Thoughtworker Spotlight: Justine Lachapelle

Thoughtworks Canada

Thoughtworks Canada

February 3, 2023

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Two images of Justine, left one is a woman smiling at the camera, second image has her wearing a viking cap, looking towards the side.

Justine Lachapelle is a world traveller, and we couldn’t be happier her travels have taken her to us (likely her favourite product helped with that). But, whatever she is doing, there is one constant in Justine’s life – people. When she’s not earning more stamps in her passport, this health enthusiast constantly stays active, from hiking to snowboarding and everything in between. As Head of People in Canada, you can find her working with the People team, constantly ideating, implementing, and supporting new initiatives and programs like remote-first work and work abroad programs for Thoughtworkers across Canada. Did we give you enough information to guess her favourite product? We didn’t think so either. But you can find out below in this week’s Thoughtworker Spotlight.

Tell us about what you do in 50 words or less.

As the Head of People, Canada, I work alongside a small, but mighty People team dedicated to directly and positively impacting the professional and personal lives of Thoughtworkers across Canada. This includes everything from compliance to HR programs.

What’s the most interesting challenge you’re working on?

I think right now the most interesting challenge we’re working on is creating HR programs that primarily support our employees, but are also unique and stand out in a competitive job market. We always want to make sure that what we’re doing has a positive impact all around, and as a remote-first company that’s recently been acquired by a global corporation, we’re learning a lot as we go. I am lucky to have a great team with me on this journey that is always willing to innovate and stay ahead of the curve.

What inspired you to have the career you have today?

Like many teenagers I flip-flopped between what I wanted to do as a career after post-secondary education. Ultimately what led me here was my passion for aligning people operations with business goals, which I learned by dabbling in many different jobs before committing to a career in HR, such as: selling high-end art at international auctions, serving pub-grub at a local bar, working in the emergency room of a hospital, and keeping a watchful eye on kindergartners at an elementary school daycare, among many other roles!

What achievement are you most proud of in your career to date?

Overall, I am most proud of all of the work that I have done to help improve people’s work lives, and subsequently personal lives too. The recent pandemic, for example, really propelled HR into the spotlight. Working for innovative companies like Thoughtworks Canada and Connected during this time allowed me the opportunity to introduce new initiatives, such as remote-first work arrangements and work abroad programs. We also improved health & wellness benefits and general employee resources. It’s been rewarding to see these ideas come to fruition and make a difference for our employees. 

If you could go back in time and give yourself career advice, what would it be?

Take risks early on in your career. Test out different jobs and industries. Find what you’re really passionate about and look into Youth Mobility Visas! Working abroad not only gives you valuable work experience, but it enriches your life in ways you could never know, and you only have this opportunity until your 30’s!

What do you love to do outside of work?

Travelling is my favourite pastime! Whenever I have the opportunity I like to visit new places and learn about the culture. I’m curious by nature and I’d rather skip the tourist traps and head straight to the hidden gems. Thoughtworks Canada’s Work Abroad program is a real highlight for me that I plan to utilize ASAP for 2023 (in 2022 I spent time in Europe, visiting new countries and spending time with old friends, all while continuing to work!)

I also love anything health & wellness related and I’m always open to trying any new “health fad” out there. Depending on where I am, you can usually find me going on long hikes, skiing/snowboarding, road biking, painting, trying new restaurants, hanging out with my baby niece, watching too many documentaries, and attending basically anything that ends in ‘fest – like Poutinefest!

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what album, movie, and book would you take with you?

Album – Basically any album by Rufus Du Sol.
Movie – Into The Wild. And not just because I am stuck on a deserted island!
Book – The Glass Castle or Outliers (can I take two!?)

And finally, what’s your favourite product and why? 

My favourite product is the iPhone because it helps me stay connected to loved ones, take plenty of memorable photos, and map myself around the world using Maps as I have no internal compass!

3 images of Justine side by side, one standing in a desert, another standing in front of the Grand Canyon, and the third one sitting on steps in front of a mountain view.

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