Business - Marketing, 1990
The advantage I have is my ability to advance practical decision-making. My decisions haven’t been based on textbooks. I’m street smart. The reality of business happens on the floor, not in a book.
Yves Dalcourt has a few words of wisdom for new graduates.
“It’s important to set some goals and to create an action plan; I set mine in five-year increments,” he notes. “You need patience to grow into a career. Students need to sit back and ask themselves where they want to be at 30, 35, 40, etc. – and really stick to it.”
Dalcourt is a 1990 graduate of the Business-Marketing program at Cambrian College. He spent years working his way to the top, with positions at Proctor & Gamble, Black & Decker, Mars Canada, Miele, American Standard, and LG Electronics along the way. Currently President of Miele Canada, Dalcourt is responsible for leading the company’s strategic growth and development for the Canadian market, which entails bringing continuous innovation to retailers and consumers. Previously, he was General Manager of American Standard Brands Canada, and prior to that, he was Vice President of Sales at Miele Canada.
For Dalcourt, after gaining general manager experience at American Standard, returning to Miele as President shows his career plan paid off. “You have to manage your own career,” he explained. “If you need additional industry experience and opportunities aren’t available at your current company, sometimes it means you need to secure that experience elsewhere. When you’re thinking about your career, you have to look at it objectively and make the necessary moves to ensure that you will be successful in the long-term.” Long-term success, achieved through continuous improvement is a hallmark of Miele as well. In 1899, the company’s founders inscribed the words “Forever Better” on their first products.
Dalcourt has built a strong reputation as a leader, but there are also other aspects of the retail business that stimulate him. “I’m very excited when we have a new product,” Dalcourt says. “The relationships with customers and consumers are so important, but mostly I love introducing new products that make life easier.”
He still uses the practical knowledge he acquired at Cambrian College and credits the school, in part, for his rise to platinum status.
“I’ve competed against MBA graduates throughout my entire career,” he notes. “The advantage I have is my ability to advance practical decision-making. My decisions haven’t been based on textbooks. I’m street smart. The reality of business happens on the floor, not in a book.”
Dalcourt is passionate about his job – a necessity to achieve success in the highly- competitive corporate world – and advises those considering a career in business and marketing to really consider the field before diving in.
“(This industry) is not for everybody – you have to understand what gets you excited, what gets you up in the morning,” he says. “For me, going to work is a passion. I don’t have to kick myself out of bed. You have to be passionate about what you do, regardless of your field. You’re going to spend a lot of time at work, with your colleagues and so on, so you’ve got to make sure it’s the right avenue for you.”
He also advises taking time for people – sincerity and authenticity go a long way in his industry. Dalcourt has made it a routine practice to try to meet each and every employee. He also prioritizes quality customer service and believes that nurturing good relationships is the core of any successful business venture.
“Face-to-face interaction for me is so much better (than phone or e-mail),” he says.
Dalcourt practices this sage advice at home, as well. Down time is a priority for the busy executive, but he and his family still meet at least twice weekly for full-fledged family dinners – not always an easy accomplishment with two teenaged daughters in the mix.
“Work-life balance is an important part of my responsibility as a father and husband,” Dalcourt says. “I can’t just consider myself and my job. My wife and I need to be there for our kids as much as possible. You’ve got to make sure you’ve got that family time.”