An Opportunity of a Lifetime: CEOx1Day with Linda Hasenfratz

With the deadline to apply for Odgers Berndtson’s CEOx1Day Program fast-approaching, you’re surely not the only student “scrambling” to get all the information you can to make your application stand out.

We’ve already spoken with Mikael Clement who spent his CEOx1Day shadowing Hubert T. Lacroix at CBC/Radio-Canada and Jessica Wu who had an especially unique CEOx1Day with CEO Kim Truter at De Beers Canada. Now, it’s time for you to learn about what it was like to spend the day with auto-parts magnate Linda Hasenfratz, the CEO of Linamar.

Read on to find out how Eva Mitre, a 2017 Bachelor of Commerce graduate from the University of Toronto Mississauga, had a CEOx1Day experience during her fourth year of university that she won’t soon forget.

As a student who was very interested in international affairs and politics throughout university, Eva Mitre was highly involved in her school’s commerce council, student government, and residence life, which she believes are all experiences that helped prepare her for the CEOx1Day Program.

“One of my fellow council members was chosen [to be a CEOx1Day] the year before and he raved about the experience, so he suggested that I apply,” she said.

Eva told us it was the recruitment process that really drew her to the program. “You learn a lot about yourself and your skills, and by the end of it you come out knowing a lot about your leadership style, and how you actually operate,” she told us.

When reflecting on the process, she especially liked that the online leadership assessment not only identified what she was good at, but the things she had to work on. “During the presentations [on the semi-finalist day], it was pointed out that in order to be a good leader, you want to be aware of your weaknesses as well,” Eva explained.

Aside from the learnings of the different selection phases, Eva added that one of the best parts of the process was meeting a variety of people that came from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences, from executives to fellow students.

When it came time for Eva’s day at Linamar, it went differently than anyone had planned. Prior to her CEOx1Day, Linamar’s CEO Linda Hasenfratz was invited to be on the Canada-United States Council for the Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders. The day before, Linda had gone to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump to have discussions about the advancement of women entrepreneurs at the White House. Because Linda was getting a lot of media attention the next day, the agenda for Eva’s CEOx1Day was completely different than planned!

“I probably had about a million questions lined up to ask her. I think a lot of my nerves were overshadowed by the excitement,” Eva told us.

Right away when Eva arrived at the Linamar office, she sat in on a Catalyst Advisory Board meeting, which was quickly followed by a couple of media interviews. “It was really awesome getting into the CEO’s car and having her drive to the next interview [location], and watching her give these interviews live and in-person,” Eva recalled.

On top of the extra excitement that day, Eva had the chance to sit in on board meetings, investor meetings, and business proposals, in addition to meeting with various departments within the company.

“What was very valuable for me was the different perspectives I got to hear throughout the day,” she said. “We spoke to the CFO, then investors, and business partners, and it was interesting to hear how they go about their work.”

Linda was also incredibly inspiring, Eva said, as she was able to manage the company while being so proactive in the community. Linda left Eva with some advice that really resonated with her: “If something’s really important to you, you make time for it in your schedule and pursue it wholeheartedly.”