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A Conversation with Joette Decore About Finding The Ambition and Drive to Be Successful

Joette Decore is a strategy, corporate development and human resources consultant located in Edmonton, Alberta.  She has an extensive and diverse professional background in executive leadership.  Joette retired from Stuart Olson, a publicly traded national construction company, in September 2020 after a 12-year career with the last 5 years as an Executive Vice President of […]

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Joette Decore
Joette Decore

Joette Decore is a strategy, corporate development and human resources consultant located in Edmonton, Alberta.  She has an extensive and diverse professional background in executive leadership.  Joette retired from Stuart Olson, a publicly traded national construction company, in September 2020 after a 12-year career with the last 5 years as an Executive Vice President of Strategy and Development.  In this position, she was a member of the executive management team and she led mergers and acquisitions, strategy, and human resources.  Prior to this, Joette worked 8 years as a management consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers, a national professional services consulting firm.  As a management consultant, she worked with many public and private organizations to develop and implement strategies to address performance challenges and improve profitability.

Joette is currently the Vice Chair of the University of Alberta Hospital Foundation Board and is a trustee for NorQuest College.  She is also co-chair of the Construction Industry Red Tape Reduction Taskforce for the Government of Alberta. In addition, she has served on other boards such as Women Buildings Futures.  Joette is a big proponent of volunteer work and charity involvement, being actively involved in raising money for such causes as Alzheimer’s and breast cancer.  In 2019, she participated in an Alzheimer’s Hockey tournament fundraiser where she was part of the first all-female hockey team and helped to raise $50,000+.

In the last few years, what lifestyle, habit, or behavior change has had the biggest positive impact on your life?

In the past few years, I have committed to taking on a new adventure each year.  I commit the entire year to experiencing a new activity – something bold and sometimes risky.  It is about personal growth and pushing my boundaries.

In 2018, I decided to take on a 12-hour endurance event called the “Crucible” with five over women.  We trained for five days a week for almost an entire year. We spent four hours every Saturday training outside, whether it was plus or minus 20 Celsius even if it meant doing bear crawls and push-ups in the snow.  If you can imagine a Navy Seal event where you are submerged in water, that was us.  We were one of the first women teams in Canada to complete this intense physical challenge.  It was tough. 

The next year we decided to learn a new sport and in Canada, our sport is hockey.  I had never played hockey, so it was a new adventure.  In addition, we wanted to give back to our community, so we signed up for an Alzheimer’s hockey tournament as the first all female hockey team.  There were six of us that went out and bought hockey equipment and committed to nine months of hockey lessons.  Unfortunately, we did not have the opportunity to test out our new skills as the tournament was cancelled due to COVID-19; however, we did raise over $50,000 for Alzheimer’s. 

In 2020, we’ve decided that we want to summit of one of the Canadian Rocky Mountain peaks, so we are learning to mountaineer.   We may never reach a peak; but I do know that through the journey I will learn a lot about life and myself.  I truly believe we all have more potential than we think.  When we surround ourselves with the right team of people, we can push beyond our own self-imposed boundaries and we can accomplish almost anything.

When you feel unfocused, what do you do?

When I feel unfocused, I go for a run to clear my mind.  I put on my running shoes and run for 45 minutes.  I find taking away the technology, being in the outdoors, and breathing the fresh air really helps.  If I am unfocused, there is generally stress behind it.  When I run I get this great feeling of happiness and I use this opportunity to dig deep and think through why I am stressed.  It helps me just to step away. 

What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate?

I enjoy helping young people to do great things in life.  My 19-year-old daughter is smart, ambitious and a bit hard on herself.  I always tell her that life is a journey.  Life is not a straight highway where you just pick a destination and have just one road that leads you there.  With hard work and determination, you will get to your destination, although you may have to go down an unexpected road.  Everybody has a story from their journey through life which will build their character with life lessons along the way.  Do not expect life to be easy as you will have challenges, but that does not mean you shouldn’t dream big and pursue lofty goals.  Chances are, you will get pretty close and always remember that the journey is equally as important as the destination. 

What is one lifestyle trend that excites you?

I am excited about having the ability to work remotely.  With the outbreak of COVID-19, many employers shifted to a remote work model to limit the spread of the virus.  Prior to this, many employers balked at the idea of employees regularly working from home as they were concerned with a loss of productivity due to limited technology.  What we’ve learned was that with video conferencing, out of office employees could see and speak to one another in real time consistent with that of a face-to-face meeting. 

I believe the ability to work remotely will promote more of a work/life balance.  Employees no longer have to be at the office five days a week.  For me, working from home a few days week provides me with the flexibility to incorporate a healthier lifestyle like working out on a regular basis or spending more quality time with my family. For the days that I do not go into the office, I have an additional three hours that is not dedicated to work as I do not have to travel. There are still challenges to overcome for remote working as communication is more difficult; however, it is lifestyle trend that excites me.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life and why?

Many people have influenced my life from high profile leaders to mentors to my family.  Michelle Obama, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Angela Merkel are all women that have inspired me. Each of these women have had an impact on the world in different ways and have overcome significant challenges.  I have been fortunate to have several mentors that have not only invested their time to coach me but have sponsored me throughout my career.  But at the end of the day the person I look up to and that has made the most significant impact on my life is my husband. It is important to surround yourself with those people that can see things in you that you don’t see in yourself and that will push you to pursue your dreams. For the last 25 years, he has been that person in my life. 

What’s one of the biggest life lessons you’ve learned?

Live without regrets.  As the saying goes, regret is a useless emotion.  That’s not to say that I would not have done things differently in my past; however, when I look back, I know that I made the best decision I could based on the information I had at that time.  I know I cannot change the past and I believe that my past decisions are not life sentences.  You always have tomorrow. 

What do you think it is that makes you/someone successful?

I define success for myself and it is not by anyone else’s standard.  I am driven and determined to meet the goals that I set out for myself and I am relentless in my pursuit.  Success for me is living each day passionately and that means enjoying what I do.  It is not defined by my paycheque or my title.  It is defined by waking up each day and being excited to take on what the day brings. 

How do you stay motivated?

For me, motivation is more about commitment; the commitment to myself to push my boundaries and complete the goals that I set out for myself.  I never want to accept mediocre.  In the end, life is short, and I want to live my life passionately each and everyday.  That does not mean there are not days that I feel unmotivated.  For sure I do.  When this happens, I give myself a few days grace and then I don’t give myself the option to not wake up and go enjoy the day.  At the end of the day, you are only accountable to yourself.

What legacy do you hope to leave behind?

I have been very blessed in my life and I want to pay it forward. I want to contribute to future generations by mentoring and sponsoring our youth.  It matters to me that I touched many people’s lives and helped them to be better than they could have been on their own.   

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