“It all comes down to respecting the people who surround you for what they know and bring to the table, and receiving the same in return.”
“When the opportunity with CP arose, I knew it was a great avenue for me to get back into the railway industry,” said Joan Hardy, Vice-President Sales and Marketing, Grain and Fertilizer. “CP is at such a neat point in its evolution, and I saw an opportunity to take everything I have learned about the grain industry throughout my career, and apply it to this role in order to further strengthen the service CP has to offer.”
With a formal education in mechanical engineering, Joan began her career in the rail industry with CN, where she spent 21 years holding various roles, including Assistant Vice-President, Sales and Senior Director in CN’s customer service centre. Her time at CN saw her doing everything from designing freight cars and components, to operations superintendent.
She then snapped up the opportunity to learn more about the customer experience and the grain industry by moving to Canada’s largest agri-business, Richardson International, as Vice-President, Transportation.
As someone who was so immersed in the railway industry and how it operates, Joan said moving to the customer side of things was a real eye opener. “You forget how complex another industry can be, and grain is certainly no exception.”
Her ability to understand the business from both the perspective of the railway and the customer is what makes Joan’s experience especially beneficial to CP. “Now that I am back at the railway, I am excited to implement everything I learned during my time at Richardson to improve things for my colleagues in the grain and fertilizer industry.”
While learning about all of the ways that an agriculture customer shapes their business around the rail movement of grain, she realized how closely the two need to collaborate in order for both to be successful. “CP understands its grain customers and provides many great services, such as the Dedicated Train program. I want to build off programs such as these to help CP build the best customer experience possible.”
Noting that it is great to see the service side of things come around full circle, Joan says she hopes to bring CP and the customers together to work more collaboratively to promote growth and change. “The railway can be a governor, or an enabler. I want us to be an enabler.”
When asked about being the only female VP at CP, Joan’s answer was simple. “I have lived my entire career in a very male dominated industry. It all comes down to respecting the people who surround you for what they know and bring to the table, and receiving the same in return.” Joan highlighted the importance of mentoring and encouraging young women, ensuring them that there is always room to grow personally and professionally. “The sky is the limit.”