RBC International Women’s Day 2012 – Career Snapshots

Monica Brown

Monica Brown

Senior Vice President, Group Architecture and Solution Delivery Services
Technology & Operations


Why did you decide to enter the financial services industry? Was there a particular person or moment that influenced you?

I actually originally entered the computer systems and IT industry. Aileen Sherritt was the recruiter back in 1988 who spoke with energy and excitement of RBC being the best place to work and have a technology career supporting a financial organization. With that I declined a CIBC offer and joined RBC...she was right!

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'm responsible for governance of many different aspects focused on technology and operations. These include core components like architecture, change, problem and incident management, and the methodologies of project and program management, and quality assurance. There is also global resourcing, performance management and operational risk management governance. It's the people and the very broad enterprise scope that I'm enjoying the most about my role.

What’s been the greatest challenge of your career to date and how did you deal with it?

After having the greatest of opportunities and roles in the technology area I decided I needed to expand my learning and appreciation of the organization so I chose to look at other roles and landed in Canadian Banking Operations. This was way outside my comfort zone. I was able to deal with it with the help and support of many people that I will forever be grateful to. I needed to learn a whole new business and create a whole new network and that's what I did. I asked lots of questions until I could understand and I was continually curious trying to learn as much as I could.

What’s your definition of a great leader?

They are inspirational in making people want to not only do their best but to be better. They are mentors that are very effective in communication and very clear and direct with messages. Leaders genuinely care about others, are trusted and have great integrity.

How about a great employee?

Someone who is dedicated, open, honest, engaged and connected. A great employee is one that supports and inspires others while achieving their own results.

If you could travel back in time and speak to your younger self – what’s the best career advice you could give her?

There are a couple of things I'd say. On a personal side, get to know yourself, your limits, your expectations, your likes and your dislikes and stay true to yourself. Also, don't underestimate the value of having mentors so make sure you always have a few key ones.

A lot of our readers have told us they would enjoy hearing a little bit more about your life when you're not at the office...

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

Read...there's nothing like getting lost in a book that you just can't put down.

What book is on your nightstand right now?

My iPad...it's a little more than a book so covers everything from reading news and novels to sudoko and many games my boys love to beat me in.

Who’s your favourite singer or band?

I like too many kinds of music to have a favorite. Everything from classic rock to country.

Best vacation you ever took?

It was a non-vacation. We moved to Winnipeg in July 2008 and the summer was spent with no home phone, cable/satellite or internet connection (by choice). It was a couple of months of playing board games, playing outside and exploring a new city, neighbourhood and environment with my husband and three boys. For me it was the greatest family time.

Finally, who has been the most inspiring women in your own life and why?

My mom. She showed me that there's nothing that can't be done including going back to school later in life to get a college diploma in computer programming and there's nothing that happens that you can't overcome or get through.

Any other comment, words of advice or favourite quotes you would like to share to inspire others?

There are so many good quotes. I just keep it simple with never give up. There are so many things in life good and bad and when things get rocky, never give up.