By her own admission, Chantal Bossé was shy and bookish growing up. But technology—especially PowerPoint and other Office apps—turned out to be the key to her personal and professional transformation.
In a2019 poston the Humans of IT blog, Chantal acknowledged that public speaking used to make her feel “downright panicked.” However, her early years in corporate training and growing mastery of software tools led her to eventually launchher own business, with a particular focus on helping people communicate visually with ease and confidence.
“Now,” she wrote, “I’m teaching and coaching others that need to overcome this fear, and I leverage technology to help them.”
We recently reached out to the Microsoft MVP, podcaster, and TEDx speaker coach to discuss her professional journey, what she enjoys about the Office Insider program, her favorite PowerPoint innovations from the last year, and which animated film character she relates to most.
Tell us about your career path. How did you start out in tech?
Chantal:Well for me, I call it my other life, because I have my bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. But in the beginning of the ‘90s, my boyfriend at the time—who is still my partner, for 34 years—he started his business as a computer technician. And he said, “Why don’t you have those skills?” And I said, “I don’t know. I just don’t get the hang of this.”
But by the mid-‘90s, I was already working as an instructional designer in telecommunications. I had to learn how to use Office. That’s what we were using at the time for documentation, presentations, and everything. So, I started designing courseware, and I finally got the hang of it.
I think Office 95 was when I got the hang of PowerPoint. I was that loony at the time, arguing with the instructors that, “No, it’s not OK to slap a wall of text in your presentations. I produced this thick binder for the course, I’m not republishing the binder as slides. I’m sorry.”
At the time I was already starting to do funky stuff in PowerPoint—doing some network plans and animating them—because I just loved it. And that’s when I decided, “OK, I cannot work in this field anymore.” So I started my own business in 2004, and my sole focus was visual presentations. I was always really keen on saying, “It’s visuals—it’s not a wall of text.”