2020 Best & Brightest EMBAs: Lindsey Kettel, McGill-HEC Montréal

Lindsey Kettel

McGill-HEC Montréal

“An avid adventure seeker in expedition-style vacations and in business.”

Age: 33

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario; now living in Québec city

Family Members: Fiancée

Fun fact about yourself: In 2015 I took a 3-month sabbatical and bicycled 7200 km across Canada

Undergraduate School and Degree: Mechanical Engineering and Management, McMaster University, Hamilton Ontario Canada

Where are you currently working? Chantier Davie Canada Inc. (Ship-building company), Executive Vice-President

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work, and Leadership Roles:

  • On the board of directors of Libre Emploi, a non-profit devoted to helping those searching for work and Accès Transports Viables, a non-profit focused on promoting sustainable transport. Both organizations are in Quebec City.
  • Finalist in the 2019 Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Quebec (FCCQ) Mercuriades Award in the category of “Succession, Exceptional Woman, Large Business.”
  • Undergraduate awards: Mechanical Engineering Iroquois Trophy, Robin Langford Award for Excellence in Consulting, Image of an Engineer Award.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?  Coming from an engineering and consulting background, the most writing I typically do is bullets points on PowerPoint slides. As part of our program we had to spend four months working on an academic thesis – both the aspects of structured research and academic writing were new to me and a big challenge which I am happy to have gotten through. I am especially proud at having pulled it off given that my work responsibilities meant that I had to condense my efforts into a shorter timeframe!

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I have had the pleasure of mentoring several junior engineers who have achieved fantastic results in their careers. I am proudest when I see all of the things that they have accomplished.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? It was because of the bilingual program. It was a fantastic opportunity to enhance my second language (French) while expanding my network in the Montreal area

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? The lessons and experiences shared by my peers. There were some incredible people in my cohort from whom I have learned a lot and will continue to learn from as we continue through our careers.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? Through the program, I gained new tools as they pertain to strategy. Previously, my career was very operations-focused and the MBA really opened my eyes to how to be more aware of the strategic value of different projects that I am working on in order to maximize their value.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? During one of our weekend courses, my fiancée was in Morocco for work and decided to go rock climbing. He ended up getting bitten by a stray dog in a remote valley eight hours from the nearest city and texted me to help him figure out how to get an emergency rabies shot. I ended up spending most of the weekend trying to help him get back to Marrakesh, find a hospital, etc. As I kept running in and out of class, my EMBA colleagues were all aware of the issue and were reaching out to family and friends in Morocco to help us too. Teamwork prevailed and he was finally able to get the vaccine three days later.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Find the program that fits your personality – you will be working very hard so you want to make sure that you can enjoy the structure and format rather than dreading each class!

What was your biggest regret in business school? Not having more time to spend learning from everyone on the cohort – time passes quickly so there are certain people that I would have liked to get to know more.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Monika Ille, recently named CEO of the Aboriginal People’s Television Network because she is an authentic female leader who has risen to the top in a male-dominated field.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I found myself looking for a new way to challenge myself and add more value to my existing organization and felt that I needed an external stimulus to do so.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? To continue to be challenged every day and to work on more and more interesting problems until I have mentored the next generation to take over from me.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Selfishly, I would like them to remember me as someone who is able to provide useful insights on a variety of topics so that they will keep calling me and sharing their interesting challenges and stories.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Hiking the Appalachian Trail and Canoeing one of the great northern rivers

What made Lindsey such an invaluable addition to the class of 2020?

“Lindsey is an incredibly high achiever, but she’s so used to her own extraordinary capacities, that she doesn’t always realize how special she is. It’s all matter of fact for her. And while she was honoured to be selected as a nominee for Best and Brightest EMBA, she wasn’t keen on having to write about herself in order the complete the nomination process. We, on the other hand, are happy to tell you all about her. Lindsey is an energetic, can-do person. She doesn’t see obstacles, she sees opportunities, and the bigger the challenge the better. That’s how she got to be Executive Vice President at Davie, an almost 200-year-old shipbuilding company, despite being far from the typical profile for her role. Lindsey is a real straight-shooter, and not afraid to ask questions or challenge anything that doesn’t make sense to her. She’s a delight to have in class, especially for profs who like to be kept on their toes. She regularly advanced the learning of her classmates, and her openness in sharing her experiences was enriching for everyone. She cares about all the folks that work at Davie, up and down the hierarchy, and has a special soft spot for the front lines that do the hard physical work. She knows that without them, nothing would get done, and she’s attuned to their needs. Lindsey is generous and fun-loving. She invited her classmates to Quebec to tour the shipyard and their current construction project – a unique experience for all – and she was always up for whatever adventure the class cooked up. While she has a demanding job, Lindsey doesn’t lose sight of the rest of life: she’s an outdoor enthusiast and cares deeply about the environment. We look forward to watching her further evolution. ”

Marianne Vandenbosch,
Program Director, EMBA McGill-HEC Montréal


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