A warm welcome from Natacha Carrières
“I work behind the scenes,” she says right off the bat. The spotlight is rarely on Natacha, who is in charge of Outaouais Tourism’s visitor centre in Montebello; she’s most comfortable behind her information desk in the former Montebello train station. She’s the one who helps out the tourists!
HER CAREER PATH
As a young adult, Natacha moved to Mont-Laurier to study to become a game warden. “I learned about a whole bunch of stuff: legislation, lakes, flora, firearms, wilderness survival …” On completing her studies she returned to the Outaouais, hoping to find a job in her field, and moved from Gatineau to the Petite-Nation.
In this somewhat limited environment, she found work at an outfitter—not as a warden, but as a receptionist. A bit of a disappointment. Between going back to school in Papineauville, working as a day camp counsellor and supply teaching, Natacha heard about a front desk clerk position at Outaouais Tourism in Montebello. She agreed to take the job, thinking she’d just help out for a few weeks. She’s been there for 22 years!
PATIENCE TO SPARE
To stay so long in the same place, you have to like it. What does she enjoy most about her job? “The diversity! I deal with administration, purchasing, human resources … and most important, I work with people.”
Natacha has a valuable gift: patience. “I have tons! You repeat the same information year after year, but you have to remember that the person you’re talking to has never heard it before.” She has developed the art of asking tourists questions: “I have a kind of OCD: I make sure I explain the information in two different ways, and I repeat it during our conversation without making it obvious …”
THE IMPORTANCE OF HOSPITALITY
Her fondest job-related memories? “There are many! I especially enjoy helping people who are in a tough spot. You feel important. You define someone’s vacation, and you also define the image of the Outaouais. Sometimes people extend their vacation after talking to you, and that’s very satisfying. When I travel elsewhere, I realize what a difference a warm welcome can make. I’m very aware of that.”
Discover our Ambassadors : tourismeoutaouais.com/en/ambassadors