Linda Hasenfratz, 44
CEO, Linamar Corp.
Why did you want to work in the auto industry? My father started the business in the mid-'60s. After I graduated and embarked in a career in other areas -- and proved to myself I could succeed in other areas -- I came to work in my father's business. So it was not so much about the auto industry as about taking over the family business.
First automotive job: I was running a lathe machine on a shop floor in 1990, here at Linamar in Guelph, Ontario.
Proudest professional achievement: Leading Linamar through an evolutionary period, from a smaller organization where management systems, direction and strategy were not as clearly articulated and communicated to a much larger organization where by necessity we needed to be much more formalized ... as we try to get everybody around the world aligned.
Current challenge at work: Development of people to meet our future goals. Our market is hugely opportunistic. We have great technical skills, but we need deeper bench strength. So we're developing the skills we need. And with the industry going through changes; dramatically decreased our staffing and now dramatically increased it again. People development is my No. 1 priority.
Why does the auto industry seem like a difficult environment for female executives? I think that there are not many women in the auto industry to begin with. There are not as many in skilled trades, engineering, the areas prevalent in the auto industry. So the pool where executives are drawn from is primarily male.
I think it starts quite early, in terms of attracting women to the automotive industry and more to science, technology and skilled trades-type fields.
Dream job: I'm doing my dream job. Why would you want to be anything but at the top?
What you do to relax: I like to socialize, entertain friends and family. We have a weekend place I go to with my husband and family.
-- James B. Treece