“In those days, an MBA was rare,” she says. “It just wasn’t as commonplace. So my first thought was, I can’t do that, I would never be able to get into that kind of program. I had a BA in a completely different field. To me, the MBA was what the elite went and did. I didn’t consider it at all.”
With the encouragement of a friend, Suzan attended an MBA info session at Concordia. When a second-year student got up to address the room, Suzan was captivated. Two years later, she was the one selected to extol the benefits of the program.
“I immersed myself in as much of the experience as I could,” she says. “Student council, case competitions, different committees, you name it. When you’re more involved, you tend to learn and grow more. That’s what made my time at Concordia such a success.”
The skills that Suzan amassed helped her step up to the plate later in her career. The most prominent example is when David Chaudhari, her predecessor as director of Ingenico Group Canada, unexpectedly passed away in 2016 at the age of 51. Suddenly, Suzan had to rally an anguished staff and take care of business, which she did with aplomb.
She also took on a more active mentorship role at Ingenico and within the payments industry at large, particulary for younger women. And while she left the company last January to pivot to corporate board roles, Suzan has no plans to reduce these efforts.
The Denoncourt family’s association with Concordia runs even deeper. Not only is Suzan’s brother, Paul Denoncourt, BA 91, a grad (with a daughter, Raquel, at JMSB to boot) but her daughter, Lisa Sassi, BSc 17, GrDip 19, is a two-time alum on the cusp of her own career in business.
Son Philip Sassi, meanwhile, has competed as a sprinter at Canada’s track-and-field championships and attends the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema.
As Suzan talks about her children’s accomplishments at Concordia, her pride is as irrepressible as it was on that auspicious day in 1992 when she followed her mother on the convocation stage.
“I always encouraged them to get an education and figure out what they wanted to do. After some doubts, Lisa recognized the advantage of a graduate diploma and cranked out a 3.9 GPA. As for Philip, he recently told me that if his career is as successful as he hopes, he would happily return to Concordia to teach a scriptwriting class!”