When Geneviève Dumas graduated from l’insitut de Tourisme et d’Hôtellerie, the Montreal-native dreamt of one day owning her own business. She initially worked as a restaurant supervisor and as a flight attendant before landing at the Fairmont Tremblant. She still recalls receiving sage advice from her GM at the time, who advised her to “work in every department to gain experience; be the best at what you do; get an MBA; work in many properties to gain varied experiences and then, you’ll have all it takes to become a general manager.” She took the advice to heart. “I did it all and here I am,” she says.

As the new GM of the historic 426-room Chateau Laurier, Dumas genuinely loves what she does. Her varied experience ensures she really does know it all. And, having worked in resorts and city hotels, she’s well versed in what’s needed to drive success.

Her mission and philosophy are intertwined: “Work hard, play hard. We need to come to work every day and look forward to it. Treat your employees well and they’ll take care of our guests. This is my ultimate mission every single day.”

Certainly, the mission has been tested during the lingering pandemic and, most recently, as the hotel found itself at the epicentre of the Freedom Convoy protest — not what she would have expected to deal with during the first three months of her tenure at the iconic castle. “Thankfully, the situation is back to normal now, but it’s been a very difficult month. We were right in the red zone so our hotel was not accessible to our guests and difficult to reach for our employees. We lost almost all of our reservations, preventing our employees from earning their living.”

That reality only exacerbated an already tenuous situation. “COVID was a hard hit. We unfortunately had to lay-off employees, and some of them have left due to lack of hours. But I’m feeling enthusiastic about the future. There are great signs of a bounce back.”

As the hotel moves into recovery, Dumas looks forward to spearheading a few changes, including a re-vamp of the lobby with the addition of a new coffee outlet and the launch of residences.

As a female GM in a male-dominated industry, Dumas has faced her share of barriers. “I’ve been told that it is a man’s job; that I couldn’t succeed; that I would not make it. Thank goodness, I had leaders who believed in me and gave me the opportunity to show them “I was one of the guys,” while being absolutely myself — a successful and driven female leader.”


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