The plan was always to work and run the family business. Today, Lauren Hitchman is doing just that. As president of Naylor Building Partnerships, she leads one of Ontario’s largest mechanical contracting companies.
Not a tradesperson by training, Hitchman wanted to nonetheless be better acquainted with the work Naylor’s employees perform on the ground. After completing her degree at Concordia and an MBA at the University of Toronto, she enrolled in technical courses at a college, thanks in part to friend, Elisha (Feder) Gordon — one her biggest motivators from her undergrad days.
“Elisha would drag me to the library every morning. Post-graduation, when I complained that I didn’t have technical training, she pushed me to get it and encouraged me to learn as much as possible about my area of business.”
Proudest professional moment
“Our employees operate quite independently, servicing customers at their facilities. To us, an engaged workforce is essential because it translates into customer satisfaction and retention. We were named as one of the best small and medium employers by Aon in 2018 and one of the Top 100 in 2019. This solidified what an exceptional culture we’ve built and the impact it has on employee engagement.”
Biggest career challenge
“We had to shut down one of our divisions, which meant letting go of many long-time employees. I learned that you can’t let business units flounder. While one can support another for a period of time, it will inevitably put other areas at risk or become unsustainable.”
“I put a lot of energy into other people. I am helpful, particularly when it comes to following up with someone about a mentioned connection or resource.”
Supporting philanthropy on a company level
“Several years ago, we partnered with Habitat for Humanity. We wanted to bring our people together to perform service that leveraged their trade abilities and allowed them to give back to a meaningful cause.”