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Trusted Advisors: Up Close and Personal with… Luc Ouellet

A true political enthusiast, our Quebec City office Managing Partner is known for his boundless curiosity and his unquenchable thirst for knowledge. A man of conviction, value and integrity, there is perhaps only one other arena in which he finds himself most ardently engaged than at work: fishing! As part of our interview series with the Firm’s leadership, our Web Editor and Content Manager today presents her one-on-one meeting with a hard-working bon vivant.

Luc, what part of your work are you most passionate about?

There’s no such thing as monotony in PR, which makes it a very stimulating field. Every day brings on a set of new challenges. I love that we get to work on files in different sectors. It’s so fascinating to be able to learn so quickly about our clients’ sector of expertise. When you work with a pharmaceutical company, you learn about its challenges; when you work with someone from the mining industry, you learn about that specific market; and when you work on a file with a major university, you delve into its realities. Our work is thrilling because we work with high-level individuals and thus we have access to privileged information. And when you’re surrounded by so much knowledge, you have to be able to grasp and understand everything quickly. Very few jobs give you access to such diverse market knowledge.

In your opinion, what is the most important quality of a PR consultant?

I think a good consultant is someone who is able to quickly understand the challenges and expectations of a client. It’s an essential quality. But a good consultant must also be a straight shooter and tell things as they are, not as the client wishes they were. You have to be real, transparent. Whether it’s to deliver good or bad news, you have to stick to the facts and go straight to the point. It’s a question of authenticity, integrity, and transparency.

Can this transparency sometimes offend clients?

Being afraid to deliver bad news doesn’t make them go away. In fact, the longer you wait, the worst the situation gets. Sure, the client may be mad or disappointed at first, but he will appreciate the honesty because working on a case that is not going anywhere is making everyone lose precious time… and money. As a consultant, if you know that there is no possible resolution to a project, you have to tell your client as soon as possible. And that’s particularly important when working in the government relations sector. By knowing the truth, the client will be able to focus his energy and attention on other feasible projects.

How can a PR professional’s strategic counsel help an organization or a client?

It brings an outside perspective to the organization. Clients live and breathe in their business, so as consultants, we open their eyes and minds to different points of view and offer them truly objective advice. A PR professional’s strategic counsel helps organizations turn a problem or a crisis into an opportunity to grow.

 

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Fun facts about Luc

I was born in: Quebec City
Favourite food: Partridge
Favourite movie: A River Runs Through it
Favourite book: Biographies of politicians
If I didn’t work in PR: I’d be a lawyer
If I could be on a reality TV show, it would be: Fort Boyard
If I could be a superhero, I’d be: Batman
If money didn’t matter: I wouldn’t work this much!
Number one travel destination: Florida
If I could be a celebrity: John F. Kennedy
Favourite past time: Fishing
Person I most admire: John F. Kennedy
First concert I went to: Elton John
Favourite music group/musician: Norah Jones
Guilty pleasure: Food
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