The Last Page: Heather Ryan, CEO at Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL)

Heather Ryan, CEO at Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL).
Heather Ryan, CEO at Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL)

On the last page of every issue of Industry West, we find a Saskatchewan businessperson or leader to answer our version of the Proust Questionnaire. Marcel Proust made the questionnaire famous, believing that 35 specific questions could reveal a person’s true nature. We grabbed this idea—you’ve probably seen it in Vanity Fair—and made our own version. The first five questions are ours, and then we ask our subject to pick their favourite Proust questions to answer.

Say hello to Heather Ryan, CEO at Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL). 

1. Where are you from?

I grew up on a farm north of Melfort and still call it my “hometown” but I have spent the majority of my life in Saskatoon, SK.

2. Where did you attend school and what did you study?

I studied at the University of Saskatchewan. Initially I studied nutrition in the College of Pharmacy. After a year I decided that wasn’t for me, so I re-entered as a business student and received my Bachelor of Commerce. I am also a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR).

3. What is your career history?

I started at FCL as a Training Officer back in the 90s. I then left FCL and spent over a decade at POS Pilot Plant (which has had numerous name changes over the years). I spent the majority of my time in Operations and Corporate Affairs. I then went to the Saskatchewan Research Council before returning to FCL in 2013 in Human Resources. I became part of the Senior Leadership Team in November of 2015 as Vice President of Human Resources; in August of 2021, I took on a new role as Vice President of Supply Chain and in May 2022 became CEO of FCL.

4. What’s the best piece of business or career advice you have been given?

The best piece of career advice I have been given was “Always follow your moral compass—when people try to make you bend it—stick to your values.”

5. What’s your favourite thing about Saskatchewan?

I love the changing seasons and it has been a wonderful place to raise our family. The best thing about Saskatchewan is the people—hard working, humble and proud.

6.  What is your greatest fear?

My greatest fear is something bad happening to my family. I always rest better when I know they are home safe and sound!

7. What is your current state of mind?

My current state of mind is grateful. I am very fortunate on so many levels and when something doesn’t quite go the way I want it to, I try to quickly remind myself of how fortunate I am to live where I do, do what I do, have a loving and supportive family, and the list goes on.

8. When and where were you happiest?

Often at some point during our family vacations we’ll put some snacks out and then we each take turns picking a song to play. When I think of the times we have done that (it’s been a handful) we are always laughing and just enjoying being with each other.

9. What do you most value in your friends?

What I value most in my friends is their trust and that we can be ourselves with one another with no judgement—a safe place. I also love that when we do have a chance to get together we can pick up right where we left off.

10. What is your motto?

My motto is that you can learn from any one or any situation—good or bad.