When the Student Surpasses the Teacher, It’s Mission Accomplished

When Julie Pellerin talks about her career path, the name of the person she considers her mentor, Daniel Nappert, comes up quickly. Her face lights up, and her words about the man who has played a key role in her career at EXP since 1999 are tinged with respect and admiration.

Shortly after earning her engineering degree from the Université de Sherbrooke, Julie received a wise piece of advice from somebody already in the industry. “I was told that Daniel Nappert at EXP was a good coach, and that I should send him my resume. So, I did,” says Julie. “He contacted me for an interview and hired me a few days later.” From day one, it was an inspiring professional relationship based on respect and trust.

A team player first

Growing up with 10 brothers and sisters, Daniel quickly grasped the meaning of being a team player and applied it in the various areas of his life, making him the manager he is today. “I coached a hockey team for 14 years. Team spirit is number one for me,” he says. He believes the keys to success are respect, mutual support and communication.

During his 35 years at EXP, Daniel has always nurtured the relationship with his team, even in the busiest of times. Whether it’s to answer a question or just to share a coffee with his team in the break room, he takes the time to stop and hear what people have to say. “Daniel is very close to his people, and we really appreciate it. Our team is close-knit, as they say. Every day, we like to spend a few minutes around the coffee machine, talking about work and this and that. Everyone enjoys it. It builds team spirit and creates ties among employees,” says Julie.

Mirroring a positive leader

From her earliest days at EXP, Julie quickly identified Daniel as an example to be followed. “Daniel’s office door is always open. When I was starting out, he helped me with expressing myself better and interacting with contractors. I like his communication style, his management techniques and his interventions, which are always intelligent, respectful and diplomatic.”

Greatly inspired by her mentor, Julie followed Daniel’s steps into the role of director – a role in which she grows and changes daily. “I think the greatest thing Daniel taught me is to respect your team. That’s crucial, and I will do everything to continue my career with the precious legacy he passes on to me each day.”

Daniel projects the image of a positive leader and a mentor with natural ease. “I don’t see myself as a mentor. I’m a coworker, part of a team. I’ve always tried to share as much of my knowledge as possible with my employees so they can become better than I am. I want them to grow. I want to make them think. I believe that when the student surpasses the teacher, it’s mission accomplished.”

Mentor: Daniel Nappert, P.Eng. | Project Manager, Buildings | Sherbrooke, QC
Mentee: Julie Pellerin, P.Eng., PA LEED BD+C | Director, Mechanical and Electrical | Sherbrooke, QC

*Originally published in EXP’s Expresso: Mentorship