Jean Francois Joyal

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Man of the Month Before – Jean Francois Joyal

Sunday, July 3rd, 2011

Juy’s Man of the Month is:

Jean Francois Joyal

Here’s a little bit about him:

I come from a small French-speaking village called Saint-Cyrille de Wendover. In those days, it seemed for most of the villagers that Montreal was the end of the world.

I was lucky enough to have a free-spirited mother who was curious about people and about the world – she was a bit of a bourgeois socialist, always trying to make people’s lives better. I left home at an early age and attended a boarding school in Trois-Rivières, where I got my high school degree, then did my Cegep degree (it’s a Quebec thing) and went to university in Montreal to play football – the truth is that I didn’t yet know what to do with my life.

So I think that most of my education came from being open to different interests (culture, travel and most of all, sports). After that I worked in Europe as a model. Then, in my late 20’s, I returned to Montreal, this time to work in marketing and communications. Today I’m 42 yrs. old, and I manage a prolific creative and strategic agency called Bob with fantastic partners and a talented young team of 40 people.

And here’s how he answered my 6 questions about creativity:

What does it mean to you to be creative?
To be creative is to seek out a different perspective on the every day things we tend to see the same way, into life – to find a way to inject color into life. That can be applied to all aspects of life. Even mathematicians can be creative.

What triggers your creativity?
I embrace many different aspects of life. Being different should be valued. I believe that in order to be creative you need to find different ways to communicate, to entertain, to manage and so forth. My sources of creativity are: the people around me (family, friends, colleagues), the different cultures that my wife and I explore on our trips every year and the books I read.

In my everyday life as a general manager, I work with my colleagues to create a space where people are able to express themselves by becoming their own entrepreneurs, by taking responsibility for their work and how they use their time. And by surpassing themselves and being pushed to accomplish things that they would not have thought possible. This happens in a flexible environment that allows them to be creative in their different fields (account managers, designers, etc). We do that by thinking about the little details that are significant to people: praise, listening, creating working areas that enhance the flow of communication. An example? We have a fully equipped kitchen at the office and a chef who cooks for the office every Wednesday, so we can all eat together and enjoy each other as people, and not just as colleagues. It’s important for team building.

The truth is that my colleagues push me to be creative everyday: having created this environment, I get to feed off its creative energy – it’s a symbiotic relationship.

What hinders your creativity?
In free countries like ours, I think the most difficult obstacle that we face is our self. Think about that – isn’t it the obstacles that generate our creativity? Would creativity exist without obstacles?

What’s the wildest journey your venturesome spirit has taken you on?
Wow – I like that question because I really do think that I have the best life a man can have. I think we should all think we have the best life a person can have. People are often jealous about other people lives, and that’s sad, because I doubt they’d recognize the life they wanted if they ever attained it! I am so impressed when I see people living their lives, doing what many others do…and seeing that it’s been a joy and a passion for them to do this “simple” thing.

So I feel that my life is a wild journey, every day. I feel that everything is ahead and the best is yet to come.

As the Dos Equis ad says: Stay thirsty, my friend.

What does being bold and provocative mean to you?
Being bold is something others say about you. People we consider bold are only accomplishing their mission. A person who does base jumping of a cliff intended to do so (usually). Those of us who have no real interest in jumping off a cliff will find this person bold. I don’t really admire provocation when the purpose is only to provoke. I like provocation when it is the result of honest intention, and creates or accomplishes a result that shakes things up.

What’s next for you?
To create a family and continue dreaming and challenging myself in order to be a better leader.

And here’s a quote that inspires Jean Francois’ creativity:


And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

- Nelson Mandela

Thank you Jean Francois for shining so bright!

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