You Make the Difference: Tough personal choices yield major professional victories

Pierre-Gilles Mastail
Pierre-Gilles Mastail

Stay in Montreal or return home to France? Tough choice—one that Pierre-Gilles Mastail found himself faced with almost 10 years ago.

On one hand, he was about to complete the second year of his Master’s degree, with the possibility of a career in Quebec ahead of him. On the other, his girlfriend was waiting overseas.

“My attachment to Quebec and Montreal was very strong,” says Mr. Mastail, an IT analyst with CIUSSS West-Central Montreal. Intense negotiations followed. Finally, his girlfriend was persuaded to come to Canada; before long, she accepted his marriage proposal.

Mr. Mastail couldn’t be happier with the outcome. At first, upon graduating, he began his career as a systems administrator, spending nearly four years on several major projects. He then went on to become an IT coordinator in a chemical manufacturing company on the West Island.

“All of these experiences have made me more confident about putting customer satisfaction at the heart of my concerns,” says Mr. Mastail, who also admits that his work has even helped him overcome his earlier shyness.

After joining the CIUSSS in 2017, he reached a major professional milestone through his involvement in the Lotus Notes/Outlook migration project. “It was far from easy for me and the IT team,” he recalls. “This was a major technological shift for the organization and a significant change in users’ work habits. We had to deal with many comments, questions and requests from employees.”

In the process, Mr. Mastail went to extraordinary lengths to help the Communications team: Working in Outlook, he found a way of enabling mass emails to be sent to specific groups, depending on the CIUSSS site. This took him a while to complete, even as he was immersed in other projects. However, the results have paid off, since he has made it much easier for our network’s communications specialists to work efficiently.

In addition, Mr. Mastail participated in technologically integrating the former institutions of CSSS de La Montagne into the CIUSSS. “Despite major changes to our infrastructure,” he notes, “the impact on users has been minor.”

The subsequent migration of the IT equipment was also a success in terms of speed of execution and impact on users. “It was really great teamwork,” says Mr. Mastail. “Every victory, no matter how big or small, is a source of pride.”