Same Person, New Industry: Meet Robotiq’s Cathy Bergeron
Posted on Oct 25, 2016 7:00 AM. 5 min read time
Cathy Bergeron's decision to move to Robotiq from a company she had been with for 13 years was not easy. A person with a strong sense of loyalty, she knew she also had to be loyal to her future and it was at Robotiq that she saw a wide open vista. Her work finding sales leads and coordinating information is at the heart of Robotiq's ability to expand and is helping to assure the company's future, too.
Robotiq was founded after lab-mates Samuel Bouchard, Vincent Duchaîne and Jean-Philippe Jobin decided to commercialize some of the mechatronic work they and their professor Clément Gosselin had created at Laval University in Quebec City. That was in 2008.
Today, Robotiq counts more than 30 full-time staff, and our grippers and sensors operate in 30 different countries. We felt it was time to start telling the stories of our team members.
Imagine working for a company for more than a decade, where your job is secure but the industry in which you’re working is not. That’s the situation Robotiq’s Cathy Bergeron found herself in.
Cathy was a longtime trusted employee of a business selling woodworking machines. She watched the industry grow weaker and her company's sales diminish. A chance meeting on LinkedIn with Robotiq CEO Samuel Bouchard led to a job offer. But this would be a completely new industry for her.
Cathy is Robotiq’s Applications Support and helps grow the company’s client list. She fields inquiries and makes sure potential customers get all the information and support they need to turn that interest into a sale. Just before she was hired in January of this year, Cathy, too, was seeking the information she needed on Robotiq. Seeing the company’s growth, dynamism and a welcoming sense to those who don’t have an engineering background, was all she needed to be sold on this industry that was making tools for a new generation of workers.
Meet: Cathy Bergeron, Applications Support
Every company needs a Cathy Bergeron. “She is that super reliable you-can-depend-on-her type of woman who keeps everything together,” says Robotiq Director of Marketing Karine Simard.
Growing up in Quebec City, Cathy showed that sense of responsibility for the larger group as the teenage captain of a ringette team, and it’s no coincidence that the one concept she brought up from her university marketing courses was one that says the company’s interests need to be placed above all else.
So when she was faced with a dilemma that would ask her to jump ship from a company she had joined 13 years earlier and that valued her, she definitely lost some sleep.
On the surface, there was no reason for Cathy to quit her job. Her company gave her increasingly important duties and her days were always busy.
But the story had more layers than just a job with lots of responsibilities and no time to be bored. Looking around her, Cathy began to see a changing industry landscape. “Salespeople would come back from shows that were quiet," she says of the woodworking tools conferences, which in better times would help drum up sales.
Toward the end of 2015, she received a LinkedIn message from Robotiq CEO Samuel Bouchard. They had a second-tier connection and he informed her of a job possibility at the company. After a few exchanges, he suggested they set up a phone call. When they spoke, he asked her how she knew their LinkedIn connection, Danik Bergeron, who was his brother’s best friend. Danik was her brother, she told him. After their chat, he suggested she come in for an interview.
Cathy's brother knew the company well, even pointing out to her that one of their Grippers had been in a funny Volkswagen ad, where it waves goodbye to the 2015 models next to a couple of the carmaker’s iconic lab-coat wearing engineers.
But she saved her important discussions with her partner Guy. “He was very encouraging about me changing. He said this was a company that was expanding, and this job would help improve what I was already good at,” she said.
Her new work had her generating sales leads for the company, but this would be much easier than making cold calls. “These are people who come onto our site and fill out our forms. They’ll have seen our products and our blog posts and eBooks. So, we can approach them and then ask them if they found the information they needed, if they needed help, show them a related article. They can tell us what they’re interested in and we can connect them to the right person.”
In her first days on the job, she immediately saw the contrast to her old industry. She had arrived during a product launch. “There was a lot of movement that week. Right away afterward, there was a lot of interest in the product. People would email me and want information. I was involved and integration was very quick. I was thrown right in!”
Cathy says she receives a lot of emails about price and questions about where Robotiq products can be purchased in the senders’ respective countries. “When they start getting too technical, the application engineer then gets involved,” says Cathy, who was heartened see how inclusive the robotics company has been toward someone like her who doesn’t have a lot of technical knowledge.
Despite handing over her technical queries, Cathy loves learning about the products and seeing them in action. She tries to make time to inform herself about trends and technology, reading the blog posts and eBooks that Robotiq puts out.
She says her days pass quickly and her inbox fills with inquiries in no time, often correlating with the communications the company sends out. “Marketing will send a newsletter and then my inbox explodes.”
Is she ever overloaded? “Oh, yes,” she says with a laugh, seemingly not recognizing the negative side of that. “It’s very motivating to see so much interest, so much action, and people happy to work with this company.” And she, too, is happy to work with the company. Part of that stems from the flexibility she feels from the company for the sports parents she and Guy have become to Charlie, 15, and Sammy, 11, both of whom compete in motocross and hockey, with Sammy also having a passion for basketball. "If you're looking for me in the summer, I'm usually near a motocross track and, during the winter, in a gym or arena."
She also appreciated how Robotiq shares information between administration and employees, and among departments. She feels she knows what’s going on in the company and says employees and administrators are brought together in very deliberate ways.
Yes, she changed industries, from one serving woodworkers who use more traditional tools to another serving companies looking to automate. But she is still the same person. She still connects people and coordinates, works for the team and is keen to take on new responsibilities. She may have taken a leap to a new industry, but it’s obvious to that she has landed on her feet in the process.