By Daphnée Malboeuf
After having worked her way up the ladder at Groupe Prével for 13 years, Laurence Vincent is taking on a new challenge: to carry the torch passed on by her father, Jacques Vincent.
She never thought she would end up here, but as of January 1st, 2018, the 36-year-old woman took the reins as Co-President of Groupe Prével, which her father founded in 1978 along with Jonathan Sigler.
Prével is a member of the Quartier de l’Innovation and has four real estate projects in the area that aim to preserve cultural heritage and create exciting living spaces: the 21ee Arrondissement, Lowney sur Ville, the Bassins du Havre and the Appartements-Boutiques.
An unconventional path
Attracted by humanitarian aid and work abroad, Laurence Vincent wanted to continue her studies with a Master’s in International Studies.
However, she ended up finding her niche at home in Montréal.
“At first, I wanted to do a Master’s in International Studies, to work abroad and work for the UN. Humanitarian aid greatly appealed to me,” she explains. “I first focused on that field. When I finished my Bachelor’s in History, my father offered me a job at his company before I started my Master’s, since they needed help on a construction site.”
That’s where it all began.
After finalizing a site for its transition to a retirement home that Prével was building, the young woman chose to wait a little before going back to school and continued with the company in the customer service department, where she enjoyed concretely resolving the “big” cases and making clients happy.
“But all of this was while waiting to go back to school to do my Master’s,” she insists. “However, when the time came to choose what I wanted to do, I wasn’t so sure that my initial plan was still right for me, and I liked the real impact my work had at Prével.”
After her Master of Business Administration (MBA) in 2008, Laurence Vincent decided to go back to her father’s company, where she eventually became Head of Communications and Marketing, without thinking she would carry the torch one day.
“It’s completely ridiculous to go from wanting to do humanitarian aid work to becoming a real estate developer. It happened slowly and I was completely aware of it; however, my values have not changed at all.”
Making a difference in people’s lives
Despite the negative prejudices against real estate developers, Laurence Vincent believes it is possible to have an impact on clients.
“While I used to dream of going to work in Africa to save people, I now realize I can make a real difference in people’s lives on a smaller scale here in Montréal,” she says.
“A naïve part of me would like to go on a crusade to improve our image and destroy the negative perception people have of real estate developers.”
Authenticity in business: a family affair
A pioneer in integrating common areas into real estate projects, like rooftop terraces for instance, Prével has always focused on authenticity, since its main goal is to create a comfortable and welcoming space where people can interact.
“I believe our approach has always been very different from that of others in the industry,” Laurence Vincent asserted.
Between analyzing data on consumption habits alone at her computer and meeting clients in person, the businesswoman would much rather get involved in clients’ lives around a happy hour drink on one of their buildings’ rooftop terraces.
“I am at most a little worried, because it’s not really what’s trending today, with all the data and mega data, but to this day, I remain convinced that there is no better way of communicating than two people speaking to each other face to face.”
In the next few years, the businesswoman’s main challenge will be to maintain the corporate culture and ensure Prével remains one of the real estate developers that stands out from competition by its human focus. She hopes to transmit the value of making a difference in people’s lives to the company that will soon be hers.