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She Shocked Male Chauvinists

"Claudette Mackay-Lassonde"

In 1986 the engineering profession and male chauvinism in general, received a severe shock. A woman became President of the 50 thousand member Professional Engineers of Ontario.

For Claudette MacKay-Lassonde it completed a process that started more than 20 years earlier when she decided to become an engineer. In those days engineering was a "man's profession". But Claudette's father, a mechanic with CanRon, a Montreal company that produced electric motors, was very supportive. As far as Claudette was concerned that was good enough for her.

She remembers being told by a male student at the University of Montreal, "Don't do well. We hate women that do well in engineering".

Claudette did well; in fact, she finished at the top of her class and went on to obtain a degree in chemical engineering. She took two additional giant steps by obtaining a master's degree in nuclear engineering in Utah, and a master's in business administration in Toronto. She did very well in University-that's where she met her future husband, Pierre.

He's an achiever as well. Also a graduate engineer, he now is Senior Vice President with the Toronto investment firm of Beutel-Goodman, and President of "Franco Nevada", a mining company. Pierre has been published by the Financial Times.

In 1976 Claudette joined Ontario Hydro as a nuclear safety engineer and rose through the ranks to become Head of the Load Forecasts Department, and was acknowledged as an expert on nuclear power generation. In 1988 she left Ontario Hydro to join Northern Telecom where she is now Director of Premier Accounts in their marketing department.

Claudette MacKay-Lassonde has made a lasting mark in the engineering profession and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that women can be engineers. Still only 43 years of age, she will continue proving it for many more years. She is living proof that you can achieve whatever goal you set for yourself.

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