Brigitte Jalbert

President, Emballages Carrousel

“If a person in my position, at my age, and with my hair dares to get her head shaved, why shouldn’t you?”

Brigitte Jalbert runs Emballages Carrousel, the largest packaging company in Canada with $162 million in annual sales and 375 employees at 5 facilities. As CEO, she is known for her rallying leadership, caring equally for the company’s development and the well-being of her employees. She has earned several awards over the years, including a 2019 RBC Women of Influence Award and a 2019 RFAQ’s Femmes d’affaires du Québec Award.

“Children should never be sick. Childhood diseases should simply not exist. I feel this visceral need to raise people’s awareness about this cause. People need to open their eyes and hearts,” says Jalbert. Tears roll on her cheeks as she explains what motivated her to join Les Audacieuses. But there is great news behind her emotions running so high: she will be a grandma in June. “I only found out recently. A little baby is on its way… It makes me even more sensitive to the cause. Leucan truly matters to me.”

For Brigitte Jalbert, giving back is second nature, but this will be her biggest gesture yet. “Some ride a bicycle for a week, others run marathons. I am not an athlete: this is not within my reach. By getting my head shaved, I will do my part my own way. I am healthy and privileged.” Of course, she hopes to inspire her teams and, more broadly, the population. “If a person in my position, at my age, and with my hair dares to get her head shaved, why shouldn’t you?”

Building strong ties

When she imagines the moment when her hair will fall on the floor, she needs to catch her breath. “I have a lot of hair and it’s dark and thick. This will be a huge shock! Hair is a big part of a woman’s image, so I’m glad to live this one-of-a-kind experience with a group. Women from various backgrounds are pushing their fear aside to rally for the cause. I cannot wait to meet them. I believe that we will build strong ties and make our message stronger with one voice. It truly inspires me.”

When the timing is right…

Les Audacieuses project is very timely, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Carrousel Packaging. “The timing is great. This will be a special year. The company will be making some announcements very soon.” Jalbert believes that the coronavirus crisis makes people more willing to give and, most of all, “to help and open themselves to others.”

A wig as a safety net

With the big day getting closer, Brigitte Jalbert cannot help feeling a little dizzy. She expects to regret her decision sooner or later. “I’m fairly sure there will be mornings where I’ll feel like crying. But that’s OK, I’m ready for it. I accepted that this is a gift of self we will all carry for several months.” Her husband and daughters support her decision.

A dear friend who recovered from breast cancer will even lend her a long wig of dark brown hair… Hair like hers! “This wig is like my safety net. It will help me to face harder days. Maybe I’ll never wear it.” To put her mind at ease, she reminds herself that this was her choice. “My friend had no choice. She didn’t even know if she would survive. I’m in good shape. When I think of all the sick women, men, and children, I feel truly fortunate.”

Never without her lipstick!

With good humour, Brigitte Jalbert has already done the math: hair grows 1 cm per month. Her hair is currently 28-cm long. “That means my hair will have grown back in 28 months. In the meantime, this will give me the opportunity to try on new dos, to have fun with it. I will get my hair coloured for sure. No grey for me, even if I’m about to be a grandma! And I will wear my lipstick. It’s already a must for me. I even wear lipstick underneath my mask!” she concludes with a laugh.

Photographer, Andréanne Gauthier; stylist, Simon Venne (Judy Inc.); hair & makeup, Alper Sisters (Teamm Agency)