by Rhonda Massad
Julie Quenneville grew up on the West Island where she began her philanthropic career at the age of 13 when she volunteered at the YMCA. The rest is history with some very recent accomplishments that include being named the TOP 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada.
The McGill University Health Centre Foundation’s president grew up in a loving home on the West Island with her brother, an engineer and her sister who is a physician. Julie dabbled in basketball, debate club, theatre club, and dance classes but settled on education in journalism at Concordia once she completed her studies at John Abbott College but not before testing the waters of political science for a year at McGill.
Julie was a lover of school and while studying at Concordia she did her internship at CBC. She later worked the nightshift news anchoring on CJAD. She wrote for the West Island Chronicle where she grew an interest in politics. She volunteered for Russel Williams campaign when he ran for the Liberal Party in the Montreal riding of Nelligan in the 1989 election. Williams was the co-founder of the West Island Palliative Care Residence. Williams was instrumental in Julie’s later position with Philippe Couillard who hired her while he was Health Minister.
Within a year, Julie was working in Quebec City alongside Couillard as his Associate Chief of Staff where the negotiations took place to keep the home of the Shriner’s Hospital here in Montreal as opposed to moving to Ontario. It also meant Julie was in Quebec City a large portion of her time. When Julie wanted to start a family she decided to look for work closer to home. She landed a position at the MUHC on the executive team in 2005, where she worked for the Shriners and on Government Affairs.
Julie is inspired by the doctors who work tirelessly developing breakthrough procedures and research at the new Glen site. Julie’s team is instrumental in raising the extra funds needed to assist them in their work.
In 2015, Julie was appointed the President of the MUHC Foundation.
Julie and her two children, Victoria, 11 and Noah, 8 have volunteered their time as a family at charitable events.
“Victoria and Noah are actively involved in the Foundation,” Julie shared. “They join the charity run, they attend galas, and they sell raffle tickets and even help their mom thank physicians and donors. They feel an incredible sense of ownership and responsibility towards the hospital.”
The family also likes to discover new places together.
“This summer, we toured Toronto and Niagara Falls. We visited almost every museum. The kids were moved to tears when they saw the falls,” Julie explained.
“Every year, we spend a long weekend in Lake George to visit the Great Escape theme park, we love roller coasters!”
Julie’s mix of philanthropy makes for a great mix of community, work, and family.