President and chief executive officer
McCord and Stewart museums
Women of Distinction 2017
Arts, Culture and Design Category
Biography of Suzanne Sauvage
Suzanne Sauvage, president and chief executive officer of the McCord and Stewart Museums, has been passionate about art and culture for as long as she can remember. As a result, throughout her career she has introduced into her teams practices that encourage creativity and openness to the world.
A true cultural entrepreneur, with vast experience in the field of communications, notably as the former president of Cossette Canada, she is now bringing her managerial experience and vision to the McCord and Stewart museums. Suzanne was appointed to lead the McCord in 2010 with the mandate to broaden its reach and ensure its ongoing survival. She formulated an innovative strategic communications plan and implemented it in 2013, achieving remarkable results.
Suzanne Sauvage is remarkable for her inclusive spirit and preoccupation with making art and culture accessible to everyone. In 2011, determined to get the Museum “into the street,” she transformed Victoria Street, beside the museum’s western entrance, into a pedestrian avenue to welcome Montrealers during the summer season. Aided by a team of landscape architects, the McCord’s Urban Forest was born. The Urban Forest is a lively spot where people can listen to music, take Yoga classes, meet artists, and, at noon, enjoy street food dispensed by food trucks. Its popularity quickly grew, attracting over 200,000 visitors each summer.
Thanks to Suzanne Sauvage, educational programs are a priority at the McCord Museum. She has devoted great care and enthusiasm to ensure that elementary and secondary school students, especially those from disadvantaged neighbourhoods and new arrivals, have access to the “Week at the Museum” program to enjoy the museum experience and learn about the country’s history.
In line with the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Suzanne Sauvage developed several activities to familiarize Montrealers with the history and important role of First Nations in our culture and the injustices they have endured. Among other things, she presented a photography exhibit about the Indian residential schools, a tragic episode in our history. She also invited a number of Aboriginal artists to be artists in residence at the Museum.
In addition, Suzanne has instituted a human resources policy to promote inclusiveness at the McCord and Stewart museums. She is now directing a team that reflects Montréal’s multicultural diversity. Now, over 40% of museum employees represent different cultural communities.
In addition to her role at the museums, Suzanne has been a member of several boards of directors over her career, including the boards of the Montréal YWCA, the Foundation du Grand Montréal, Concordia University, the Orchestre Métropolitain, and the Compagnie de Danse Marie Chouinard. This is a woman of culture and great heart!