‘Challenge yourself!’: Q&A with plant manager Hanen Abd
By Jennifer Ellson
Hanen Abd is a successful chemical technologist, a thriving plant manager, and a devoted mother who loves challenges.
Hanen graduated from Ontario’s Sheridan College in 2012 with an advanced diploma in chemical engineering technology and a diploma in business administration, project management from McMaster University. Right after graduation, she immediately worked as a chemical technologist in the manufacturing industry and at environmental laboratories, before becoming the plant manager at Stella-Jones’ Guelph facility in 2021.
“Working for Stella-Jones has been a game-changer in my career because of its amazing leadership team, as well as the great team I get to work with on a daily basis that has been giving me the freedom to express and implement ideas and navigate the world of pressure treated wood,” Hanen proudly says.
CFI: What led you to become involved in the forest industry?
A series of events lead me into the forest industry. After an unfortunate closure of my previous employment while on maternity leave, I found myself searching for a job that could challenge me. I received offers from other industries but the forest industry peaked my interest. I felt it would provide me opportunities to grow personally and professionally.
CFI: In your experience, how do you think the industry deals with diversity and inclusion?
This industry is definitely male dominated, but in my two short years as the plant manager – and being new to the industry – I have always felt like an equal and well-respected. I lead a staff of 22 great employees – none of which have ever made me feel insecure.
CFI: What do you like most about working in the industry?
This is a fast-paced industry. There’s something new every day which seems to challenge me in the areas of safety, logistics, production, environment, chemistry, sales, procurement, accounting, etc. Wood is a renewable natural resource and a product most people rely on every day, where it be for home structure, furniture, electrical distribution, etc. Wood doesn’t evolve much, processes do.
CFI: Any advice for women who are looking to get into the forest sector?
Challenge yourself! The forest industry has evolved, and I believe any person is capable, especially if one enjoys the outdoors.