Bernard Truong (EMBA 2013) and the CAP: An example of an organization’s adaptation in times of crisis

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Bernard Truong, a McGill-HEC Montréal EMBA 2013 alumnus, has been involved with the Centre d’Apprentissage Parallèle de Montréal (CAP) for five years and has served as chairman of the board of directors for four years. The organization’s mission is to help people with emotional and psychological problems in developing their strengths towards a better social and/or professional integration through creative, therapeutic, educative and productive activities, and productive. Mental health is a major issue, especially in times of crisis, such as today.

In order to be able to reach those most isolated, who have become more fragile due to the extended period of isolation and to develop new services that always better meet the needs of users, the CAP had to adapt quickly.

For the board, the number one priority was making sure that the main annual fund-raising  event, LIKE YOURSELF, would still take place. Given the current crisis, the event was totally transformed. Self-portraits, created to change the public’s view of mental illness, were offered for sale through an online auction.  This was new territory for CAP, as  previous editions were held at the Museum of Fine Arts. The online auction was a great success,  raising $60,000 for this 2020 edition.


“We were forced to take steps to adapt rapidly to the COVID-19 context. Luckily, , in recent years, the board had already been preparing for a digital shift. This preparation enabled us to adapt quickly to a digital format, and transform our annual event into an online one, with an incredible return on investment. This means CAP will be able to ensure the continuity  its  activities and services as well as developing activities that meet the needs of the current context. This shift continues with the launch of the LIKE OURSELVES initiative. “

CAP recently launched LIKE OURSELVES, 1001 self-portraits in a quarantined country. The public is invited to produce their own self-portrait in order to feed the mosaic that will grow throughout the crisis in order to highlight the importance of art in maintaining good mental health while in confinement.

Bernard is very proud of the board’s achievements and its ability to rapidly adapt to the crisis.  He is equally proud to share these successes with other EMBA graduates:

“I was invited to join the CAP’s board 5 years ago and it was Pascal Lépine, another McGill-HEC Montréal EMBA alumnus, who introduced me to the Chairman of the Board and the General manager. The network of EMBA graduates is well represented on the Board and their contribution is essential! There are, among others, Sylvie Lamarche, EMBA 2012, vice-president of the board, and Paola Sarti, EMBA 2013. It is also important to mention the great contribution of Guylaine Bergeron, EMBA 2013, who was  a board member  until recently. She helped enormously in the evolution of Moi M’aime. The success of this year’s first online LIKE YOURSELFand LIKE OURSELVES(exceptionally for containment) is a shared pride and confirms that we have made the right decisions as graduates of the EMBA program! ”

Bernard Truong is a third-party risk management expert and is now senior advisor, Business Services and Mouvement Financing, Information Technologies for the Desjardins Group.