RBC International Women’s Day 2013 – Career Snapshots

Teri Robins

Teri Robins

Head, Shared Services
RBC Insurance


As a successful business woman what are some of the challenges and/or opportunities you face in your career or line of business?

The Insurance platform was a single line of business with national scope when I started and has evolved today to be a multi-line/channel international organization. Having to operate with new and numerous legacy systems, changing regulations and complexities of these diverse businesses is challenging when supporting growth and efficiency at the same time. However, with the ever-evolving market and challenges of a growth organization, the opportunity to effect transformational change, be it systems, processes or a different business model, has created many opportunities to challenge my thinking and develop resiliency and open-mindedness to new ideas, essential to successfully effecting change.

If you were talking to someone who’s never worked in your RBC business group, how would you describe what you do and what you like best about your job?

I manage the Shared Services team within Service & Operations for Insurance. Shared Services is made up of a number of centres of expertise including Licensing, Contracting and Compensation of both proprietary and third party sales channels, Business Operations Support that includes quality monitoring of our contact centres and some other operational processes, such as underwriting, Insurance Vendor Management, General Ledger Insurance Support and Policy and Regulatory Services & Support. These teams all come together in a model that optimizes the expertise of each area to enable and support the entire Insurance platform. I enjoy most the variety and work of the team and the ability to be involved with many facets of not only the Insurance organization but also the enterprise at large.

What advice would you give a younger woman who is at the start of her career?

My advice would be to build on a foundation of positive attitude, flexibility and strong work ethic. Seek out different opportunities and hone your learning skills not only in academic endeavors but through experiences and role models who can advise and guide you throughout your career. Trust yourself and enjoy what you do at each point in your career.

If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing instead?

Although I have no regrets with my career and have taught piano off and on in the past, if I had to do it all over again, I probably would have gone into law or perhaps even the military. They both appeal to my sense of structure and focus but also the opportunity to work with challenges and the unexpected.

Aside from spending time with family and friends, what’s your favourite thing to do when you have time to yourself?

Music and reading are two of my favourite hobbies. Time outdoors, be it camping, gardening or walking my new dog, are my fall-back relaxation activities. I’ve also just started back into physical fitness and look forward to a summer of biking, canoeing and kayaking with my family.

Who has been the most inspiring woman in your own life and why?

My mother has been, and still is, a great role model for me. At 19, she immigrated to Canada and was one of the very few mothers I knew who worked outside the home while raising her family. She practiced work-life balance before it actually had a name. Because of her, and unwavering support of my father, I always believed I could pursue anything of my choice.

Finally, any comment, words of advice or quote you live your life by and would like to share?

One very simple quote I heard as a girl has always stuck with me and been my guidepost in life – “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”