"To me, being a woman means advocating for yourself and others and giving to yourself as generously as you give of yourself to others. As a woman, I often left my individual priorities behind and as time progresses and with more life experience I understand better why it is so important to put yourself first at times."-Devinder Gill, RBC Regional Vice President, Business Financial Services, for British Columbia.
Devinder Gill is the RBC Regional Vice President, Business Financial Services, for British Columbia. She is responsible for all aspects of business and commercial banking and leads a dedicated team of industry specialists who bring the best of RBC’s financial advice and solutions to help clients and their businesses thrive. With over 26 years of experience, Devinder has a deeply diversified background and strong expertise in the financial services industry; notably, in small business, financial planning, retail, and commercial banking.
A strong advocate for diversity, and an active member of her community, Devinder cares deeply about giving back. She is a mentor within RBC as well as with the SFU Beedie Mentors in Business program.
Devinder serves as a Board Member and Women’s Events Chair with TiE Vancouver and is a Director on the Board of Special Olympics, and previously a Director and Finance Committee Member on the Board of Minerva BC and Risk Management Association (RMA).
What does being a woman mean to you?
To me, being a woman means advocating for yourself and others and giving to yourself as generously as you give of yourself to others. As a woman, I often left my individual priorities behind and as time progresses and with more life experience I understand better why it is so important to put yourself first at times. It is also about defining what being a woman is to yourself and not letting others define it for you. I also view being a woman as being an ally and a mentor to others all the while working to uplift others.
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A milestone that defines your journey?
As the Regional Vice President, Business Financial Services I am the first South Asian and first female in BC to become a boarded executive at RBC in Business Financial Services. I charged myself to always be an advocate for diversity and inclusion and the BC Commercial Banking team achieved gender balance in senior leadership for the first time. As a mother of two girls this was a proud moment.
Were there any challenges or hurdles that you had to face to get to where you are today- especially as a woman of color?
We have made progress and I see so many women and women of colour at the table and it makes me proud (and yet we have so much more progress to make). However, this was not always the case and hence having a spot and voice at the table was not easy. There was also less women and women of colour to turn to for support; uplift you; or share experiences with and this is one of the reasons mentorship and sponsorship both formal and informal is important and vital to me.
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What are you working on right now and in 2022?
This year will be about the new normal and so as we open up, getting back out to see our clients and being back out in the community will be core to the year. I volunteer my time on various boards and as a life-long learner I am currently enrolled in the ICD-Rotman Directors Education Program (DEP). I am always keen to share my knowledge and stories and look forward to opportunities to present, moderate, and be on various panels in person through community associations. I will also remain actively involved in supporting and championing others at RBC through our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Professionally, I want to continue the work of my key role as an integrator and connector; I thrive on bringing business owners and community leaders together in formal and informal settings so they can work with each other; learn from each other; share best practices; and be the benefactors of relevant and meaningful advice for their business, employees, and for themselves personally as business owners.
What’s your advice for women who wish to follow your path?
I am a firm believer of education as it was not an easy path for me to have support for post-secondary education and so I see education as a privilege and an opportunity to open the doors for yourself. I also believe leadership has to be earned and is a journey. I have always taken on new challenges knowing I have a steep learning curve and this has allowed me to challenge myself and work with humility as it allows you to not be afraid to ask for, receive, and implement feedback. Finally, I encourage women to always look for the next young woman/man who they can mentor, coach, and support – it is never too early to take on the role of a mentor.
Photo: A Master Media