For Leanne Kaufman, Head of Estate & Trust Services with RBC Wealth Management, changing professions meant immersing herself in an entirely new culture.
Originally from Woodstock, Ont., Leanne earned her bachelor of law degree from Queen’s University and her masters in law from Osgoode Hall Law School. Following her call to the bar, she practiced commercial litigation in Toronto.
“Litigation was not the career path that I thought I would be following, and when I thought hard about what areas I had enjoyed in my past, the estate and trust world was something that I always found very interesting,” she recalls.
She first joined RBC Estate & Trust Services as a trust officer, and managed retirement compensation arrangements for the companies that established the plans for their employees, working with those companies or the lawyers and accountants that supported them.
When she joined RBC Wealth Management from private practice, she says, “there was lifestyle change, there was culture change, but there was also a different level of support and recognition, where both collaboration and individual contributions are recognized.
“Trust companies may be unique within wealth management firms because of the many complex and dynamic family issues we deal with as part of our day-to-day business. It requires employees with high levels of empathy and understanding. We tend to have more women than men. We have a reverse-gender gap!”
Since her role as trust officer, she has continued to provide in-depth solutions for clients and their families as vice president for the Professional Practice Group, a team of professionals responsible for technical expertise, analysis and policy development, and as vice president and head of the Aboriginal Services Group, a team that for over 20 years has been dedicated exclusively to establishing long-term planning and legacy solutions for aboriginal communities across Canada.
Most recently, Leanne was named Head of the Estate & Trust Services business and President of the Royal Trust legal entities, through which trust, estate and incapacity solutions are provided.
Asked how she balances career and family, she explains that the flexibility afforded to her when her children were young gave her what she needed to continue pursuing her career goals.
“Being a mother has made me a better employee. Life requires working parents to have some flexibility, and here I have been 100% supported in that. It’s all about prioritizing and knowing when you need to be where.”
Leanne Kaufman is Head, RBC Estate & Trust Services and President, Royal Trust Corporation of Canada/The Royal Trust Company.