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About RBC > Media Newsroom > News Releases > RBC’s Zabeen Hirji to receive 2014 Catalyst Canada Honour for championing women and minorities in business

RBC's Zabeen Hirji to receive 2014 Catalyst Canada Honour for championing women and minorities in business


Zabeen is an unwavering leader and supporter of Diversity for growth and innovation, ensuring it remains an essential pillar of what RBC stands for


TORONTO, June 19, 2014 -  Catalyst Canada announced today that it will honour Zabeen Hirji, chief human resources officer, RBC, for her ongoing leadership in advancing women and minorities in business. Ms. Hirji has had significant impact in this arena both within RBC and more broadly across the country. The annual Catalyst Canada Honours recognize exceptional individuals who have demonstrated commitment, passion and results by championing the advancement of women and minorities in Canadian business.

“A company can’t become a leader in Diversity and Inclusion without individuals who show leadership,” said Gord Nixon, CEO, RBC. “Zabeen is that person. I have had the opportunity to partner with Zabeen to embed diversity in our culture and in how we do business. Her commitment to our objective has never wavered. Although our journey is not yet complete, we have made significant strides and have learned a lot. She is most deserving of this recognition and on behalf of RBC’s employees, it is my great pleasure to extend our congratulations to Zabeen.”

As a member of RBC’s Group Executive, Ms. Hirji is one of nine executives responsible for setting the bank’s overall strategic direction. Zabeen has global responsibility for Human Resources, Brand, Communications and Corporate Citizenship and in this role has primary accountability for developing and implementing RBC’s diversity and inclusion strategy.

RBC is a diversity leader in the Canadian business community and is increasingly being recognized in the US and UK for leading practices, such as ambitious publically stated goals for women and visible minorities appointed into executive and senior manager roles and bringing our core value of diversity for growth and innovation to life.

Ms. Hirji co-led the establishment of a global RBC Diversity Leadership Council in 2001, which is chaired by the CEO and includes senior leaders from all businesses. Under her leadership, the RBC Diversity Blueprint was introduced to outline RBC’s priorities, goals, and organizational commitments and it has been communicated externally.

A champion of diversity throughout her management career, Ms. Hirji has introduced several strategic and impactful initiatives to attract, develop and retain a diverse workforce at all levels. Most recently she introduced the concept of Unconscious Bias at the bank. Addressing Unconscious Bias has become the next priority in RBC’s Diversity and Inclusion framework and RBC will continue to explore this important theme with its leaders, employees and community partners in 2014 and beyond.

“A diverse and inclusive company is stronger, more innovative and better prepared for the future,” said Dave McKay, president and in-coming CEO, RBC. “Zabeen is a diversity thought leader with a vision for RBC. In my new role, I look forward to the partnership with Zabeen as we continue on this important journey.”

Ms. Hirji’s commitment to diversity and inclusion extends beyond the bank. Her community leadership includes serving as co-chair of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, member of the Governing Council for the University of Toronto, director of the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance and a volunteer for the United Way.

Ms. Hirji will be honoured for her commitment to advancing women and diversity and inclusion at The 5th Annual Catalyst Canada Honours dinner on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at The Fairmont Royal York in Toronto.

About RBC Royal Bank of Canada is Canada’s largest bank, and one of the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management services, insurance, investor services and capital markets products and services on a global basis. We employ approximately 79,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 16 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 42 other countries. For more information, please visit

RBC supports a broad range of community initiatives through donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities. In 2013, we contributed more than $104 million to causes worldwide, including donations and community investments of more than $69 million and $35 million in sponsorships. Learn more at

About CATALYST Founded in 1962, Catalyst is the leading nonprofit organization expanding opportunities for women and business. With operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, India, Australia, and Japan, and more than 700 preeminent corporations as members, Catalyst is the trusted resource for research, information and advice about women at work.

About the Catalyst Canada Honours The Catalyst Canada Honours celebrates champions of women in Canadian business. Recognizing that what’s good for women is good for business, these exceptional individuals are personally and visibly committed to the advancement of women and serve as powerful role models for Canadian corporate leaders.

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For more information, please contact:
Elynn Wareham, RBC Corporate Communications, 416-313-5778