Seven Francophone and Bilingual New Brunswickers to Watch


Good business knows no language barrier. All across New Brunswick there are talented people conducting business in French or both official languages.

Here are just a few we’ve come across who are making la Francophonie shine:

Thomas Raffy

47JTL94JThomas Raffy is passionate about advocating for business owners and entrepreneurs. With experience in corporate commercial law, Raffy is now president and CEO of the Conseil économique du Nouveau-Brunswick.

Originally from Toulouse, France, Raffy has been in Canada for nearly 10 years. He studied political science and public relations in California and worked for former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s communications team. Raffy says that being from France and now being a Francophone Canadian has made him hold la Francophonie in high importance.

“The economic value and strength of la Francophonie can be seen across the world,” he says. “I have witnessed it firsthand in Europe and in my travels and I believe that it’s important we embrace this as one of our best assets here in New Brunswick.”

Raffy feels strongly about having a positive impact on his community. He’s a board member and coach with Codiac Soccer Club and advocates for arts and culture and immigration in New Brunswick.

Raffy is about to embark on a tour with CÉNB to meet their members across the province. He says it will be an opportunity to sit down with members and chat about views of their region and the challenges they face.

“It’s truly energizing to represent entrepreneurs who are the economic engine of the province,” he says. “They all share one thing in common: they’re go-getters, optimistic and passionate about their work – I can say that I see myself in them.”

Lyne Esseimbre

0010c - copieLyne Esseimbre is a fan of numbers. After finishing her bachelor’s degree in management in 2000, she went to work and was always happiest when working with numbers.

Esseimbre considered going back to school to study accounting but thought it impossible to do so and raise two kids at the same time. But in 2012 she took the plunge and went back to earn her degree in accounting. In 2013 she quit her job as a bookkeeper and started her own business in Dieppe, The Bookkeeping Girl.

“For the past three years, I’ve had the job of my dreams,” she says. “My client base has grown to a point where this year i had to decide whether I was satisfied with the size of the business or whether I wanted to hire more people and keep growing. I decided to keep growing.”

The Bookkeeping Girl makes use of cloud-based accounting software, which means that Esseimbre can work from anywhere at any time. She currently has clients in Canada and in the US.

“I love what I do. I go to bed at night and I can’t wait to wake up so I can get back to work.”

Brad LeBlanc

_DDE9546Brad LeBlanc helps small and medium sized businesses that can’t afford the services of large marketing agencies grow.

LeBlanc and David Hawkins founded Moncton-based BrainWorks as a different kind of agency, one that would help companies get from where they are to where they want to be. BrainWorks’ clients range from one person operations to billion dollar publicly traded companies.

LeBlanc says he has been an entrepreneur since before he even knew what the word meant and has had many ventures, some failures and some successes. His first business was a DJ service when he was in middle school, followed by what he calls a “glamorous” business pressure washing people’s houses.

“If you dig down to my core, I’m driven by one thing: helping people live an inspired life,” LeBlanc says. “I love playing a small role in helping people connect with their ‘why’ and helping them realize their true potential. I know what it’s like to have everyone believe in you and I know what it’s like to have no one believe in you. I believe the world has enough negativity already. We don’t need to add any more.”

Along with the business side of things, LeBlanc says BrainWorks helps as many charitable and community organizations as possible. They are currently recruiting for two new full-time positions and hope to continue that growth.

“As an entrepreneur I’m always open to new ideas and opportunities, especially if they can in some way help grow or promote Atlantic Canada and all that it has to offer.”

Sebastian Roy

The two ownersSebastian Roy of Distillerie Fils du Roy in Paquetville has always had an interest in producing alcohol. At fourteen, he was already secretly mixing water, sugar and baking yeast in his bedroom closet.

“By the time I was at university, I realized that when you produce alcohol, you have a lot of friends,” Roy says. “I was brewing all types of weird beer and had a lot of volunteers that wanted to try them.”

But after a trip to The Czech Republic in 2007, Roy experienced the world of spirits. In 2012, Distillerie Fils du Roy got its start in Roy’s small garage. Today the operation has expanded significantly and the company is producing internationally recognized spirits.

