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Laurier grad Michael Gregoire
Laurier grad Michael Gregoire

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WLU

Taleo CEO encourages Laurier science students to dream big

Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

Mar 24/06

In a lecture on March 23 entitled “From Physics to Wall Street”, Michael Gregoire, president and CEO of Taleo Corporation, urged Laurier science students to take advantage of the “tremendous” opportunities available in the burgeoning global workplace.

With the analytical skills they develop through their studies, scientists are well suited for success in big business, Gregoire said, citing examples such as leadership guru Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering. But if they want to become leaders rather than merely “implementers of other people’s ideas”, students also must develop their writing and people skills, something that Gregoire admits he has had to work at himself.

“As a scientist, you’re trained to solve complex problems, but you also need to be able to articulate those solutions. And you need to be able to understand and motivate the people around you in order to achieve something meaningful,” he said.

Gregoire also warned students not to limit their potential by restricting themselves to a specific geographical area. “Decide what you want to do, and then be prepared to move where the interesting work is,” he stressed.

As a Laurier physics graduate, Gregoire began his career as a programmer for technology service provider EDS. Although a self-described introvert, he began to take on greater responsibility and worked his way into senior leadership positions with EDS and PeopleSoft. In 2005, Gregoire became CEO of Taleo, the largest software-on-demand company in the world focused on talent management solutions – systems that enable organizations of any size to assess, acquire, and manage their workforce.

“We’re delighted that we were able to bring someone of Michael’s calibre to speak at Laurier,” said Art Szabo, dean of the faculty of science. “He delivered a strong message about the unlimited possibilities in science-related careers. At the same time, he’s approachable and communicates easily with students,” he noted, as Gregoire and a group of said students compared BlackBerrys.

Fourth-year financial math student Andrea Popovic appreciated the opportunity to hear Gregoire’s success story first-hand. “It’s reassuring to meet a Laurier grad who has achieved so much.”

Beth Bohnert


 

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