From left to right, Laura Gainey, Jennifer Tory, Shauneen Bruder.
At RBC, we uphold the highest commitment to diversity and inclusion, not only within our culture, but also as one of our core values around the world. Our shared core values represent the foundation for how we do business, as well as how we treat each other and our clients. In fully embracing and drawing on the strength of diversity and inclusion, we understand the power it holds as a driver of innovation and growth, recognizing that every individual brings diverse perspectives, work experiences, lifestyles and culture.
Our organization has been involved in diversity efforts since the mid-1970s, and our view has continually broadened since that time. Over the course of RBC’s diversity journey, we have learned that diversity helps create more productive workplaces; it builds an environment of inclusion, attraction, retention and engagement of talented people; it provides superior solutions and products for clients; and, it contributes to the delivery of an exceptional client experience. True success with our diversity efforts is more than just a choice — it’s about embedding diversity into everyday business and making it an intrinsic part of people, client, culture and community strategies.
With a focus-forward approach to diversity and inclusion, RBC’s vision is to be among the most inclusive and successful companies, putting diversity into action to help employees, clients and communities thrive. As part of our commitment to diversity at the community level, RBC often seeks partnerships with other organizations and initiatives that share like-minded missions and values, an example of which is supporting the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) Top 100 Awards. WXN is Canada’s leading organization dedicated to the advancement and recognition of women in management, executive, professional and board roles. With 18,500 members in Canada, WXN offers over 120 events annually, including networking, mentoring, professional and personal development opportunities. Each year, WXN shines a spotlight on the achievements of professional women across Canada through its Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards, and RBC is proud to have three of our talented leaders named to the 2016 list.
“We have a belief that to serve a market well, we have to reflect that market. Canada is an incredibly diverse and varied country, with a long history of inclusion of people from around the world. RBC deeply understands that diversity of background and thought leads not only to better business results, but to a culture of prosperity and richness.”
— Jennifer Tory, Chief Administrative Officer, RBC, on RBC’s culture of diversity and inclusion.
Meet Jennifer Tory
Chief Administrative Officer, RBC
For Jennifer Tory, there is great pride in working for a values-based organization, where all employees are guided by a purpose and a collective vision to help clients thrive and communities prosper. “RBC provides an environment where you are constantly challenged, where you get the opportunity to work with some of the best and brightest talent, and where you can truly have a fulfilling and successful career,” Jennifer shares.
Looking back to early on in her career, Jennifer shares that while she was fairly clear on her overall path, she didn’t always know exactly where she would end up within RBC. “I believe my varied experiences in different areas of the business over the years prepared me for the roles I have fulfilled. It’s an exciting time in banking and business in general, and I am humbled to be a part of the incredible team we have here.” Most recently, Jennifer was appointed the position of Chief Administrative Officer, RBC, embarking on a new endeavour to continue supporting RBC in its collective purpose and vision.
Reflecting on her career thus far, a number of moments and experiences stand out as highlights. Jennifer became Group Head, Personal & Commercial Banking (P&CB), in 2014 and she is honoured to have been the first woman to lead a business platform within the organization. Seeing the team recognized with two recent awards — the “Best Retail Global Bank” in 2015 by Retail Banker and “Highest in Customer Satisfaction” among the big five retail banks in J.D. Power’s 2016 Canadian Retail Banking Satisfaction Study — Jennifer is quick to note, “The credit for these awards goes directly to our employees who are constantly putting our clients’ needs first in everything they do.”
The increase of women in leadership positions is another aspect she’s most proud of. “In Canada, we have made progress to where, as of December 2016, women comprise 46 percent of management positions and above and 41 percent of executive roles at RBC; our Board is also comprised of 33 percent women,” Jennifer notes. Within the community, she also feels very fortunate to have been able to give her time to many organizations over the years, noting that she’s derived great personal satisfaction from community service and giving back.
Within the WXN, women who are named among the Top 100 are described as “role models, trailblazers and leaders,” and Jennifer is a three-time recipient as of the 2016 awards (at which time she still held her previous role of Group Head, P&CB). “It is a great honour to be among this group of incredibly talented and accomplished women. I truly hope that we’ve helped to pave the way for the next generation of future women leaders to feel there are no limits to what they can achieve,” she shares. “These methods of recognition shine an important light on the accomplishments of professional women across our country, which can inspire the next generation of women leaders, showing them what is possible and encouraging them to push their boundaries.”
