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An Interview with Outstanding CEO of the Year & Member of Order of Canada, Linda Hasenfratz

Linda Hasenfratz, CEO of Linamar Corporation since 2002, joined Build a Dream President Nour Hachem Fawaz to talk about leadership and empowering young women to pursue STEM.

A common thing young women are told about finding a career is follow your passion. But what if you don’t know what that is?

“Don’t worry about it. Not that many people are that passionate about something from a young age,” says Hasenfratz. She said that it’s okay to not know or not be drawn to something immediately.

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✔️ Think about what subjects you like the best.
✔️ Give a thought to what jobs you could do with those subjects.
✔️ Consider what those jobs pay and if that matches with your future vision.
✔️ ???’? ???? ???? ??? ???????! Keep those options open.

Linamar worked to build a strong leadership profile and that includes having a diverse team. Linda: “Great leaders don’t see gender.”

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⚙️ Embrace the idea of diversity. It broadens your talent pool.
⚙️ Build your leadership team to be representative of the demographics of your company.
⚙️ Think about how you advertise your openings and what adjustments you can make so that more individuals see themselves as a fit for your organization.

And when you get the team you need and want to excel? Good leaders will demonstrate care for others, and work to balance the needs of employees, customers, and stakeholders equally.

As a continuous advocate for women, and as STEM became a common conversation, Linda Hasenfratz founded See It Be It STEM It to provide a platform to continue the conversation of involving more women in STEM. Along with highlighting profiles of women in STEM careers, the organization puts out a calendar each year so that some of those profiles can be top of mind. Visit seeitbeitstemit.com to read the profiles and get access to one of the 20,000 calendars that will be printed for 2021.

Want to be hired at a trailblazer like Linamar? Linamar & the Hasenfratz family donated $5 million to the Western University Scholarship for Women in Engineering/Business Dual Degree Program. Students in the program have subsidized tuition, job placements for 2 summers, and a job offer upon graduation!

? Sponsored by: Work Based Learning Consortium

Linda’s Bio

Linda Hasenfratz is the Chief Executive Officer of Linamar Corporation, an advanced manufacturing company where the intersection of leading edge technology and deep manufacturing expertise is creating solutions that power vehicles, motion, work and lives for the future. The Company is made up of 2 operating segments – the Industrial segment and the Transportation segment, which are further divided into 5 operating groups – Skyjack, Agriculture, Machining & Assembly, Light Metal Casting and Forging, all world leaders in the design, development and production of highly engineered products. The Company’s Skyjack and MacDon companies are noted for their innovative, high quality mobile industrial and harvesting equipment, notably class-leading aerial work platforms, telehandlers, draper headers and self-propelled windrowers. The Company’s Machining & Assembly, Light Metal Casting and Forging operating groups focus on precision metallic components, modules and systems for driveline, body and powertrain systems designed for global electrified and traditionally powered vehicle and industrial markets. Linamar has 27,000 employees in 61 manufacturing locations, 11 R&D centres and 25 sales offices in 17 countries in North and South America, Europe and Asia which generated sales of $7.4 billion in 2019.

Hasenfratz’ enthusiasm for the arts prompted her to join the Board of Governors of the Royal Ontario Museum in 2002.  In 2012 Hasenfratz became the inaugural Chair of the Philanthropy Leadership Cabinet of the Guelph General Hospital.  Involvement in charitable organizations continues to be an important focus for her.

Hasenfratz has also sat on the Board of Advisors for Catalyst Canada since 2003.  In February 2017 Hasenfratz was announced as the Canadian Chair of the Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders.  Hasenfratz’ desire to see women progress in business to the top level of industry prompted her to participate in these two key initiatives.

Strengthening her position as a Canadian and Global leader, Ms. Hasenfratz was appointed to the CIBC Board of Directors in 2004 and retired from the board in April 2020.  She was Canadian Chair of the North American Competitiveness Council in 2008, a trilateral group of executives from Canada, the US and Mexico convened by the countries’ Leaders to debate and advise on key recommendations regarding enhancement of the NAFTA region.  Hasenfratz became a member of the Board of the Business Council of Canada (formerly the Canadian Council of Chief Executives) in 2010 and was Chair from 2016 to 2018.  Her contribution to this important policy and advisory group has assisted her in developing relationships and advancing ideas to key business and government leaders.  In December 2018, Ms. Hasenfratz was appointed to the board of the Association of Equipment Manufactueres (AEM).

Ms. Hasenfratz was named the Canadian Outstanding CEO in November 2018 and was also made a member of the Order of Canada in December of the same year.

In recognition of her and Linamar’s support and focus on international growth Hasenfratz has received 2 international honours.  The French Government honoured Hasenfratz in June of 2015 with the Chevalier dans l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur, one of the highest honours bestowed upon a non-civilian in France.  In October 2016 Hasenfratz was honoured by the Hungarian government and was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Hungary. 

Ms. Hasenfratz supports one of Linamar’s key industries, the automotive industry, through her appointment as the first female director to the Faurecia Board of Directors, a French automotive supplier, in 2011.  Hasenfratz has been named one of the Automotive News 100 Leading Women in each year of its publication in 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015.

Hasenfratz was recognized for her contributions to Canadian business through an Honourary Degree from Ryerson University in Toronto in 2003, an Honourary Degree from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo in 2011 as well as the Outstanding Leader Award from the same institution in 2007.  She also holds an Honourary Degree from Fanshawe College in 2016.  In the spring of 2014 The Asper School of Business at the University of Winnipeg honoured Hasenfratz with the International Distinguished Entrepreneur Award (IDEA) which is to honour a business leader who has achieved outstanding entrepreneurial success and has made and exemplary contribution to economic life.  In the fall of 2014, Linda Hasenfratz was awarded the Ontario Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award – Manufacturing and the overall Ontario Entrepreneur of the Year Award.  Hasenfratz was also extremely honoured to be awarded the National Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Canada at a gala in late November and to represent Canada at the World Entrepreneur of the World Conference in Monaco in June 2015.  In May of 2016 Linda Hasenfratz, along with her father Frank Hasenfratz, was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.  Hasenfratz was awarded the Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the University of Victoria in September 2016.  In October of 2016 Linda Hasenfratz was awarded the Fraser Institute Founders Award along with Linamar’s President & COO Jim Jarrell.  In September 2016 Linda Hasenfratz was named to Fortunes 50 Most Powerful Women International list.  The Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario honoured Hasenfratz in October 2017 with their Ivey Business Leader Award. In 2018 Hasenfratz was named Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year and was named to the Order of Canada. Most recently she was installed as University of Western Ontario’s 23rd Chancellor.

Bio provided by Linamar Corporation.

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