Newsroom > Empowering Women in Tech: RBCx Expands Mentor Meetups Program

Empowering Women in Tech: RBCx Expands Mentor Meetups Program

Mentor Meetups header image

With women still underrepresented in the tech industry, RBCx is committed to paving the path for a more inclusive and diverse tech ecosystem through its Mentor Meetups program. 

“A rising tide lifts all boats,” is an old adage that’s been top-of-mind in the tech community over recent years. Whether it’s through their business priorities, talent strategy, or culture-building efforts, tech companies are increasingly taking meaningful action to support more inclusive and equitable access to growth opportunities and career resources. A more diverse workforce and inclusive environment, it turns out, benefits the entire innovation ecosystem. Yet, within the tech sector, it’s clear that there is much more to be done. 

Statistics Canada’s own numbers confirm this: women* make up nearly 46 per cent of the Canadian workforce but account for less than a quarter of professionals working in STEM. The numbers are even more staggering when looking at venture capital (VC) funding. The World Economic Forum found that female-founded companies received just two per cent of all VC investments in 2022, and female-led financial platform, The51 reports that only 19.4 per cent of partners at Canadian VC firms are women.

That’s why we’re thrilled to bring back Mentor Meetups in 2024. First launched last year to great success (just ask the 180+ women who received over 175 hours of mentoring from 41 of our powerhouse female leaders), the program helps women pursue their career goals in tech by connecting them with RBCx mentors. Through virtual one-on-one mentorship, support and skills-sharing, RBCx is working to close the gender gap in tech and elevate the industry as a whole. 

In keeping with this year’s International Women’s Day theme, #InspireInclusion, we’re expanding the program to include male-identifying RBCx mentors. Now, more than ever, we need men to support women. Being part of the solution and inspiring inclusion means mentoring, sponsoring and working one-on-one with women in tech.

Why mentorship matters

According to a report from LeanIn, a global community dedicated to helping foster leadership, advancement and inclusion for women in the workplace: “Mentorship is critical to the success of women across industries…particularly when [mentors are] more senior, as men often are.” The organization found that “people with mentors are more likely to get promoted” however, “women are 24% less likely than men to get advice from senior leaders.”

This contributes to a phenomenon known as the “broken rung”, wherein the biggest obstacle women face on their path to senior leadership is during their first promotion to manager. In order for more women in tech to rise through the ranks, they need access to more opportunities for mentorship from senior leaders, who are still disproportionately male. 

Mentorship for women in tech is crucial. Support from men in tech is crucial. By going bigger and bolder for this year’s Mentor Meetups, RBCx is committed to providing guidance and support, and building the foundation for women to thrive across a variety of tech roles.

Nicole Kelly, Head of Marketing and Growth and Co-Chair of the RBCx Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Council is the executive sponsor of Mentor Meetups and has seen the benefits of effective mentorship firsthand: “I would not be where I am today without having access to strong mentors throughout my career. I want to help provide the same opportunities to more women in tech,” says Kelly. “This is such an important grassroots initiative for RBCx, because we know that change needs to come from within. As an industry leader with the resources and platform to make a difference, we are committed to supporting underrepresented voices within the tech ecosystem.” 

As part of the program’s expansion, mentees will be able to sign up across one of three distinct categories: 

  1. Entry-level employees: For students or those just starting out in their career.
  2. Mid-career employees: For those interested in working in tech or want to excel in their tech job. 
  3. Tech entrepreneurs: For first-time startup founders or those who aspire to be one.  

Depending on their background and preferences, mentees will then be matched with RBCx mentors that fit their respective career goals.

Connecting with top talent

Mentors from across RBCx’s four pillars—Banking, Capital, Platform, and Ventures have expertise across various areas including startups, scaling, technology, marketing, design, operations and more. Mentees will be able to connect with some of the industry’s top talent, including:

  • Anne No, Managing Director of Banking
  • Dave Simons, Head of Technology 
  • Lydia Varmazis, Head of Product
  • Nicole Kelly, Head of Marketing and Growth
  • Sid Paquette, Head of RBCx

Mentees will be able to explore a wide array of topics, including: 

  • Career path trajectory: Ways to aptly navigate a career in tech
  • Skills development: Most valuable hard and soft skills to help achieve their career ambitions in technology and innovation
  • Networking strategies: How and where to effectively network within the tech ecosystem 
  • Navigating the workplace: Best approaches for managing roadblocks in the tech work environment
  • Entrepreneurial mindset: What it is, and how to nurture it to benefit a career in tech

While Mentor Meetups: Women in Tech is focused on supporting women in Canada’s tech sector, the Mentor Meetups program will be rolled out throughout the year to include other underrepresented groups. This is part of RBCx’s commitment to break down barriers faced by all marginalized groups in the tech ecosystem. From our D&I Council’s work, to powering meaningful initiatives with groups like Hackergal and RippleX Ventures, RBCx is helping to build an equitable foundation for the next generation of founders and tech leaders.  

“As an industry leader with the resources and platform to make a difference, we are committed to supporting underrepresented voices within the tech ecosystem.” 

Are you a woman in tech interested in mentorship? Mentor Meetups registration is now open, with one-on-one mentorship sessions starting on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2024 through April 30, 2024. Learn more about the program, meet our RBCx mentors and sign up for women mentorship sessions today.

*We recognize that the term “woman” may not encompass the diverse identities of our community. Please note, we welcome and strive to create an inclusive environment for all trans, non-binary and agender persons and allies. If you have any concerns or questions, please reach out.