Montréal, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong…Montréal

Is it possible to fall in love again with Montréal, after having been gone for nine years? Stéphane Prudhomme has an emphatic answer—even if he loved living on the other side of the planet, he’ll never move away from this city again.
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Stéphane Prudhomme

After having grown up in Joliette, and then living for more than 20 years in Montréal, Stéphane decided to do his MBA in China. “I packed my bags and left. I sold everything. I wanted to learn a new language and discover a new business culture,” he explains. “After 18 months, I realized I still hadn’t mastered either of them.” So I stayed.”

After a few years, the young man moved from Beijing to Shanghai, then from Shanghai to Hong Kong. At the other end of the world, he was responsible for Montréal’s Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo. Then he launched an electronic retail site to sell Montréal and Québec products. His business took off.

“I will return to Montréal”

As in the classic song by Robert Charlebois, Stéphane Prudhomme returned to Montréal. “I came back in 2017. I loved the frenetic pace of Asia,” admits Stéphane. “But I started to feel too comfortable there.” Once he returned, he had to start over, everything. New job, new network, new points of reference… While he’d kept many contacts in the PR world where he had worked prior to leaving the country, he had to start from scratch. But that was good for him—Stéphane likes activity. Being bold and innovative is important. 

Frenzy at a human scale

“When I returned to Montréal, I felt a new sense of dynamism that didn’t exist before I left for China.” Not only was he seduced by the professional spirit that was taking over the Montréal ecosystem but also, on a personal level, he found the balance he needed. “I like the scale of Montréal,” he explains, having lived in Asian supercities. Our downtown may not have the skyscrapers of Shanghai or Hong Kong, but there is an infectious, positive energy with a human dimension that inspires him here.

Before buying a property in the city, Stéphane thought of living in the countryside. “But I need cultural diversity and the freedom that Montréal offers,” he adds. “I rediscover the city every day.” To get to work, shop for groceries, go out, or see his clients, Stéphane counts on BMW—bus-metro-walk! “It’s so easy,” he insists. Everything seems more accessible when you come from a gigantic Asian megalopolis.

“I’ll always love travelling,” confides Stéphane. “Of course it will be wonderful if I can get overseas contracts from time to time. But I’ll always return to Montréal.”

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Published on December 2018