In-house lawyer Tessa Roy-Hébert enhances her business leadership skills while on maternity leave

CCCA program gives opportunities for career advancement

In-house lawyer Tessa Roy-Hébert enhances her business leadership skills while on maternity leave
Tessa Roy-Hébert

In-house counsel today are often deeply involved in all aspects of running the business, so it is imperative to have strategic business and financial literacy skills, in addition to legal expertise.

With this in mind, Tessa Roy-Hébert recently participated in a business leadership program for in-house counsel run by the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association, in conjunction with the Rotman School of Management. The program offers management and leadership skills to help in-house lawyers advance their careers and contribute in a meaningful way to the executive team.

Despite being on maternity leave, Roy-Hébert, who is who is director of legal and regulatory affairs at energy consulting and brokerage firm DNE Resources, managed to complete the program remotely over a period of 10 months, while caring for her baby. She was able to participate in the online classes while frequently holding her son on camera.

“There was no point in pretending that he was anywhere else,” says Roy-Hébert. “They were so accommodating, and I think there were lots of other people in the program with young kids, so it felt like we were all in this together, especially in the COVID era.”

Roy-Hébert joined Montreal-based DNE Resources three years ago and created a legal department from scratch, which gave her the opportunity to flex her legal skills – though she lacked experience on the business side, having previously worked only in private practice.

“What allowed me to be successful was mostly just good legal instincts and common sense, but I did feel that can only get me so far, so the CCCA program helped me establish confidence and an internal and external credibility,” she says. “It gave me the business tools that I was missing so now I feel I can participate in business conversations.” In her role at DNE, Roy-Hébert leads the internal and external legal teams as well as HR, and she is focused on contract drafting and review, employment law and regulatory compliance.

Roy-Hébert recommends the business leadership program to other in-house counsel – especially those coming from small teams who may not have exposure to broader areas of the business. The program accommodates in-house lawyers at all stages of their careers, she says.

As for herself, Roy-Hébert is currently at a crossroads in her career where she hopes to continue growing and expanding her legal department, but she also wants to be more directly involved in the business.

“I’m really exploring which part of being in-house I enjoy the most,” she says.

The second cohort of the CCCA’s business leadership program for in-house counsel launches in February 2022, with applications due by November 30. This 10-month program consists of live online sessions taught by Rotman School of Management faculty at the University of Toronto, combined with a self-paced online component. Graduates earn a designation of Certified In-House Counsel – Canada.


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