When it comes to her own role models, Jennifer credits her late father for having the biggest impact. “My father instilled in me that I could do whatever I wanted in my career and in life — and he treated me the same as my three brothers. He didn’t see any barriers to success, so I didn’t either. I have surprised myself, but probably not him. As a role model, he inspired me by teaching me about hard work and perseverance, and he made me feel I could accomplish anything I put my mind to,” she shares.
And in turning a focus ahead to upcoming generations, Jennifer offers her own inspiring message to young women and men: “Above all else, have confidence, believe in yourself and stay true to yourself. It is very important to move out of your comfort zone and take risks early in your career to gain experiences and develop a broad set of skills. Then, when you find what you love, go deep. You also need to be honest with yourself about what success looks like in terms of your professional and personal life. In order to be truly successful, and happy, you need to ensure it’s on your own terms.”
“I think every one of us leads by example every day, especially when we assume more senior roles. We have a responsibility to share our experiences, mistakes and learnings along the way as part of that role.”
— Shauneen Bruder, Executive Vice President, Operations, Personal & Commercial Banking, RBC, on being a role model within RBC and beyond.
Meet Shauneen Bruder
Executive Vice President, Operations, Personal & Commercial Banking (P&CB), RBC
In reflecting on her career thus far, Shauneen Bruder feels very blessed to have spent the majority of it with an organization that truly values its employees, and Shauneen identifies diversity as one of the values that is most important to her. “I have a personal congruence with all of RBC’s core values, and that is something that has certainly contributed to my long career here,” she shares. Over the course of her career, Shauneen has felt pride in every role that she has taken on, recognizing the continual growth and challenge, and her ability to make a difference in every position. She also gives great credit and appreciation to her teams throughout the years, as they have been so valuable in helping her learn, grow and develop strong leadership abilities.
As a role model and a leader, Shauneen feels very strongly about her responsibilities and takes pride in being able to offer her skills, experience and insights to help others reach their full potential. “I am fortunate to have the opportunity to mentor a lot of women and men; and, on a personal level, I am also really proud to have raised three wonderful children with my husband while balancing my career and to have the opportunity to give back to the community in a number of meaningful ways,” Shauneen shares.
Looking back to early on in her career, Shauneen had clear goals and defined priorities, but shares that she didn’t always envision herself exactly where she is today. “When I started out, I wouldn’t have expected to end up in the role that I’m in now. I just always focused on working hard, adding value and making a difference. I think it’s really important to actively seek roles and look for that stretch to have an impact. And beyond that, I’m really fortunate to work with an organization that truly invests in their employees,” she explains.
For Shauneen, being recognized in the 2016 WXN Top 100 Awards was particularly meaningful, as it marked the fourth time she has been named to the list of Canada’s Most Powerful Women — with that fourth award comes an even greater honour, and that is being inducted into the WXN Top 100 Hall of Fame. “Not only in 2016, but each time I’ve been awarded by the Women’s Executive Network, it is incredibly humbling to be recognized in such a strong list. I am so inspired by the breadth and depth of the amazing and talented women who are part of the Top 100, both currently and in previous years,” she shares. And when it comes to organizations and initiatives such as WXN and the Top 100 Awards, Shauneen strongly supports their purpose for women, and for society as a whole. “I think it is so important to recognize, profile and celebrate women’s accomplishments in a way that provides motivation and encouragement to other women. It sets out stories, and I believe storytelling is such a great way to inspire — it really opens the possibilities for the next generation.”
When asked who has been the most influential person in her life, Shauneen is quick to give credit to her father as her leading role model. “While I was fortunate to have a number of really powerful role models, my father was the earliest and most impactful. Some of the key values he focused on and prided were hard work, compassion, developing others and giving back,” she shares. These values have remained embedded with Shauneen throughout her career, and they are woven into her powerful and insightful advice for younger generations: “First and foremost is to work hard, and then to be prepared and take smart risks with your career. I believe that if you’re not a little bit scared, you’re not stretching yourself enough. Beyond that, it’s important to broaden yourself as much as you can as early as you can, and jump at any opportunity to get involved and learn new things, as that is where opportunities grow from.”
