The Journey Beyond CEOx1Day

By Josh Reding, 2018 CEOx1Day Finalist and Western University student

Josh Reding, 2018 CEOx1Day Finalist with Martinrea President and CEO, Pat D’Eramo

Josh Reding, 2018 CEOx1Day Finalist with Martinrea President and CEO, Pat D’Eramo

I never would have imagined my CEOx1Day experience at Martinrea International would have turned into the opportunity to work at the company as a summer intern!

As a fourth year student studying my Honours Business Administration and Integrated Engineering at Western University, I applied to CEOx1Day since I have always looked for ways to improve my leadership abilities. When I saw the program offered an amazing experience to learn what it is like to be a CEO, I knew I needed to apply because it would challenge the way I think and act as a leader.

After a four-stage selection process, including a semi-finalist day with 18 of my peers at the Odgers Berndtson Toronto office, I received an e-mail stating I had been chosen for the CEOx1Day program and my body rushed full of excitement!

On my CEOx1Day at Martinrea, a leading auto manufacturing company, I felt the butterflies in my stomach when I stepped through the doors as I knew I wasn’t only meeting the CEO, but the entire executive team! In fact, interacting with the entire C-suite provided me so much insight into how the CEO interacts with his team and leads the organization.

After my nerves had settled, I spent an amazing day including one on one time with the Martinrea President and CEO, Pat D’Eramo where I had the opportunity to learn about his views on the automotive industry and understand how he leads his team. I remember reviewing his strategic plan with the CIO after which he told me “Most companies have created a strategy, but where the magic actually happens is during the execution.” He told me to think about working for Martinrea this summer and to contact HR if I was interested. Many of the other executives I met with during the day also kept asking me what I was doing for the summer and at that point, I was completely undecided.

After a few days of reflecting on such a positive CEOx1Day experience with the Martinrea team, I decided to take up their offer and I touched base with the head of HR to start the discussion about a possible internship with them. What ultimately convinced me to want to work at Martinrea was their mission, vision, and 10 principles. This philosophy set out by the executives created a positive culture which is hard to come by in the automotive industry. With an industry that is rapidly changing with tough financial pressures, it is enlightening to find a company that has a principle stating: “The Golden Rule – Treat everyone with dignity and respect.”

I was thrilled to have been placed as the Production Operations Intern in a facility called Rollstar in Mississauga which was expected to undertake some major process improvements. On my first day I took part in intense training with the lean team for a productivity Jishuken (which means process improvement). I became very involved with this project and even had the opportunity to lead it for a week, which was a great leadership experience. During the three months I was there, the work cell has more than doubled its efficiency showcasing that the positive culture can really have an impact on the company’s results.

Overall, I had a great summer experience and I took away many leadership and career lessons from the internship. The most important lesson I learned was from the CEO Pat, who said everyone has something unique to bring to the table. As a leader, he emphasized it is very important to ask questions to gain a better understanding of the bigger picture before making decisions that will impact the organization and its people.