It was a trip to New York and a stay at a boutique hotel that helped inspire what has proven to be a lengthy and successful career in the hospitality industry for Christiane Germain.
Germain took a trip to the Big Apple back in 1986 with her brother Jean-Yves and their stay in the hotel started her down a path that would see her become the co-president and co-founder of hotel chain Germain Hôtels.
“That’s where it all started. We both fell in love with the boutique hotel concept – spectacular design but simple at the same time and small, not 500 rooms,” said Germain. “So, we came back to Quebec City with this crazy idea and converted an old office building into a boutique hotel.”
Germain has operated the company with her brother for more than three decades and, today, Germain Hôtels has 18 hotels across Canada.
“That’s the thing about entrepreneurs – you don’t fully realize what you’re getting yourself into but you’re so passionate about what you do, you get other people interested in your crazy idea,” she said.
Germain is an Honorary Degree recipient from Humber and was presented with the degree during the college’s spring 2022 convocation ceremony at the Toronto Congress Centre.
Kristy Adams, program coordinator and professor with Humber’s Hospitality - Hotel and Restaurant Operations Management program, lauded Germain as a “brilliant, forward-thinking and innovative mentor and hospitality leader.”
“She embodies the transformational leadership qualities that our Hospitality students are introduced to and aspire to develop and possess in their careers,” said Adams. “As a bilingual female mover and shaker, Christiane is a pioneer in breaking the glass ceiling and an inspiration for all seeking equity, diversity and inclusion at the senior leadership level.”
Germain said she learned so much while at Humber but that she also gained a great deal of experience in the business world by getting out there and doing it herself.
“Take the risk and I say that especially to young women. Don’t be afraid to jump into something you aren’t familiar with,” she said. “The feeling of jumping off the cliff is so great and rewarding.”