Creating the next great drink is Roy’s biggest passion.

“If I can take ideas or ingredients or techniques and mix them together to create something new, it gives me a nice sensation of accomplishment. This warm feeling gives me motivation create more,” he says. “Operating a distillery and brewery gives me many opportunities to create things from raw ingredients. The only limits I have are normally the one I will impose to myself, by being aware of this, it help me to push my limits further. ”

Get ready, because Roy has some pretty cool mixes in the works, including molasses spirits; malt spirits and New Brunswick’s first Single Malt Whisky. We’re eagerly waiting.

Inuk Simard

inuk simardInuk Simard is not afraid of a challenge.

He founded and launched his Shippagan-based company GEOMEDIATIX INNOVATIONS after his position as lab supervisor and research assistant at Université de Moncton was cut with little notice

“I ended up launching the company in three months time, covering all the financial, marketing, technical and legal steps a startup needs to surf through to get going,” Simard says. “We were two partners at the time, wanting to offer new services in the fields of UAV-based aerial photography, remote sensing and geomatics.”

Since then GEOMEDIATIX has been involved in wide variety of projects from videography for film and documentary productions, to analytical remote sensing and coastal features monitoring for climate change effects.

“I try to get involved in projects that are on the edge of current knowledge, I need to be challenged constantly otherwise I move on to something else,” Simard says. “Getting involved in the UAV sector certainly satisfied that need as it is a constantly and rapidly evolving sector.”

He says GEOMEDIATIX has already evolved since its inception, concentrating more now on the analytical applications of UAV-based technologies and services, but they’re not slowing down yet.

“There is still lots more to come in terms of machine intelligence and data integration emerging from Big Data, live data processing, beyond line-of-sight UAV flight and computer-vision applications we currently aren’t even thinking about,” Simard says.

“We’re exploring new worlds and it’s full of surprises!”

Philippe Denert

philippe denartPhilippe Denert is bringing a taste of Paris to Shédiac, New Brunswick.

With a menu that will make you drool, Le Petit Paris puts a little bit of France on your plate while providing a warm & friendly atmosphere. Denert became proprietor of Petit Paris in May 2014 after the French couple who previously owned it retired. Before moving to Canada, Denert was living in Corsica working as a pastry chef at a popular restaurant in the area.

“I made the decision to come to Canada because my brother was already here and was encouraging me to visit and possibly work for a season,” Denert says. “Once here it was hard to leave as it is such a beautiful place and when the opportunity came up to purchase Petit Paris I couldn’t resist and did not hesitate.”

Petit Paris is also a small hotel with four rooms in case your dinner makes you so stuffed you can’t walk to your car. There’s no doubt Denert takes his passion for fine food and dining very seriously.

“I believe going to a restaurant is not just about great food it is also about the experience,” he says.  “It should be memorable.”

Rino Maltais

rino maltaisRino Maltais is changing the way people find employers and how employers find people.

Maltais is the co-founder and co-president of business development at R2, a leading provider of recruitment, outplacement and workforce development solutions across Eastern Quebec and Atlantic Canada, based in Campbellton.

Maltais and his business partner Rico Levesque created the company after realizing there was a gap in the labour market.

“We saw that in spite of the numerous job offers, job-seekers had a hard time finding available jobs and companies had difficulties finding the right talent – which led to increasingly poor fits, retention rates and growth,” Maltais says.

“We knew that only 20 per cent of all jobs were advertised and that only 25 per cent of candidates were visible to employers,” he says. “So we started out by simply maximizing the number of contacts. It was a simple yet, as time would tell, surprisingly revolutionary step.”

Thus R2 was born, and from there it snowballed. R2 is now a team averaging 20 workers with multiple offices and key collaborators, working closely with large corporation concerns as well as small and medium-sized businesses, governments, insurers and job seekers. R2 has become an entry point to a network of employers and talents.

For Maltais, growing the company is his biggest passion and is firm believer that passion, camaraderie and social responsibility are the key ingredients to R2’s success.

“We’re proud of what we are building and we continuously strive to make R2 a key player in this field.”