RBC: ‘WE’RE BUILDING A WOMEN IN TECH MOVEMENT LIKE NO OTHER’
JUNE 2nd 2021
FEMALE BUSINESS LEADERS AND TECH ENTHUSIASTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD WILL BE GATHERING AT WOMEN IN TECH X, A ONE-DAY EVENT PROVIDING DYNAMIC NETWORKING AND MENTORSHIP ACTIVITIES AND OPPORTUNITIES. LEAD SPONSOR RBC WILL BE HOSTING FOUR ROUNDTABLES, COVERING EVERYTHING FROM INVESTING TO CULTURE.
AS WE COUNT DOWN TO THE EVENT, RBC’S SENIOR VP OF TRANSFORMATION AND ENTERPRISE OPERATIONS, JULES ANDREW, WRITES ABOUT HOW ORGANIZATIONS CAN CONTINUE TO BUILD MORE DIVERSE TEAMS.
When I think about women in tech, I realize two things have become abundantly clear to me over this past year.
First: organizations will require diverse perspectives to build new capabilities and solutions for the new ways in which teams will work.
Second: our female leaders, mentors and role models will be more valuable than ever.
I think about this a lot. As a female leader in tech, I know how critical role models are in driving more diversity across the sector. I think about how we set up our female leaders for success, and how we set up the next generation of female leaders for success. How do we open our doors for more diversity to flow into our organizations, and support them every step of the way?
At RBC, I lead a team solely focused on implementing initiatives and specialized programs that attract, retain and develop women in tech. Our leadership development programs that focus on advancing women in tech careers, as well as our employee resources groups (ERGs), have been key drivers of change across tech at RBC.
Part of this means a big focus on early talent. As a champion of diversity, RBC works with high school and post-secondary students to build and create opportunities that support tech savvy, positive learning experiences and enable wider career choices for girls and women.
We’ve built this approach up over time, and are now running a series of programs for diverse women that grow with them from grades seven and eight to university. They are specifically designed to reach women at critical points in their education, giving them hands-on experiences that could change their trajectory, providing an opportunity to rethink what’s possible.
For organizations to be successful in building more diverse teams, there is no better time to make change. Change not only in the ways in which we recruit more women, but a change in how we nurture their careers once they become part of an organization, and the value existing leaders bring to the table as role models.
We are at a pivotal point. Emerging from Covid-19 means we have the opportunity to spearhead a movement bigger and bolder than before; that, as an industry, we can come together and make real headway to close the gender and diversity gap in tech.
Since 2015, RBC has built a robust program that aims to reach further than ever before to encourage women to consider careers in every corner of the tech sector.
Not only that, we have placed an emphasis on growing their careers over time, creating opportunities so successful female tech leaders can share their expertise, advice and guidance, curating a speaker series for women and BIPOC technologists, providing networking opportunities to build engagement and excitement across the business, and more.
We have built a Women in Tech Lab designed to understand how women’s careers can be managed more effectively so we can retain more women in tech. The lab conducted extensive research, tested numerous solutions, and developed a framework to create ‘an exceptional experience for women in tech at RBC’.
RBC also launched the Ignite Leadership Development Program, a 10-month initiative that provides high-performing, culturally diverse talent with opportunities to develop and practice key leadership behaviours, such as problem-solving, coaching, feedback, etc.
Women in tech ERGs put a significant emphasis on creating opportunities for more connection, especially during the work-from-home period. Through an ongoing speaker series, mentoring circles and networking events, we are creating a more connected and supported community of women in tech at RBC.
These efforts have paid off. This past year, they contributed to 51 percent of new hires in tech at RBC being women.
Let’s feed off that momentum.
As one of the largest organizations in Canada, we’re committed to using our voice to inspire greater inclusivity in our workplace and communities, and are proud to be the title sponsor of women in tech X at Collision, taking place June 2. It promises to be a day of frank discussions and inspiring stories from leaders who are working to build a more diverse and inclusive tech industry, and will cover the issues and challenges women face, as well as the powerful and motivating strategies to address them.
Our economic future will rely on new ideas, diverse thought, and the skills different backgrounds bring to the table, to lead us out of this pandemic. The more we share our own experiences and insight into the various ways to support and build opportunities, the greater impact we will have.