Maryse Benhoff is President of BG Communications International Inc. based in Montreal. Founded in 1994 Maryse had a hunch that with globalization an increasing reality in the business world, multilingual translation would be the business of the future. And she was right. BG Communications International Inc. has a staff of 20, 2.5 thousand translators world wide working in 200 languages and over 3 thousand clients. Maryse is a member of WBE Canada’s Supplier Advisory Committee and International Chair – ISO TC37/SC5 (Translation, Interpreting & Related Technologies).
WBE Canada: Tell us briefly about your business.
Maryse: BG Communications International Inc. is a renowned Montreal-based translation firm that has been providing professional linguistic services for 25 years. We are focused on delivering world class service and an outstanding customer experience to help our clients grow and prosper on the international market with various language audiences. Our services include translation, interpreting, revision, proofreading, linguistic adaptation, transcreation, multilingual websites, content creation, social media management, language courses and overall linguistic support.
WBE Canada: Why did you go into this business?
Maryse: I started the business on a hunch that, with globalization right around the corner, multilingual translation would be the business of the future: and I was right.
WBE Canada: When it comes to your business, what are you most proud of?
Maryse: My people. They are as dedicated to meeting our clients’ needs as I am. There is love in their work.
WBE Canada: As business grows it has a tendency to focus on institution instead of inspiration. How do you prevent this from happening?
Maryse: I believe that a team that works hard together and succeeds together remains inspired and is self propelling. We have always had a strong team environment by design and necessity. The work we do requires specialists of all levels, and to make the deadlines that our clients require from us while ensuring top quality, we must live and breathe team spirit—otherwise, we would not succeed.
WBE Canada: How do you encourage creative thinking in your company?
Maryse: All employees are encouraged to speak their mind and to bring solutions to the table. Ideas are also shared to encourage a dialogue and to spark new ideas.
WBE Canada: How has your WBE certification helped you in your business?
Maryse: We have been able to obtain major work with some of the Tier 1 suppliers such as Cotton Candy and Data Group as well as some very interesting work with other WBE members.
We are regularly invited to tender during the RFPs with the Corporate Members of WBE Canada.
I have also found that the learning opportunities provided by WBE (conferences, breakfast with brands, etc.) help us better understand the needs of procurement professionals. As a supplier, we don’t necessarily understand the complexity of procurement management: procurement managers need to be sure that the suppliers they choose are reliable and can meet the challenges of what is asked of them.
Furthermore, the actual certification process requires each WBE applicant to examine its entire structure to ensure that it is solid and fully functional: I appreciated undergoing the process for exactly that reason.
During RFP processes in other forums, I regularly include our certification even if it is not required, and our company is frequently chosen instead of some behemoth in our field; I have often wondered if the desire to have a diversity supplier has played in our favour.
WBE Canada: What advice would you give to another woman at the beginning stage of building her business?
Maryse: NEVER GIVE UP—especially when you think the mountain is too high. Push yourself even harder. If sales are what need to happen, make them happen. Keep searching for those clients. If you can’t get to them directly, ask someone to introduce you. Ask your WBE friends! I could write a thesis on this subject but for now, let’s keep it simple. Sales are usually the biggest issue.
WBE Canada: What has been the most challenging time in your business and how did you overcome it?
Maryse: Trying to grow too quickly can hurt—sometimes, you have to back up, regroup, and restart.
WBE Canada: What has been the biggest triumph?
Maryse: Having found my true calling early on in life. I feel incredibly fortunate to have done so.
WBE Canada: What is your superpower?
Maryse: My superpower is True Optimism – I cannot approach life any other way.
WBE Canada: How do you continue to develop and grow as a leader?
Maryse: Growth is very important; I am a member of many strong women’s associations that provide us with access to innumerable conference speakers on all the latest subjects.
WBE Canada: Has there been someone who inspired you and how?
Maryse: My former boss, John MacBain. After working for him, I realized that there was nothing you could not do if you put your mind to it. He challenged me with work that pushed all the boundaries of traditional business—all I needed was willingness to put in the hours. Working for him was as inspiring as much as it was challenging and I would do it all again.
WBE Canada: What is your favourite quote?
Maryse: There are so many good quotes. The one I live by is:
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill
However, I also love the quote by William W. Purkey that says: “Dance like there’s nobody watching, love like you’ll never be hurt, sing like there’s nobody listening, and live like it’s heaven on earth.” Maybe someday I will be able to live up to it!
WBE Canada: Are you actively involved in community work? If so, please provide a brief outline.
Maryse: I am proud to say that I am on the WBE advisory committee, which is committed to enhancing the WBE experience for all its members. I am also involved with many organizations: within my own industry, I have been a member of the board of directors of the national Association of Translation Companies since 2009 and am actively involved in the development of ISO standards as the International Chair of Translation, interpreting and related technologies. Both appointments are voluntary, and both associations are essential to the future of our industry. I am also involved with MADA, a charity that provides food to the needy, which is an absolute must. Living in a country of abundance, we must have a way to share with those who are not as fortunate.
WBE Canada: What do you hope your legacy will be?
Maryse: I hope that my work both within my company and on the international scene in championing standardization in our industry will conclude with having shaped the industry for the better for all parties.
About BG Communications
BG Communications International Inc. has a staff of 20, 2.5 thousand translators world wide working in 200 languages and over 3 thousand clients. This internationally renown business provides services including translation, interpreting, revision, proofreading, linguistic adaptation, transcreation, multilingual website, content creation, social media management, language courses and overall linguistic support. Connect with them on their website, LinkedIn, Twitter.
About WBE Canada
WBE Canada is a Canadian non-profit organization that is opening doors for women-owned businesses to supply chains across North America. It certifies Canadian firms that are at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by women and introduces them to opportunities with corporations. To learn more about how we support women-owned businesses, click here. If you are a mid-size or large company looking to support women-owned businesses through procurement opportunities, we want to hear from you. Click here to learn more how you can get involved.