RBC International Women’s Day 2012 – Career Snapshots

Shilpa Narang

Shilpa Narang

Director, US Convertible Bonds
RBC Capital Markets - New York


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

I grew up in Mumbai, India where I lived with my extended family. My uncle was an accountant and as such traded stocks and bonds for the family. Given my proclivity for math, he took me on as his apprentice at a very early age and I often traveled with him to the stock exchange. The energy and passion that the trading floor exuberated, inculcated a love for finance at a very early age.

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 run Convertible Bond Sales at RBC and cover a myriad of hedge funds and fundamental accounts. I am constantly exchanging ideas, prices, and opinions with my team in an effort to generate revenue for the firm as well as for my client base. The most interesting aspect of my role is that it's very dynamic. The work is fast-paced, demanding and intellectually stimulating. Working on the trading floor means that you're right in the middle of the action, so you have to be able to thrive in an intense environment. In hindsight, growing up in a family of 20 was a blessing; I developed a great aptitude for focusing and blocking out noise.

What's your definition of a great leader?

I believe that in today's world it's influence and not authority that makes a great leader. In my mind a great leader is one who has a contagious passion, empowers people, inspires trust and is an exemplary of integrity.

How about a great employee?

A great employee is someone who takes ownership. Someone who handles their area of responsibility as if it were their own business. Someone who has the willingness to learn and aptitude to adapt and can summon positive emotions during periods of intense stress. It's not just about putting in your work hours, but about going that step beyond.

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

I've learnt through my experiences that communication is a key to success and that tough conversations should not be procrastinated. By choosing to address your concerns instead of ignoring them you open the door for big progress in your career. It's sometimes as simple as people not knowing what you want unless you tell them.

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?

As Co-Chair of RWomen, I've taken on a very active role to promote RBC's diversity initiatives. I'm tremendously enthused by this opportunity and like to think of it as my second full-time job. RWomen gives members a platform to further their careers by providing leadership, development and networking opportunities. As we celebrate our one-year anniversary on March 8, 2012, it's very rewarding to reflect on our journey and see all that we've accomplished (300 members and growing, successful career enhancing events and, above all, some life-long friendships.) I also spend my leisure time developing new passions and hobbies. I've always wanted to learn how to play the piano and I started taking lessons last year to become proficient.

Best vacation you ever took?

My family and most of my friends still live in India. My best vacations are definitely the annual trips when I get to visit them. That feeling of content, warmth and happiness would be hard to experience elsewhere.