By Dominique Lemoine, editor of Direction Informatique
From receptionist to executive assistant: Ruth Bell has shown Roman Empress know-how about being the woman behind great people.
She has even seen with her own eyes the earliest days of IT World Canada’s origin, working at first as a receptionist, and later in other roles for Kerrwil and Page, a company formed when current ITWC Chairman Michael Atkins’ Page Publishing formed an alliance with Kerrwil Publishing. When Atkins parted ways with Kerrwil, Bell stayed on as his executive assistant.
Bell’s painstaking and behind-the-scenes toil for top-rank people such as Michael Atkins, Fawn Annan, and Jim Love has made them look Herculean, when it comes to human resources, payroll, and benefits management and administration.
“My biggest joy at work is doing what I can to help these people to succeed and they just can’t seem to get rid of me,” she says with an amused smirk. Bell has been daggerproof in her job, so much so that no challenger even dared a plot to overthrow her, nor did her employers ever consider replacing her with some new flavour of the day.
Moreover, to the satisfaction of the supreme authorities who are benefiting from her keen sense of backstage diplomacy and influence, she enjoys gathering the office buzz through down-to-earth and grounded one-on-one situations with her colleagues.
“I am approachable,” she replies, annoyed, to those who claim that her proximity with those in power can be intimidating during coffee breaks or kitchen chitchats.
“I wouldn’t be here anymore if it had not been interesting and enjoyable and if I had not got that many opportunities,” she states. If the job hadn’t been so interesting, she would rather be on a beach somewhere far from winter.
While on her own she’s a formidable figure, Bell has also had a great man at her side her for 32 years, who has among other things, shared her refined taste for classic sports, readings and films, as well as produced two heirs for the perpetuation of her dynasty.
Rumours have it that the heirs’ training to conquer the corporate world, in the same way their mother has, could soon be completed…