Women in Architecture Spotlight – Amelie Regimbal

Featured in this week’s spotlight is Amelie Regimbal, Expert Advisor in Human and Organizational Transformation of Desjardins Group.

As a manager Regimbal is recognized for her ability to engage teams and stakeholders in achieving common results for the benefit of the organization, by advocating human, agile and inclusive teamwork. With more than 20 years of experience in supporting major transformations through the exercise of roles such as business and enterprise architecture, operational efficiency, skills development, change management and project portfolio management. Her professional career is marked by the creation and evolution of new teams and professions with the aim of giving meaning and making a difference in the changing reality of organizations.

Regimbal, who has an MBA, has also embraced the opportunity to help other organizations create or mature their business architecture practice. After 10 years of practice in business architecture, she changed her career trajectory to get closer to human and organizational issues.

Following below, Regimbal shares some of her insights about her successful career and what she sees in the future.

Question: How did you get your start in the industry?

Answer: After having exercised several functions in project delivery, I noticed a lack of upstream vision and the difficulty of properly planning changes to create the full expected value. I then naturally positioned myself in a more upstream role of influence by bringing more meaning to decision-makers.  I then had the privilege of extending this role in support of major transformations and creating a business architecture team and a practice with an enterprise-wide impact. As a director, after several years of daily efforts to make the profession known and legitimized, while ensuring a coherent exercise between the different teams, the organization had grown from around 15 isolated architects to more than 200 business architects divided into six main teams and positioned with the strategy and portfolio management. Despite the enormous strides that we have been able to make and the fact that we are now positioned to support upstream transformations and decisions, I found that human and organizational changes were not sufficiently considered. However, neglecting these aspects inevitably leads to significant obstacles for the realization of benefits and to enable real transformation.  I wanted to help business units transform themselves deeply rather than just evolve.

Q: What is your current responsibility and what is your typical day like?

A: After a year as a director consulting expert at CGI Business Consulting, I accepted a new challenge at Desjardins, this time in the human resources department to address these real issues. My current role is to work with HR partners to advise managers in their transformation needs on professions, workforce, and organizational design, to act proactively to embrace major technological transformations, with a real transformational mindset on ways to review ways of doing things. With my overview of the organization, I can advise on the different structural scenarios and address the human impacts by adding up all the transformations carried out in parallel. This makes it possible to concretely recover the benefits (rather than piecemeal) and to investigate the labor issues thoroughly and proactively to be anticipated.  Finally, I help to develop the structures in a more coherent way between the business sectors. I also help managers elevate themselves by considering the full operating model ecosystem, rather than focusing solely on process and technology. To exercise this strategic role of senior consultant in transformation, I rely on my knowledge and skills acquired to date in business architecture.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: Although I sometimes miss the direct development of resources, I still can develop and coach people and teams who work with me on the mandates. I also support the difficult decisions managers must make, so it’s proxy management! What I appreciate the most is to realize or highlight different avenues to resolve a situation. To get managers to consider options that they did not think of at first, due to a lack of overview, knowledge of the implications and impacts, or fear of changing entrenched paradigms. I also like to connect the dots to allow us to go further, while ensuring added value for the teams in place. It’s a difficult balance to achieve, because seeing things others don’t or challenging the status quo can be threatening or unsettling. It’s all a question of posture and keeping in mind what we need to ask ourselves.

Q: What trends in architecture are you looking out for the rest of 2023 and 2024?

A: I spent more than 10 years demystifying the profession of business architect, trying to convince or explain our added value, in a desire to be recognized with an official title. I now believe that it is not the title or the name of the position that counts, but the real impact of what we do daily. Therefore, what I would like to see happen in the next years is more integration of business and IT roles to act with one voice. I haven’t seen a team of enterprise architects to date who practice architecture with a capital A, report directly to the COO, when that’s where in my opinion, that role should thrive towards.

Why? To finally get out of perimeter battles (business, IT, business lines, strategy, portfolio acts in silos) and work for the benefit of the organization. To focus more on results than on means, although the methodology is important. That these roles are more naturally accepted and understood and used for the right reason even if one does not call oneself an architect.

Q: What is one thing we can do to support or increase the women in architecture?

A: What has helped me the most to be recognized and to be part of the reflections is to remain myself, to be authentic. In a world where the pressure is high and the deadlines are shorter and shorter, it is essential for me not to get bogged down in political details, to go to the essentials and to say truthful things with respect and kindness. Keep in mind the reason why we are doing things so as not to get lost along the way on methodology, idealism or an overly directive approach disconnected from the field, which I have unfortunately too often observed in architecture. Show empathy to understand where the decision maker is at, the challenges he faces in adapting his approach by presenting realistic options. With this way of viewing things and posture to adopt, I believe that it will attract more women, by demystifying that this profession is not only technical, and that the real success lies in the influence and the strategic contribution that we can bring.