Monday, April 13, 2009

Michelle – Ma Belle et la Belle de nous tous!

People are what make a company’s culture and some impact it more than others.

At Rideau, none more so than Michelle Verville.

Michelle retired recently after 41 years of service with Rideau.

When my parents bought the business in 1968, Michelle was one of the original five employees. Dad remembers walking into the plant for the first time and seeing Michelle working on a punch press. In fact, Michelle was my first boss!

Over the course of her career she has done it all… factory work, office work, sales work, client services. In short, Michelle has worked in almost every department at Rideau. And no matter what the job, she did it with care and concern. It didn’t matter whether the client was internal at Rideau or an external customer… Michelle’s dedication to her work was exemplary and it earned her our Employee of the Year Award a number of years ago.

But it was Michelle’s impact on Rideau’s culture that was truly amazing.

Everyone loved working with Michelle!

She had a wicked sense of humor. Her laugh was infectious.

None of us will ever forget her singing. In our early days, she would sing happy birthday over the intercom. In English, French and even Vietnamese!!! However, as with all great things, it came to an end the day we realized singing happy birthday would become a full time job!

Courage and tenacity are other qualities Michelle has that are a source of personal inspiration to me and many others. Over the last several years, Michelle has battled many different health issues. She has been courageous throughout all these difficult times and has never, ever given up hope or her love of life.

Over 175 Rideau colleagues paid tribute to Michelle. She made us laugh. She made us cry. And again, she displayed remarkable tenacity and courage. She stood up and counseled everyone in the room to get regular checkups for cancer and heart disease… both of which she has battled and continues to fight.

I have been privileged to work with Michelle for 41 years first as a colleague and then as a friend.

Michelle, on behalf of my 250 colleagues, on behalf of Cam Ferguson and my family, I salute you for the culture you created and the legacy you leave.

We love you Michelle – Ma Belle et la Belle de nous tous!