“Without a doubt, it’s people and the relationships I’ve forged over the years that have truly made the difference in my career. As I look back, many colleagues, leaders and clients stand out, together with many amazing experiences ranging from helping clients grow their businesses and personal wealth and undertaking challenging work programs, to giving back to the community through my involvement with RBC’s many corporate citizenship initiatives.”
— Laura Gainey, Senior Vice President, Service & Operations, RBC Insurance, on achieving career goals within RBC.
Meet Laura Gainey
Senior Vice President, Service & Operations, RBC Insurance
For Laura Gainey, embarking on a career with RBC 35 years ago was one of the most important decisions of her life. “As I look back, I feel very fortunate to have joined RBC at such an early stage of my career. Although we’re a global organization of 80,000 people, RBC really feels like a tight-knit family, and I’ve always been immensely proud of our shared vision and values.” As Laura explains, part of sustaining the culture at RBC is not being complacent or taking it for granted: “At RBC, diversity is fostered through processes versus organic evolution alone, and we understand how critical diversity is to our ability to innovate, adapt and be successful in a competitive and fast-changing environment. I’m thankful to be part of a thriving environment where diversity and inclusion are woven into the very fabric of the organization, however, we must always challenge ourselves to do better.”
A fervent advocate of employee growth and development, Laura has personally mentored more than 100 employees over the span of her career, and is an active sponsor in the organization, helping to facilitate the growth and succession of RBC’s future leaders. It’s no surprise that some of the proudest moments in Laura’s career come from seeing so many of the women and men she’s supported go on to achieve great things. “I truly believe one of the most important roles of a leader is to attract, grow and develop talent for the organization. We have a responsibility to remove barriers and find ways to encourage, support and sponsor our top talent in open and visible ways. In practice, that means speaking up on their behalf, proactively opening doors that will enable them to reach their full potential, and taking risks to ensure we help our future leaders grow and develop; it’s so rewarding to see this come to fruition.”
The 2016 WXN Top 100 Awards mark the first time Laura has been named among Canada’s Most Powerful Women, an experience she describes as incredibly humbling. “It’s a great honour to join a community that includes so many iconic and inspirational women,” she shares, but is also quick to note the importance of using such platforms to continue to drive the momentum for change. Beyond WXN specifically, Laura is a strong supporter of initiatives and organizations that motivate and recognize women and their achievements. “When we celebrate the success of these inspirational women and widely profile their accomplishments, it helps enhance their visibility as role models, and extends exposure to more women across Canada,” she shares. “As we strive to diminish unconscious bias, the steps we take today will set the stage for future generations, and while recognition is a valuable tactic, it goes hand in hand with stronger hiring practices, development programs, skills-based mentorship, and visible support and sponsorship of women in the workplace.”
When it comes to setting an example, the greatest role model in Laura’s life has been her mother: “My mother was a very powerful influence in my life, and she instilled in me so many of the attributes I live by today: upholding a strong reputation, values and principles, as well as respect, integrity and kindness.” Laura’s mother became a widow at a young age, and as a traditional stay-at-home mother, suddenly found herself having to learn new skills and make tough decisions for her family. “Her example demonstrated to me the power of hard work and what’s possible when you have the courage and determination to try, and to this day I remain so inspired by her strength and resilience.”
Laura recently announced her intention to retire later this year, and in thinking about the best advice she can offer, now as a role model to younger women and men herself, she shares a valuable message: “Good health is, above all, our most precious and valuable gift. It’s the very foundation of our well-being and supports our ability to succeed in both our personal and professional lives. In today’s fast-paced, ‘always on’ world, it’s more important than ever to find balance in your life and take time to recharge. I also strongly encourage young people to find ways to get involved, both in their local and professional community. Take advantage of mentorships, volunteer for projects that challenge and expand your abilities, be passionate and eager to learn, and use your skills and knowledge to positively impact and give back to your local community. In my experience, reaching beyond your day-to-day role returns many rewards, including the opportunity to meet new people, strengthen your confidence, build valuable relationships and grow your professional network.”