Honoring Matt Hansen: He Didn’t Have To, But He Did.

September 16, 2020 - Christine Mason Soneral

Matt Hansen


Successful implementation of bold visions often hinges on great organizational skills.  That certainly was the case when we set out to create the Women’s Leadership Institute at Michigan State University.  We had a compelling vision, robust strategy, passionate leaders and seed money.  What we lacked was a disciplined person to help plan and organize key meetings, assemble thoughts into substantive agendas, document important conversations and decisions, and help successfully execute program offerings.  That is, until we met our first male ally Matt Hansen.

Matt joined WLI’s staff because he believed in its core mission to ignite women leaders with a vision of advancing leadership equity for women globally.  He was instrumental in helping launch WLI and he worked tirelessly and joyfully to help it succeed.  He didn’t have to, but he did.

Matt passed away on September 11 th, leaving behind his beautiful wife Elyse and son Elliot.  He also leaves behind indelible memories and contributions to the Institute.  We will honor Matt by randomly awarding a $500 scholarship to one student who attended both WLI events offered on September 9 th and 10 th,, 2020.  We also encourage continued support of his family through the following GoFundMe: https://ca.gofundme.com/f/zuayzb-helping-the-hansens-a-family-in-crisis  Finally, WLI will continue to honor Matt by supporting, educating, partnering and standing with women and allies.  We don’t have to, but we will.


Written by

Christine Mason Soneral

Christine Mason Soneral

Senior VP and General Counsel for ITC Holdings Corp.