Get to Know Canadian Pacific’s First Chairwoman of the Board

In Glidex®, Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc., Rail & Mass Transit, Rail Lubrication, Railroads by Eric Vantiegham

Canadian Pacific’s appointment of its new board chairwoman is a historic first for the company — and for Class I railroads. 

This past May, the board of directors of Canadian Pacific elected Isabelle Courville — a member of the company’s board since 2013 — as their new chairwoman. Courville’s election as chairwoman is a noteworthy moment for the company and for the industry in general: she’s now the first woman to chair the board of Canadian Pacific and the first woman to chair the board of any Class I railroad.

This milestone represents a significant investment by Canadian Pacific in a forward-looking, diverse future for the company. By bringing a wide range of voices into the leadership fold, it’s possible to draw on the valuable array of perspectives from across their workforce. 

However, railroad companies with their eyes on the future, like Canadian Pacific, should also consider what investments they can make in their infrastructure to ensure a future that’s as safe as it is inclusive. Opting for top-grade rail maintenance products such as rail switch lubricants, for example, can help the company ensure reliable operations going forward.

Chairwoman Courville’s Experience

Courville’s tenure as chairwoman of the board will be backed by 25 years of experience in the energy and telecommunications sectors. Originally, she was trained as an engineer and lawyer, with degrees in engineering physics from Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal and civil law from McGill University.

In addition to serving as a member of the board, Courville has chaired and served on numerous company committees. She chaired the Management, Resources, and Compensation Committee and the Audit Committee on top of serving as a member of the Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee and the Risk and Sustainability Committee.

Courville also served as President of Hydro-Quebec Distribution, Hydro-Quebec TransEnergie, and Bell Canada’s Enterprise Group, as well as President and CEO of Bell Nordiq Group. She ended her time as chair of the Laurentian Bank of Canada this past April.

Workplace Diversity in Railroading

With the first female chair of a board of directors among Class I railroads, Canadian Pacific is setting the stage for a new generation of leadership inclusivity across the sector. In an interview with Progressive Railroading, Courville confirmed Canadian Pacific’s commitment to gender diversity while addressing the work the industry still has to do. 

“One of our corporate values is diversity,” Courville explains. “So, we need to be really clear with everybody that diversity is a top consideration in what we are doing.” As she went on to say, “We want young women out there to look at CP and know that we want them, and that they are welcome to apply to open positions.”

Leading by Supporting Better Operations

As Courville and Canadian Pacific look to build a diverse and inclusive future for the company, it’s also incumbent upon them to invest in the rail maintenance products necessary to safeguard their infrastructure and deliver reliable service going forward. By investing in sophisticated rail switch lubrication products — like those from Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. — it’s possible for railroad operators to secure their cargo, protect their crews, and deliver long-term value.

In fact, Midwest’s Glidex family of lubricants offers long-lasting lubrication on critical railroad infrastructure. A synthetic and organic solution applied as a fluid, our rail switch lubricant is more effective than other methods, continues to perform even in harsh conditions, and won’t wash off, pack, or harden. If you’re looking to invest in your railroad infrastructure and want the most effective rail switch lubricant available, reach out to the team at Midwest today.

Eric Vantiegham is Midwest’s Rail & Transit Specialist. Skilled in product development, new business development, and strategic planning, he enjoys playing ice hockey and coaching his boys' youth teams.