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Royal Bank of Canada earns 2010 Catalyst Award for advancing women and other diverse groups

RBC recognized for adapting women's programs to engage Visible Minorities, Aboriginal Peoples, Lesbian Gay Bi-sexual and Transgenders (LGBT), New Canadians, and Persons with Disabilities

NEW YORK, March 24, 2010— RBC's commitment to enabling the progress of women and minorities and their climb up the corporate ladder has earned the bank international recognition as a recipient of this year's Catalyst Award for diversity. Today, women comprise nearly 40 per cent of executives at RBC, with 54 per cent of management roles held by women. Visible minorities account for 14 per cent of executives and their representation in management roles has doubled from 13 to 26 per cent in the last decade. The global organization has diverse operations with 77,000 employees who speak over 100 languages, serving 18 million clients across Canada, the U.S. and 53 other countries.

RBC president and CEO, Gordon M. Nixon will accept the prestigious Catalyst Award on behalf of RBC for outstanding diversity and inclusion initiatives that advance the representation and influence of women and other diverse groups in business. Catalyst is the leading nonprofit membership organization working globally with businesses and the professions to build inclusive workplaces and expand opportunities for women and business.

"Clearly, supporting diversity is the right thing to do, but it also represents incredible business potential. To ignore the value offered by huge parts of the workforce and the markets we serve would be to miss a significant business opportunity. The link between diversity and the success of a business is clearly there," said Nixon. "The question is not whether we want a diverse workforce-it's already here-but rather how to attract and develop the best talent which happens to be diverse. There's a lot of hard work required to move from simply having diversity to unleashing its full potential."

The global RBC Diversity Leadership Council, which Mr. Nixon established in 2001 and has chaired since its inception, and a growing team of diversity champions throughout RBC are part of Mr. Nixon's vision of ensuring the diversity opportunity is pursued in all parts of the company.

Zabeen Hirji, Chief Human Resources Officer for RBC, helps to drive RBC's diversity strategy with its focus on talent and workplace, clients and communities. "At RBC we've built a culture where diversity is a core value, where we value differences and treat each other with respect. We believe that to succeed, we must harness everyone's talents and energy and apply them to achieving our common goals. Frankly, it's a win-win situation: when employees achieve their full potential, RBC wins too," said Hirji.

RBC's winning initiative includes many components to ensure employee success, including reciprocal mentoring that matches employees of different backgrounds and different levels so that they can learn about diversity from each other; specific staffing goals, coaching and development plans for women and visible minorities; and supporting Employee Resource Groups, which enable and expand the diversity discussion across the organization.

RBC has also integrated its strategies across employees, clients and communities, one feature of the company's approach to diversity that attracted the attention of the Catalyst organization. For example, a women's market strategy is targeted to women business owners with a dedicated public website and internal roles where women serve as experts for this market segment. Additionally, an Aboriginal banking effort includes innovative recruitment approaches, full service and remote banking on many Aboriginal reserves, and a community action plan around youth, education and economic development. In the case of newcomers to Canada:

  • RBC recruiters are culturally trained and recognize the value of international credentials and experience. To attract newcomer employees, RBC participates in bridging programs, to provide internships to new immigrants, many of whom are subsequently hired.

  • On the client front, RBC offers advice for newcomers to Canada wanting to start or grow a business, a dedicated website on becoming financially established in Canada, a Welcome to Canada Banking Package designed for newcomers, product and service fact sheets available in 14 languages, and basic banking telephone service with access to communicating in over 150 languages.

  • In the community, RBC has established strong partnerships with leading nonprofit organizations-organizations that understand the importance of collaborating with multi stakeholders - governments, community agencies, academia and businesses, because that's what's needed for newcomer success. As an example, CEO Gordon Nixon and CHRO Zabeen Hirji co-chair the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, a nonprofit organization which works to better integrate skilled immigrants into the labour market.

Through this integrated approach, RBC expands the diversity of its employees, its ability to serve clients, and helps to raise the issue to a national level to significantly increase its impact. Canada has the largest per capita immigration intake in the world and much of its future population growth will come from immigration.

"If Canada is to realize the global advantage of its diversity and become the destination of choice for professionals, skilled people, and entrepreneurs, we must do a better job of helping new immigrants integrate and achieve personal success as well as contribute to the prosperity of our country," said Hirji.

For Mr. Nixon, the Catalyst Award provides an opportunity to ignite further efforts that he hopes will drive prosperity for customers and for the bank. "I'm passionate about it," said Nixon. "We have embedded diversity throughout our business and for that we are a better company - a company that can effectively serve our diverse clients and recruit the best talent. It's one of our core values and part of what we do at RBC."

ABOUT RBC
Royal Bank of Canada (RY on TSX and NYSE) and its subsidiaries operate under the master brand name RBC. We are Canada's largest bank as measured by assets and market capitalization, and among the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America's leading diversified financial service companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management services, insurance, corporate and investment banking and transaction processing services on a global basis. We employ approximately 77,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 18 million personal, businesses, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 53 other countries. For more information, please visit www.rbc.com.

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Media contact:
Gillian McArdle, RBC Media Relations, (416) 974-5506