Véronique De Sève

Director, business development, Fondaction

“I have this urge to reconnect with the activist in me. This initiative with Leucan is quite timely. Let's go!

Véronique De Sève became Director, Business Development and Advocacy Networks at Fondaction in 2020. She was previously Vice-President of CSN where she worked for 17 years. During her years with the labour organization, she has held many responsibilities including: support services to regional outreach and operations; status of women; youth and succession; LGBT+; cross-cultural relationships; and Indigenous issues. An ardent feminist, she is a member of the Council on the Status of Women and Femmessor.

As she embarks in her fifties, Véronique De Sève feels the instinctive need to go back to her roots and find new meanings for her life. “I turned 50 last year, I got a new job, I’m planning to take the pilgrimage route with my mom this June. I want to revive the strong activist within me. The Audacieuses initiative could not have come at a better time in my life. It’s now or never!”

Véronique De Sève built her career on community action. Her sensitive nature, eloquence, and inner sense of social justice led her to speak out and advocate for several causes. But after many years spent in high gear, she felt the need to hit the brakes and take a step back. While her current position with Fondaction is less militant heavy, she finds it just as stimulating, albeit differently. But as the saying goes, a leopard never changes its spots. “I have this urge to reconnect with the activist in me. This initiative with Leucan is quite timely. Let’s go!”

Embracing Leucan’s Cause

During a visit to the Leucan-CSN Summer Camp, Véronique had the opportunity to meet Leucan families—something she had refused to do for a long time. “I was often asked to volunteer at the camp but I always said no. I can’t be around illness. It triggers a deeply rooted fear in me.”

Eventually, she faced her fear and went to the camp where, to her surprise, she only found beauty. “I should have gone earlier! The camp has nothing to do with illness. Instead, it’s full of fun, smiles, and happy people who can forget about cancer for a week. I want to be the heart and voice of the people I met so that I can explain how extraordinary it is and why we should give generously.”

She thinks with emotion about what those families go through, about those mothers supporting a child through this hardship. “I want to embrace Leucan’s cause because I believe in it and because it’s so important. I’m hoping to give a boost of energy to those families with my simple gesture.”

After a degree in psychoeducation, Véronique spent 10 years working with teenagers at the Centre jeunesse in Laval. “I absolutely loved that work. Seeing young people from difficult backgrounds fighting to make their way forward makes you so hopeful. I can draw a parallel with the children of Leucan who aspire to not only be defined by cancer but to have access to every opportunity to grow, to look to the future, and to dream.”

No Hair, Don’t Care?

Véronique De Sève admits that there is a very simple explanation behind her long, dark hair. “I keep my hair long because it’s easy to maintain. A quick turn under the brush and flat iron, or in the summer, wear it in a bun and you’re done.” Shaving her head doesn’t scare her. Still, with the challenge only a few weeks away, she looks at herself differently during virtual meetings, trying to imagine her future look. “I care about my appearance. I enjoy wearing make-up and elegant dresses.”

Through this gesture, she hopes to contribute to quashing the association between short hair and illness. She also strives to show that femininity takes many shapes and forms, with or without hair. “Beyond the reaction of others, I wonder how I will feel. Will a bald head give me a different attitude? I’m an energetic go-getter and I know what I’m worth. But does my hair hide a certain vulnerability? Will I keep the same self-confidence? Or will I become as vulnerable as the Samson from the tale?”

Smurfettes to the Rescue!

Lively and colourful, Véronique De Sève is looking forward to meeting the inspiring women going under the razor blade by her side. “Getting one’s head shaved for a cause is already quite special but doing it as part of a group, in a congenial spirit, makes it all the more significant. I cannot wait to hear their stories and reasons. We will be able to rely on each other. Maybe it’s the pandemic or remote work, but I really need to see people.”

She imagines the big day as a festive and unifying event. Her fellow Audacieuses will certainly smile when they see her taking three Smurfettes out of her bag. “These figurines are my gris-gris. They come with me wherever I go, during important milestones or when I travel alone. I take pictures of them, and it generates conversations every time. They are a part of me with their reassuring presence. So, of course, they will be with me on the big day.”