As a college student voluntarily teaching literacy in Dakar, Senegal, and later as part of the communications staff of the Canadian Space Agency, Perreault, executive director of the Quebec Produce Marketing Association, has consistently worked in a wide range of situations to help people reach their potential.
She views her job at St-Leonard-based QPMA as an opportunity to continue that path, even though she wasn’t sure about applying for it.
“I was not sure I was ready, but the board said I should apply. They said I had the willingness to learn,” Perreault said.
So after only two years as communications director for QPMA, Perreault was in the driver’s seat. She said she didn’t know anything about the produce industry before joining the QPMA staff in 2003, but by 2005 when she became the leader she knew enough about it to know she wanted to learn more.
“I really wanted to continue working for a nonprofit so I could have a positive impact. … We have a social mandate to promote good food and I like using my communications skills to help do that,” she said.
Perreault is a perfect fit for the job, said Stephen Whitney, president and chief operating officer of the Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corp., Ottawa.
“It was a very wise decision when they appointed her,” Whitney said.
“She took over and never missed a beat. Sophie brings a lot of gusto to the job. She is results oriented and the QPMA is in very good financial shape because of that.”
Whitney said one of Perreault’s most beneficial skills is her ability to bring the right people together at the right time to get the right solution. He said she is a key factor in the success of his firm’s dealings with QPMA.
“When she came in in 2005 we entered into a first-of-its-kind agreement with QPMA,” Whitney said.
“We put down on paper what each organization would do as we moved forward, and it worked. Every challenge she has had put in front of her she has picked up and run with.”
That kind of perseverance spills over into Perreault’s private life. She said one of her favorite activities is playing in a women’s flag football league. For the first time in nine years her team made it to the final game and emerged as champions last year.
Perreault is also a produce champion of sorts, being the first winner of the Canadian Produce Marketing Association’s Mary FitzGerald Award in 2007. The award is given annually to a Canadian who is under 40 and has demonstrated dedication and passion for the produce industry.