew up speaking French in Montreal. When I moved, I went back to school to learn English, and then I ended up going into project management at Ryerson. So, that’s how I got here.
MGAC: Sounds like you ended up in a role that suits you well!
PT: Yes! Project management really fits me well. Looking back, I think I could have been whatever I wanted, but operation management and project management are very close. So it’s what I was interested in all along. I think no matter what I would have done, I probably would have ended up exactly where I am.
MGAC: Awesome. And what’s keeping you busy these days?
PT: I have been writing a lot of management plans, which is interesting. We’re early in the planning phase of everything with this work, so we’re offering consultation on project controls and getting into everything that comes before construction. And I’m teaming up with our master scheduler a bit. He’s been teaching me a lot about the software and how to schedule-manage there. I also have a couple of clients on my own that are keeping me busy. I’m generally working on three to four projects at the same time on the client side.
MGAC: Can you tell us about some of those projects?
PT: One of my main client is Canada Post. They are renovating and building new facilities throughout Canada. It’s everywhere from Vancouver to Ottawa to Montreal, and we are working on their execution and management plans to ensure the whole process is efficient.
MGAC: And do you get to use your French with the Montreal work?
PT: Of course! I have been speaking a lot more in French with clients than I thought I would. A lot of them are in Montreal; a few of them are in Ottawa. So, that’s been fun. And it’s interesting because our work comes with a lot of specific terminologies, so I feel like my “work French” is actually something I am still working on!
MGAC: That makes sense! Beyond that, have you encountered any big challenges in your work so far?
PT: I think mostly just adjusting my pace to the pace of the clients. Some of the work moves quickly, whereas other work—especially governmental—requires layers of approval, so the timing is going to be different. That’s important from a scheduling and planning perspective.
MGAC: Sure. While you’re still early in your time with MGAC, do you have a sense yet of the impact you hope to make on the firm?
PT: What comes to mind is my team here in Toronto. We’re still growing, and the idea is to keep going! I really want to be part of that. I want to bring in projects and find great people that we can add to the team. We’re at a great growth point right now, and that’s really exciting. I want to be a part of it all.
MGAC: That’s wonderful. And what have you found to be most rewarding about your work so far?
PT: It’s great to know that I learned something new, I scratched things off the to-do list, and to hear that the clients I am working with are happy.
MGAC: Definitely! And what gives you energy each day?
PT: I think a few things! I think I am generally a very positive person, so that helps. I love to have to-do lists, and scratching things off that list always gives me energy. And then great teamwork energizes me. We all work well together and that always gives me energy to keep going. I start out with a lot of energy, so I don’t need much. That said, caffeine helps too!
MGAC: Sounds like you’re in the right industry then!
PT: For sure!
MGAC: With all that energy, do you have a secret for winding down at the end of the day?
PT: Well, I have two young children, so after the workday and caring for them, I don’t need a lot to wind down! At that point, I’m pretty tired. I just put my head on the pillow, and I’m done!
MGAC: No kidding! What kind of activities are they involved in?
PT: So, Charlie, she goes to gymnastics, she dances, and she has piano. And then there’s Milan. He’s two years old and he loves dancing. He’s so funny. He always wants us to put on music, and then he wants us to dance. He’s always making a little party. Yeah, so they are always keeping me very busy.
MGAC: Love it! Do you have a secret to starting the morning off on the right foot?
PT: I like waking up early and creating my to-do list, so I know exactly what I want to accomplish during the day. I’m very organized and structured, so that’s an important thing for me. In the morning I am also getting the kids ready for school and off to daycare. When they have a good start to their day, that helps me have a good day of my own. It’s definitely tougher if the baby is crying and not wanting to go to daycare or if we are running late. So starting off on the right foot with them helps so much.
MGAC: That makes sense! Do you have any favorite books or quotes that have made an impact on you?
PT: There are definitely some favorite quotes that come to mind and that have stuck with me. My father has a garage, and I grew up around cars and in that environment. There is a Henry Ford quote where he said, “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.” I find that this is exactly what project management is. It’s dividing all the scope of work into small work packages.
MGAC: Absolutely! That’s a great one.
PT: Another I like is Thomas Edison’s “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” I feel like it’s so true. People really miss opportunity because it looks like they have to work for it. And yeah, I like that. I think I have a work-hard, play-hard personality.
MGAC: Love it! Ok, next, we’ve got a round of rapid-fire questions for you. You ready?
MGAC: How would you describe your job in five words or less?
PT: Dividing stuff in small parts.
MGAC: You’re starting the workday. What comes first?
PT: My to-do list!
MGAC: And last?
PT: Cross things off!
MGAC: Makes sense! What’s the weirdest thing we might find in your desk or work bag?
PT: Toys, for the kids. If you look in my purse, it’s full of little trucks and crayons and dolls. Sometimes I put my purse down and then it starts making noise, like a teddy bear talking or something!
MGAC: Haha! What’s your go-to work lunch?
PT: Depends! I like to have lunches with a lot of different people. I’m really good at keeping in touch that way. So I’m usually out to lunch at different places.
MGAC: That’s great. What’s the most-used app on your phone?
PT: Probably Microsoft Teams, followed by the daycare and school apps for my kids.
MGAC: Where do you see yourself in five years?
PT: At MGAC! Maybe as a VP!
MGAC: Awesome! What’s something your colleagues don’t know about you?
PT: That I was a professional dancer when I was younger, until I was injured. That’s one other thing I thought I would be when I was younger!