Faces in the Crowd – No Regrets

Posted on September 28, 2017 under Faces in the Crowd with 2 comments


“ The reason I moved here was because of the people. The reason I invested here was because of the people. The reason I will stay here is because of the people.”

Meet Lenita Hanson

Lenita Hanson never met a challenge that she didn’t relish. She was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and got her first lessons in work ethic on the family farm in Birch Hills. Her father epitomized the notion of entrepreneurship, trying his hand at many different businesses. He instilled confidence in his children and imbued them with a healthy dose of fearlessness in tackling new things. Lenita took this to heart,  buying and selling cars while still in high school. She sold her first car before she was even licensed to drive!

She also discovered quickly that being in business isn’t always profitable. “ You win some and you lose some. Sometimes the losses are actually wins because of the lessons learned. I recognized at an early age that failure was not to be feared.”  She , like many others, regrets that in an era of “Fair Play” in sports, many young people do not experience failure… sometimes life’s best teacher.

She started her post secondary education studying psychology. After taking a year off, she enrolled in the science program at the University of Saskatchewan with an eye to becoming a forensic scientist. She worked at the Saskatchewan Zoo and then did an internship with the Canadian Wildlife Service. She worked for a biopharmaceutical company for a few years. Through all of these endeavours, she felt that she might find her niche in the area of business development.

From 2002-09, Lenita worked for Star Egg, a Saskatchewan based business specializing in the grading, distribution and marketing of shell eggs. Here she met her first professional mentor ( besides her dad! ). Bert Harman saw her potential and encouraged her at every turn. She took on roles with increasing responsibility and learned a great deal about food safety.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Lenita’s next foray was as the production manager at a restaurant. “ I loved learning new things. Change is great.”

Lenita was always a sports enthusiast. She played a variety of sports and took a shining to ringette at the age of 10, a sport that she played avidly until the age of 18. In her third year at the University of Saskatchewan, she decided to try out for the fledgling women’s hockey team . She had to scramble to find goalie gear, having never played the sport. Some of the equipment came from a pawnshop. She made the squad and a year later, the team attained CIS status. She has maintained lifelong friendships from this group of athletes.

During this time she met someone from Antigonish and was invited to come for a visit. From the moment she stepped outside of the airport in Halifax, she could feel something special. She took an instant liking to Nova Scotia. After her second visit, she returned home and wrote down her three year plan to move to Antigonish, after discussing this with her spouse, Amy Irwin.

She could not believe her good fortune when she saw an ad for a Production Development Manager at Tony’s Meat’s in Antigonish. It was as if the job had been written for her. She accepted the position in 2012 and has been there ever since.  Initially, her focus was on food safety and when Tony’s received its Global Food Safety designation, it opened up a world of new market possibilities.

In 2015, when the opportunity presented itself for an ownership share, Lenita didn’t flinch. She knew it was a well run business and had lots of potential.

In 2014, she and Amy built their dream home “ in the Ohio” with wood milled from local timber.

Not long ago, she made a new acquisition: a tattoo. It contains words to live by.

“ Respect. Love. Forgive. No regrets.”


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