June 22, 2023
By: People & Culture
As the Director of National Accounts (Canada) and the owner of a 30-acre farm, Michelle Downey finds fulfillment in working hard and "living like someone left the gate open". After 21 years in the industry, it’s second nature for Michelle Downey to build genuine relationships and foster deep connections with her team. That’s why when Michelle received the “Business Excellence'' award at The 2022 Top Women in Hardware & Building Supply, she was humbled and honored to be recognized by her peers as a leader.
“You don’t always realize the impact you have on people. It was super humbling to see and hear what people had to say about me,” Michelle said.
As the Director of National Accounts (Canada), Michelle acts as a liaison between the market and Metrie, understanding the customer’s problems and concerns in order to innovate and create moulding and millwork solutions that suit their needs. For the last nine years, she’s enjoyed facing a different set of challenges each day, working alongside colleagues she considers close friends.
“I honestly wish there was an opportunity to broadcast broadly what Building Materials can offer people as a career,” Michelle said. “It’s huge on relationship-building. We still do business on handshakes. It’s unlike any other industry.”
Working at Metrie allows her to have the life she’s always dreamed of, and her daughter, Victoria, is living out today. Michelle rode horses growing up, a passion that she shares with her daughter. After years of persistence, Victoria finally got to ride her first pony at age 7, and was hooked immediately.
Soon, a rented pony turned into a purchased pony, then another horse, then came the 30-acre farm in Amaranth, Ontario, where Michelle now lives with her daughter, husband, and father-in-law… and 31 chickens, a rooster named Dante, a raft of Indian runner ducks, two rabbits, three horses, eight cats, and a parrot.
“It’s a wonderful life out here. Wouldn’t trade it for the world.” she said. “It can be hard work, but it’s so rewarding and everyone pitches in.”
Whether it’s farm work or her role at Metrie, Michelle believes in diligent, meaningful work and living life to the fullest. In true equestrian fashion, her truck has a bumper sticker that reads “Live like someone left the gate open”, a saying that inspires her everyday.
FUN FACT: Michelle’s daughter, Victoria, was the youngest of 58 competitors when she competed with the Canadian Junior Equestrian Team, where they placed Bronze.