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Getting a boost up the ladder

Monika Ille built an impressive résumé over the years in the media industry. She now holds the highest-ranking executive position at the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN). Her career was already well underway when she enrolled at HEC Montreal to do an EMBA. This experience gave her the necessary perspective to take the reins of her organization.

The right tools to break the glass ceiling

Monika always knew she wanted to be a part of the television industry. She got her start working in Audience Services at Radio-Canada and held a number of communication roles with the National Film Board and Indigenous organizations before joining APTN, where she climbed the ranks through various management positions.

Monika knew she would need to upgrade her skills if she wanted to take her career to the next level. Although she wasn’t sure it was for her, she decided to take a chance and apply for the McGill-HEC Montréal EMBA, an MBA program designed for experienced leaders. She was attracted by the bilingual nature of the program and the two host schools’ reputation for excellence.

With the support of her employer and the help of a substantial scholarship for managers of Indigenous origin, she took the plunge.

Monika Ille

“I wasn’t sure whether I was the right fit for the program. I was 50 years old and already had a great job as an executive director. But you should always be learning, no matter where you’re at in your career. And I also thought about how, when my mom was my age, she decided to start learning Abenaki, the language of her ancestors. She was such an inspiration to me.”

Know thyself

  • From the start, Monika was thrilled with the quality of the education she received in the program and the access it gave her to HEC Montréal and McGill’s extensive academic networks. She is glad she took the leap to enroll in the program and give herself this opportunity.

  • She got to learn about new ways of doing and thinking about things that helped her better understand her strengths and limitations. She refined her leadership style and vision and learned to have more confidence in her processes and choices.

  • In the last few weeks of the program, Monika applied for the position of APTN’s Chief Executive Officer—and landed the job. She officially took the reins the same day she handed in her final paper for her EMBA.

“In the EMBA program, authenticity and self-respect was a big topic of discussion. Just because my successor helmed the network for 17 years, that doesn’t mean I have to follow in his footsteps. I can choose to lead the network in a way that aligns with my vision and values.”

Monika’s story

1986-1989 Bachelor’s degree in psychosociology of communications, UQAM
2003 Joined the APTN team as liaison officer
2019-2020 McGill-HEC Montréal EMBA
Chief Executive Officer, APTN

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