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Q&A with Haley Rusicka: How Magna Fosters an Innovative Company Culture

Today’s job seekers evaluate potential employers’ company culture more than previous generations. They are looking for companies that value innovation and whose products or services make an impact. Many companies are heeding this shift in the market and recognize that to be successful, they must create a culture that supports their employees and allows them to grow and be innovative.

Magna International, a mobility technology company, is embracing this movement and is enhancing a culture of innovation through various initiatives, including an Employee Innovation Challenge and Innovation Awards event, which engage and recognize employees for their innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship.

To learn more about how Magna encourages employees to think big, never settle, take responsibility, and be collaborative, Let’s Detroit sat down with Haley Rusicka, a marketing specialist at Magna. Check out the interview below and connect with Haley on Let’s Detroit here.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What is your role at Magna?

I am a marketing specialist at Magna International and directly support our corporate Research and Development team through events, branding, and sponsorship activities. I’m responsible for leading many of our internal initiatives that support Magna’s culture of innovation and our entrepreneurial spirit. Two examples include the annual Employee Innovation Challenge and our Global Innovation Awards, where we recognize and spotlight noteworthy projects and employees across several different categories.

Is innovation a big part of Magna’s culture?

Yes, since the company’s inception, innovation has been one with our entrepreneurial culture. Our leadership team, starting with our Chief Executive Officer Swamy Kotagiri, continues to create an environment where employees can think like owners in the business. He is a big pioneer in promoting the entrepreneurship of each person. That goes along with our decentralized structure of giving employees the power to come forward with ideas, feel that their ideas could be supported, and that they can implement them and make a difference.

Do employees worldwide get to work together on these challenges?

Yes! For the first time, this year, the Employee Innovation Challenge offered the opportunity to work in teams.  It was great for us to see collaboration across product groups and the globe.  We even had a submission from a newer location in Morocco this year.

Participants learn about other projects in the works, trials and errors, and regional perspectives. It’s more than just submitting an idea.

On a personal note, what’s your favorite thing about working at Magna?

I have been with Magna for five years and initially interned for Magna in college. I participated in our Intern Innovation Challenge at that time, and when I was officially hired into Magna on the marketing team, I was given the Employee Innovation Challenge as one of my big projects.  It has been rewarding to watch it grow into the global initiative it is today with all the feedback from participants and leaders over the years. Running this program has been one of my favorite challenges to take on, and I plan to continue to improve it.

Bringing employees together from across the globe and really creating an idea network where we can share and learn from each other has been one of my highlights. I love that I came from a three-person startup to a 34-billion-dollar company and can still apply the startup mentality to my projects.

You’ve made your way up through Magna pretty quickly for somebody your age. What kind of advice would you have for somebody to follow in those footsteps that have high aspirations?

Never stop learning and never stop asking questions. I have two younger sisters, one in college and one that just graduated, and they’re intimidated by big companies because they feel like they would get lost and not have an impact when that is not always the case. You can ask questions, and you can absolutely question the process. I haven’t come across anyone at Magna who is unwilling to listen to how we could make something better.  Everyone wants the company to succeed at the end of the day. So, I would say to never stop learning and never stop questioning how things are done.

Also, find where you excel. It doesn’t have to be exactly what your major is but try new things.  If you ask questions and you’re willing to learn, your attitude and ambition can get you where you need to be and you can figure it out from there. You can work hard to create your own path in whichever company you choose to go with.

Does Magna have any opportunities for interns and new college graduates?

Yes, we are always hiring full-time and intern positions. All of these can be found at

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