Concordia bids farewell to Marie-Josée Allard, outgoing director of Hospitality
Sarah Caille will step in to lead Hospitality Concordia on May 16, succeeding long-time director Marie-Josée Allard.
Allard first joined Hospitality Concordia in 2008 to manage the upcoming 2010 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. She demonstrated exceptional leadership and event-management skills for one of the largest and most successful congresses, which hosted 9,000 academic delegates and brilliantly showcased the university nationwide.
This trend of high quality continued following Allard’s appointment as director in 2011. In that capacity she led the conference services team in their support of a wide variety of internal, local, national and international events with award-winning precision. She was also responsible for overseeing food and beverage services, parking, lockers, advertising and automatic banking machines on campus.
“Marie-Josée has accomplished so much during her time with Hospitality,” says Sabrina Lavoie, executive director of budget planning and business development.
“We are very thankful not only for her many years of dedicated service but also for the solid foundation she leaves behind.”
From the launch of MyEvents, an online platform for booking events on campus, to the development and launch of the MB 9 Conference Centre in the John Molson Building, Allard has been a central figure behind it all, Lavoie adds.
Later this summer, as a final farewell, the university will launch a new virtual event policy — an initiative also led by Allard.
While event planning has been a passion, Allard has also been involved in two food services request for proposal processes and a call for qualification for Concordia’s approved caterer list. Her skills helped with the implementation of Aramark on campus and the associated renovations that were required for the retail and dining hall locations.
Sustainability has also been at the forefront for Allard; under her leadership Concordia was awarded the title of Fair-Trade Campus. She won a Sustainability Champion Award in 2014. She has also been instrumental in the inclusion of more sustainable conditions within Concordia’s food services contracts and helped with the development of a sustainable events guide.
An unforgettable time
Allard notes that she’s not retiring but only moving on to the next phase of her life.
“My years at Concordia have been rich both professionally and personally. I am full of gratitude for my wonderful team who’s collaborated with me on the many projects and changes that have taken place over the past 12 years,” she says.
“Simultaneously being a rollercoaster and rewarding, my work gave me the opportunity to meet many wonderful people across our community from staff, students and faculty members. They have all contributed to making my time at Concordia one that I will never forget. “
Building on a solid foundation of excellence
Allard adds that she believes Caille will bring with her a new experience and perspective with the same passion she always displayed as the manager of summer accommodation at Concordia.
Once Caille fully assumes the role of director of Hospitality on May 16, she will be working side by side with Allard in the coming weeks to ensure a successful knowledge transfer takes place.
She has more than three decades of experience in the hospitality industry. Caille spent years working on fundraising events in London, United Kingdom, and running a personally owned vacation rental company in France.
In the past four years she has been growing Concordia’s hotelling business, welcoming over 6,000 guests to the residence each summer and positioning Concordia’s Grey Nuns Residence as a great budget accommodation in Montreal’s downtown core.
“With her extensive hospitality expertise and her excellent industry knowledge, Sarah is a perfect match for this role,” Lavoie says.
As she takes over, Caille will continue to lead Concordia’s summer accommodation portfolio, bringing it under the banner of Hospitality, where she will also head conference services and food and beverage services.
“Our summer accommodation offering enables the public to experience and connect with Concordia and there’s a great synergy with existing Hospitality services. The department was previously part of Hospitality, so it feels as if I’m bringing it back home,” Caille says.
She is looking forward to facilitating the Concordia community in hosting successful events.
“I want to build on the very solid foundations laid by Marie-Josée to provide outstanding customer-centric services to both the Concordia community and external clients, while advancing the university’s sustainability goals,” Caille shares.
“From student-led events to international conferences, Hospitality provides expertise and support to enable the whole community and external clients to shine. It’s very rewarding.”
Find out more about event and room bookings at Concordia.
Hosting a virtual or hybrid event? Check out the Sustainable Virtual Events Guide.