Charles Parent – The relationship builder

President, iA Auto Finance
From Quebec City to Vancouver, and from Vancouver to Montreal, Charles Parent has made the most of iA’s internal mobility opportunities to rise through the corporate ranks and become a respected leader in many areas of the company.

Charles joined iA right out of university and an actuarial internship here. After three years at head office, he moved to British Columbia to join Industrial Alliance Pacific, as it was known back then.

English was a challenge for him then, but Charles quickly picked up the language and was offered a management role in our Special Markets division. In 2008, following iA’s acquisition of Excellence, he left for Montreal to grow sales outside Quebec. His actuarial acumen was put to good use in reviewing the new subsidiary’s product line, and he later become COO before moving to Individual Insurance, where he worked from 2018 to 2021.

While he has enjoyed building different segments of the business, Charles is also quite literally a builder; home improvement is one of his favourite pastimes. “Some of my colleagues joke that my home renovations have been going on for 10 years! I find that physical work relaxes me, even though I can be quite cerebral at the office!”

Charles is also a wine aficionado. He has travelled to France and California to stock his cellar. “I like wine for its social aspects. I already have in mind some fine bottles I plan to share with my loved ones on special occasions.”

Since December 2021, Charles has helmed iA Auto Finance, a business segment he went into knowing very little about. Overseeing the direction of an entire segment is another accomplishment in his career, which has been marked by his carefully considered decisions.

In this vein, iA’s executive development plan and the mentoring that goes with it have helped him learn more about himself and make connections across the organization.

“In management, the biggest mistake you can make is to not make a choice at all. I’ve had to make important decisions on many occasions. By staying true to my own values, I’m very comfortable with my choices.”

Surrounding himself with the right people and getting to know his colleagues have proven to be key for this talent builder. Recall that the iA Auto Finance segment was built from an established group of experts when CTL was acquired in 2015. It was Charles’ mission to help them progress even further by introducing the iA model. “The higher you climb on the corporate ladder, the more your work hinges on communication. I’ve always had this in mind in each of my roles.”

This builder has enjoyed meeting his new team: “I really love performance appraisals; they’re an excellent opportunity to get to know each other. As was the case for me, I’m keen to help the members of my team develop to their full potential, and there are plenty of avenues for people to flourish at iA.”

And in this respect, Charles is a prime example!