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Erik Hadley

Forty under 40 winner 2019: Senior director, process development, Stemcell Technologies, Age 39
Chung Chow photo

Few things can spur success quite like a love for learning. That is particularly true for Stemcell Technologies’ senior director of process development, Erik Hadley.

Ever since he was a kid, Hadley has been driven by a natural curiosity and an eagerness to learn new things. While school science projects might tend to send many children into a state of existential dread, Hadley relished the opportunity to go to the library, pick out a book on a new topic, learn a new area of study and showcase that knowledge by completing a project on his newfound insight.

Hadley remembers a childhood phase when he became fascinated by optical illusions and how the eyes and brain can lose communication with each other. That childhood interest foreshadowed his future in science.

“Getting into science was just a natural curiosity for me. It was never something I thought of turning into a career,” said Hadley. “I remember asking a science teacher what he thought I would be good at; he suggested I go into science. That was the spark that led me into it, and then I just followed my curiosity from there.”

Hadley, a trained chemist, did not shy away from a career in biology or fear becoming overwhelmed by the work needed to learn a new field of study and its associated terminology. Rather, he saw it as an opportunity to learn and continue his education. In fact, that’s part of what attracted Hadley to Stemcell Technologies in the first place. For Hadley, simply punching in every day to perfect his expertise was not an option. The opportunity to be a chemist in a biologist’s world would provide the excitement and opportunity for growth that he sought.

That love of learning and the collaborative scientific environment are what make Hadley such a good fit at Stemcell Technologies, which describes itself as “scientists helping scientists.”

In his current role, Hadley works with other scientists to help them scale the products they develop so that they can reach a greater audience. As a former research and development scientist, Hadley approaches his role as senior director of process development through that lens.

Birthplace: North Vancouver

Where you live now: Kitsilano

Currently reading: Educated by Tara Westover

Currently listening to: Beastie Boys, Intergalactic

When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up: Hockey player

Profession you would most like try: ER doctor

Toughest business or professional decision: Switching from R&D to operations

Advice you would give the younger you: Keep pursuing what you’re interested in

What’s left to do: Keep learning

Join us to celebrate the 2019 Forty under 40 Awards on January 30, 2020, at the Westin Bayshore. For tickets and event information visit