With four older brothers to break her in, Susan Lerner was an adventurous kid, playing rough at hockey and
climbing tall trees. And for that, she has had a broken nose, stitches and some knocked out teeth. At six, she flipped off the top of monkey bars, flew through the air and broke her collarbone. “I didn’t have a lot of fear,” she says.
Growing up in a male-dominated family certainly helps Lerner thrive in a male-dominated world. It’s not so much that working for a national consultant company is gender-related; it’s more about the day-to-day work that she takes on. Each week, Lerner travels to Fort McMurray, works from an on-site trailer and deals with the challenges her oil and gas clients face: housing and labour shortages, management changes, business and strategic planning, as well as providing analysis. And with her other clients – companies ranging from education, health care, energy services to non-profits – she has an innate ability to swiftly identify key issues and systematically break down and attack inner-company problems. “I’ve always liked the bigger-picture scenarios,” she says, adding that she’s an out-of-the-box thinker. “I’ve never been quite satisfied with just the status quo.”
After one year of law school in Great Britain, Lerner quit. She never really intended to practice law; she thought it would help her in international work. In 2003, she received a BComm at the University of
Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business. Two years later, she spent several weeks at a leprosy colony in Yemen, setting up a metalworks training program so that families shunned by society were trained in the metalwork trade so that they could start self-sustaining businesses. Lerner, who has travelled to almost 20 countries, is trekking Peru’s Inca trails this month. “I love to travel,” she says. “It gives you a different perspective.”
Board member and
Mentor, Hull Child
and Family Services