Senior Program Manager
Technology & Operations
I embarked upon my undergraduate years without a real sense of what I wanted to do. My philosophy back then, and remains today, was to study what I was interested in and find a job doing something I enjoy. I have always been interested in activities that challenge me both mentally and personally. I graduated during the dot com boom so opportunities for business-minded technical graduates were abundant and as I explored what a career in technology was like I found I really enjoyed it and it also offered the perfect environment to exercise both my technical and business academic background.
The decision to move into leadership in technology was motivated by observing many successful technology leaders across both the public and private sectors. I quickly realized how they were constantly challenged to minimize technical complexity and apply sound business strategies to achieve innovative and cost efficient business solutions. Moving into a leadership role meant I too would be challenged to do the same and I once again gravitated towards the challenge!
Technology & Operations is a service provider to all of the lines of businesses in RBC. The lines of businesses are our customers. We collaborate with our customers and influence them towards strategic, cost effective and innovative technological solutions. With many customers we are challenged daily to satisfy all requests and meet all expectations. It becomes an exercise in time management and prioritization. I also find as competition increases so does the complexity of our technological solutions so I am constantly challenged to ensure I have the necessary context and content to drive discussions with our business partners that will lead to effective decision-making.
I have spent most of my career in telecommunications and only in the past few years joined financial services. The change in industry was challenging at first. The best way I found to deal with this was to bring to my new role in financial services some of my best practices from my previous roles in telecommunications. Not only did I find RBC receptive to this but I also started to discover that as different as the industries appear to be there are a lot of similarities. Once I realised this, it became less challenging and more fun to figure out how RBC could benefit from my years in telecommunications.
I think it was Thomas Edison that said “Opportunity is missed by most people because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.” This quote really resonates with me because it suggests that the opportunities we are all really seeking are made available to us but may not present themselves the way we had hoped. The best advice I would give to a younger woman at the start of her career is to not expect your dream role to magically become a reality. View your career as a series of opportunities that you make the most of with a little determination, sweat and hard work. Each opportunity can be a stepping stone to your dream career if you can make the opportunity what you want it to be.
For the last couple of years I have been doing a lot of work with TRIEC (Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council) to introduce and rollout their mentoring partnership program here at RBC. The program partners new immigrants to Canada who are unemployed or underemployed with working professionals in a mentoring relationship. I am also a mentor in the program. My mentees are always grateful for the advice I can give and it is especially rewarding to me when they are able to find employment at the end of the partnership.
I can’t really say that I have one woman in my own life that is most inspiring to me and that is because I tend to be inspired by the qualities that people possess that I find admirable. I have found those qualities existing in both men and women in my life. For example, I am inspired daily by my mother’s ability to always see the best in people. I am inspired daily by my father’s humility and work ethic. I am inspired daily by my sister’s outgoing and adventurous nature.
I think of mentorship as an opportunity for introspection, growth and development which doesn’t really have to be formalized or have to be associated of one individual with the title mentor. Every time I am in a one-on-one conversation with my leadership and business partners and questions asked of me that I do not have an answer to, I try to figure out why they asked the question. By constantly doing this I understand their way of thinking, their motivation and their agenda. This coaches my way of thinking and my approach to my day-to-day tasks. Over the years I have found most of my own professional and personal growth attributed to this practice.