HERStory | Cindy Dandurand
Meet Cindy - Co-President, Adfast Canada
Located in Montreal, Adfast Canada is a manufacturer of adhesives, sealants and insulation foam for construction and manufacturing assembly lines. The company has 165 employees at 11 locations across North America.
Making a difference:
“Having women in positions of authority has always been with our company, since the beginning,” says Dandurand. “The culture of our company was inclusive right from the start.”
Adfast was started by her grandparents, Claude and Pauline Dandurand, over 40 years ago. Since its inception, the company’s top position has always been shared by a man and a woman. Dandurand’s father, Yves, and his sister, Lyne, succeeded their parents, and now Cindy is co-president with Nicolas Choquet, a 25-year company veteran.
This leadership model has ensured a diverse workforce, and an inclusive one. For example, 63 per cent of the company’s engineers are women, as are 60 per cent of its vice presidents; 47 per cent of its employees are from visible minorities and 45 per cent of Adfast employees are under the age of 35.
In addition, Dandurand has recently created a committee on how to attract and retain more women at her company.
How she does it:
Dandurand recognized right away the difficulties facing working women as a result of the pandemic and made a conscious choice to be flexible when it came to work hours, and other issues. Adfast also supported their women employees by paying for childcare costs while schools were closed. As a result, employee retention was strong and Adfast was able to continue manufacturing. In fact, business grew nearly 30 per cent over the past year.
“They (women employees) were able to still earn a living and we were able to continue manufacturing. It was a win win,” says Dandurand.
“I am someone who likes to grow and learn,” says Dandurand. “In manufacturing things move so fast and there are always innovations in processes, equipment and automation. There is so much going on, I can never be bored.”
Advice to her younger self:
Listen, learn, and soak it all in is Dandurand’s philosophy for leading. Dandurand was in her early 20s when she joined Adfast, and was managing a team of 25 men, all of whom were older than her. They were completely respectful of her, but she believes she was too quick to judge, too much of a disciplinarian and not enough of a listener. She was quick to learn that good leadership involves collaboration and patience.
Outside of work:
Dandurand has competed in a number of triathlons and Ironman races. In fact, she fell off her bike during one Ironman and rode the remaining thirty-three kilometres with a broken collarbone.
Favourite books; podcast:
Simon Sinek’s books “Start With Why” and “The Infinite Game”; John Maxwell’s book, “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow” and the Harvard Business Review podcast.