Hélène V. Gagnon is Chief Sustainability Officer and Senior Vice President, Stakeholder Engagement at CAE and is a member of the Executive Management Committee. She leads CAE’s sustainability, environment, health and safety and social impact strategy across CAE’s worldwide operations to make the world a safer place. She is accountable for CAE’s global communications with employees, media and other stakeholders as well as collaboration, government programs (R&D) and academic partnerships. She also oversees the overall diversity, equity and inclusion corporate strategy and indigenous relations. In her role, she partners with CAE’s business units and functions to capitalize on opportunities to strategically advance sustainability while creating business value.
She joined CAE in 2015 as Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, Global Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility. Prior to her appointment at CAE, Ms. Gagnon worked for 11 years at Bombardier, the last eight as Vice President, Public Affairs, Communications, Corporate Social Responsibility and Achieving Excellence System for Bombardier Aerospace, at the time, the third largest civil aircraft manufacturer. From 2003 to 2007 she was Senior Director of Public Affairs at Bombardier Transportation.
She began her career in 1995 with the law firm Fasken as a specialist in environmental law. In 2000, she joined mining and metallurgy multinational Noranda Inc./ Falconbridge Limited (now known as Glencore) as Director of Public and Corporate Affairs for Québec.
Ms. Gagnon has always been very active in the community. She has been involved in more than 50 organizations including government advisory boards, pressure groups, cultural and charity organizations and business associations and was appointed to more than 25 Boards of Directors.
She is currently an independent member of the Board of Directors of Hydro Quebec since 2015 and Chairs the Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility Committee. She is Vice Chair of the Board of the Canadian American Business Council and has been a member of the Board since 2017. Hélène chaired the Board of Directors of Aéro Montréal, Greater Montréal’s Aerospace Cluster (2015-2018) and the Board of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada’s (2012-2013) and is still a Board member of both. She serves on the Board of the IAEG (International Association Environment Group). In 2023, she completed her 9-year mandate as Board member and Vice Chair of the Montreal Airports.
She has been a speaker or panelist around the world on topics such as sustainability, social impact, environmental policy, corporate social responsibility, public policy issues, crisis management, issue management and social media. She has garnered more than 70 scholarships, awards, distinctions and excellence prizes notably, the prestigious Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100™ award from the Women Executive Network in 2007 and the top 50 of Best Executives in Canada from the Globe and Mail Report on Business in 2022.
A graduate of McGill University with a degree in Civil Law (B.C.L.) and Common Law (LL.B.), Ms. Gagnon also holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration and Public Policy from the London School of Economics (M.Sc). She is a member of the Québec Bar, holds the professional certifications of Accredited in Public Relations (APR) and Fellow (FCPRS) from the Canadian Public Relations Society as well as the Global ESG Competent Boards Designation (GCB.D).