Sophie Ducharme

Vice-President, National Guidance, Private/Corporate Banking, National Bank of Canada

« You have to be daring in life and not let opportunities like the Audacieuses pass you by. Life is too short for regrets. Let’s go! »

Sophie Ducharme is Vice-President, National Guidance, Private/Corporate Banking, for National Bank of Canada. A notary by trade, she works to help and guide clients and to make finance and law understandable and accessible to all. With a focus on listening to people and their individual needs, Sophie is a breath of fresh air in the more austere world of law and finance. Genuine and passionate, she gets involved in myriad ways: as a financial planner and member of Chambre des notaires du Québec; as a member of the Board of XP_Montréal, and as Chair of the Board of Le Chaînon. Today, Sophie Ducharme is broadening her social involvement by joining the 2023 cohort of the Audacieuses for Leucan.

Joining the Audacieuses was a personal decision for Sophie. Several factors played a role in her decision but Leucan’s cause was chief among them. “My family and I have been directly affected by cancer since I were child. So, that’s the first reason that came to my mind.”

Another factor was the opportunity to meet people, both before and after the Challenge. Every past participant she spoke to left a mark on her heart. “As I was listening to their individual experience as Audacieuses, I felt like I was already a part of their group. Right away, it just seemed like something I could absolutely do: a bold action to take with compassionate people for a major cause.”

Surrounding yourself with the right people and getting involved in meaningful causes can make a big difference—something Sophie knows very well. “It’s a pleasure for me to take part in beautiful causes with the help of others. As a born team player, getting involved in a far-reaching project as part of a group was what inspired me to join the Audacieuses.”

Rallying Around a Cause

While a great accomplishment, being a woman in an executive role can also be very isolating and make one feel misunderstood at times. Joining the Audacieuses is a way for Sophie to be around women with a similar career path. “It can feel lonely at the top sometimes. How great it will be to connect with nine other women who also have the guts to take action for the right reasons, and to come together in the same spirit around one shared goal.”

Although the ten women each have extraordinary stories, they remain simple women at their core. As someone who strives to bring people together, Sophie hopes to show to all women that they can follow their ambitions and achieve their dreams. “True, the ten of us are accomplished women but I hope to make this project more accessible. At the end of the day, we’re all regular women daring to take powerful action.”

Sheer Happiness as a Career Goal

On the surface, it could look as though Sophie Ducharme created an elaborate career plan for herself but her ultimate goal is quite simple: “As cheesy as it may sound, my goal in life is to be happy. I never actually had a career plan. In fact, my plan is to be happy and to make people around me happy.”

Led by her inquisitive nature and open-mindedness, she makes exchanges of ideas with inspiring people part of her routine. “To become a better and more caring person, you have to be interested in others, take things to heart, and be curious. Curiosity is the antidote to prejudice. If each and every one of use takes small steps at our own level, we have the power to change things.”

While exchanging with others influence her, Sophie influences others in turn by her humane and concrete approach. “I lead by example to influence people. I never try to impose my ideas and I don’t ever pretend to possess the absolute truth. We influence others positively by talking and sharing ideas but also through our own actions and behaviours.”

Breaking Through the Isolation

Dread, lack of support, and generalized anxiety disorder are all part of Sophie’s personal history. In some ways, the pain and suffering of member children of Leucan are a reflection of her own. So, she hopes to contribute in creating a better childhood for those children; to help all the little Sophies who, just like her, probably feel very lonely at times.

“I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder at the age of 12. Back then, doctors did not know what to do with someone with my condition. As a result, I had zero support. I had to develop my own coping mechanisms to survive. It can be quite alienating for a child. Today, I want to help so that children won’t feel alone.”

Is she anxious about the Challenge she’s about to take? Of course. However, she will not let anxiety win in the end. Sophie wants a life without regrets.

“It is a little unnerving but I think that’s normal... I have to bid adieu to my hair, and there’s also the fundraising part to consider. But you have to be daring in life and not let opportunities like the Audacieuses pass you by. Life is too short for regrets. Let’s go!”

Choosing to Dare

Joining the Audacieuses is a choice; a voluntary decision Sophie dared to make for herself.

“Some people will go through life never daring to go beyond the beaten path, although I don’t think you can go your whole life without a little courage. I’ve been courageous at different times either out of obligation or simply to get by. But I have chosen to be Audacieuse.”

In the meantime, Sophie very much hopes to bring her zest for life and infectious spirit to the cause. Indeed, she put together her very own Audacieuse checklist:

“I want to contribute levity and joy to the cause. I want to be proud of myself. I want to be proud of those nine other women taking on the Challenge with me. And finally, I want to raise a lot of money. After all, I work for a bank. That should definitely come in handy to support the families of Leucan.”