Isabelle Adjahi Turns the Impossible Into the Possible

Having played a key role in WSP’s evolution from a 4,000-person firm to a 48,000-strong global business, Isabelle Adjahi, our Senior Vice President for Investor Relations and Communications, has an inspirational story to tell.

After moving from France to Canada in 1995, Isabelle started her career in the capital markets industry working in investor relations.

 

She joined GENIVAR in 2011, a firm of 4,000 employees, most of which were based in Canada. A year later, GENIVAR acquired WSP, which at the time was twice its size.

 

“I was attracted to the firm as it presented enormous potential on all fronts, and its activities had a direct impact on our daily lives and the communities in which we live,” says Isabelle.

 

“WSP’s empowering culture is our biggest asset. Our people are encouraged to be themselves and to be responsible for their own careers. Further, we provide them with the tools and the knowledge needed to bring innovation to the forefront of our solutions. It is about challenging the status quo.”

 

Leading in a New Era at WSP

With the recently launched 2019-2021 Global Strategic Plan, Isabelle is determined to provide incisive leadership to inspire her team and the broader business.

 

“To me, a good leader is someone who can motivate their people to walk in a clear direction to achieve their goals,” adds Isabelle. “In this case, we are united in our objective to build the premier professional consultancy in our industry.”

 

A member of our Global Leadership team, Isabelle says her passion for leadership was born from her family.

 

“Hailing from a small village in Benin, West Africa, my grandmother was a great role model to me,” she explains. “While she didn’t have access to running water or electricity and never had the opportunity to go to school, she recognised the importance of educating my father. And, he taught me to never give up. He used to say that in walking through life, if I fell 10 times, I had to get back up and be on my feet 11 times.

 

“This is where my desire to turn the impossible into the possible has stemmed from. Tell me I can’t do something and that is exactly what I will set out to achieve! I hope I can pass on the same level of inspiration and passion to my daughters that was offered to me.”

 

Creating a Balanced Workforce Starts with Education

Isabelle is a firm believer in the power of education and sees it as an enabler to a more balanced workforce.

 

She says, “If we are serious about changing the current gender trajectory – one that is set to take an estimated 217 years before we reach full parity in investor relations – then we need to start educating girls and boys to succeed. To have a lasting impact, we need to start early.”

 

Isabelle is doing just that. She is actively enabling young girls at her daughters’ school to participate in the Science Fair. For the past six years, she has been the President of the school’s Foundation, a body responsible for enriching the education of students through fundraising. She also volunteers for ‘Share Warmth’, an organisation whose mission is to rouse hope in the community through excellence in programming and fostering the overall development and success of youth by increasing access to food security and health for all.

 

“Supporting women in non-traditional jobs is crucial to opening new doors for the next generation,” concludes Isabelle. “it all starts with education and raising our collective voices.”

 

WSP Diversity and Inclusion 

 

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