IT’S NOT EASY TO PULL OFF A SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION FROM ONE GENERATION TO THE NEXT IN A FAMILY BUSINESS. AND WHEN TWO FAMILIES ARE INVOLVED, IT’S EVEN MORE COMPLICATED! AT GROUPE QUORUM, KASSANDRA COSENTINI AND MAXIME LAPORTE ARE PROVING THEMSELVES TO BE A SECOND DYNAMIC DUO.
Groupe Quorum has been a force in the construction industry for 30 years. Founders Guy Laporte and Peter Cosentini have launched hundreds of real estate developments, built thousands of condos and satisfied the demands of as many buyers. Now, their children are stepping up to take on the challenges of the future.
Challenges are precisely what Maxime Laporte had in mind when he joined the family business in 2010. With a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and a Master’s degree in industrial engineering, Maxime has an impressive track record. He had already developed and marketed a new safety shoe product, his engineering expertise had landed him work in the oil and aeronautics industries, and he had proved his marketing skills working in France. Then, father and son took a road trip together and found that their professional paths had converged. “You are no longer just my son,” said Guy Laporte when they returned, “You are also a businessman with a fine set of skills. The company is growing and I think you would be a wonderful asset to us.” Now Director of Real Estate Development, Sales and Marketing at Groupe Quorum, Maxime is involved at every step of the process: initial project development, land acquisition, urbanization, market analysis, concept, marketing and sales. “Unlike our competition, who are real estate developers or builders, Quorum is a rare breed—an integrated company that does everything from start to finish,” says Maxime. Not long after joining Quorum, Maxime made his mark with Le William, a condo project in Griffintown. “The architects and developers seemed to be making a lot of decisions that I thought the condo owners should be involved in. So, we asked the owners to participate in the design stage. That ended up quadrupling our marketing costs, but it got us a lot of attention and media. Ultimately, in just 5 hours we made 99 sales worth $27 million.”
To the young entrepreneurs he coaches, Maxime says “If you find yourself in a family business, always start with your strengths.” That’s exactly what Peter Cosentini’s daughter, Kassandra, did when she joined the company a few years ago. A pastry chef by trade, the young comptroller made a radical career change. “Restaurant work is generally difficult for women,” she says, “especially when you’re just 5’1’’. You learn to speak loudly and take up space!” But that’s not what sparked the move. “I didn’t realize I had a talent for numbers. The comptroller where I was working pointed this out and made me question my vocation,” she adds. And so, at the age of 25, the young baker took a year off to study accounting. She worked several jobs, gathering experience before starting out on her own. In 2014, when a position was available at Quorum, she told her father, “It’s time I joined the company. I wasn’t ready before, but I have experience now and I want to use it.” She learned everything about company operations, and became increasingly involved at every stage of the decision process. With the company growing at an exponential rate (current sales are in excess of $45M), Cosentini’s role is growing accordingly. “I’m trying to learn as quickly as possible so that I can assume more responsibility, and eventually take over from my father.”
Maxime sums it up this way: “We enjoy working together. Our presence enhances the workplace for our parents, and we’re breathing new life into the company.”