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The seasoned problem solver

Danielle Nguyen, BEng 03
November 6, 2023
By Samantha Rideout, GrDip 2010

Portrait of a smiling woman with dark, shoulder-length hair. She is wearing pearl earrings and a coral-coloured collared shirt.

Danielle Nguyen oversees a massive pharmaceutical-manufacturing site, where more than 800 people work to produce goods for brands such as Advil, Centrum, Buckley and Robitussin. Every day, 15 million consumers entrust their health to these products.

Nguyen’s greatest priority as a leader is the heallth, safety and well-being of her colleagues. She must also ensure the highest level of product quality while keeping costs competitive. Having performed similar roles at GSK/Pfizer, Coca-Cola and Kraft Heinz, she welcomes the responsibility.

“My career has been largely about solving problems, whether they’re related to equipment, processes or human resources,” says Nguyen, general manager at the Montreal site for Haleon, one of the world’s largest consumer health-care companies and a global leader in over-the-counter medicines. 

“The more complex the problem is, the more I find it exciting!” she says.

Full circle

“I took a course called Six Sigma at Concordia while I was studying industrial engineering, and it changed the way I look at problem-solving, troubleshooting and analyzing data. When I started working at Pfizer, I was fortunate to have a manager that believed in me and invested in my skills development. I pursued my Green Belt, Black Belt and progressed to Master Black Belt, the highest level of Lean Six Sigma training. It was a great way to continue improving myself beyond graduation. Now I am paying it forward by teaching a Lean Six Sigma course at Concordia.”

Soft skills that matter

“My educational background gave me the right technical skills for my job. However, other skills such as communication, leadership, and negotiation, I learned by reading books, through various mentors and from my own mistakes.”

On lifelong learning

“My main hobby is reading, learning and sharing. I’ve made lifelong learning a daily habit by reading a book every two weeks about either leadership, investment or health. I’ve been doing this for almost 15 years. I always keep in mind something that my professional mentor at Pfizer, Luc Charette, told me, ‘In life, it’s not what you know that counts: it’s what you do with what you know.’”

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