‘Name Her, Nominate Her’ Campaign Has Officially Launched

 The ‘Name Her, Nominate Her’ Campaign has officially launched as the 27th Annual RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards Call for Nominations Officially Open. If you know a Canadian female entrepreneur that deserves some recognition — find out how to nominate her below.



RBC and Women of Influence are announcing the call for nominations for the 2019 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards. This year’s Name Her, Nominate Her campaign marks the 27th year of the awards which provide national recognition to Canada’s most accomplished and impactful women entrepreneurs, whose successful businesses and influence contribute significantly to the local, national and global economy.

Canada is home to over 1.4 million women entrepreneurs and 47% of small and medium-sized businesses are now owned by women, generating over $117 billion per annum of economic activity in Canada. Moreover, 63% are likely to turn a profit with adequate funding in just two years.

Since its inception, over 32,000 women have been nominated for the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards and over 170 Awards have been presented for outstanding entrepreneurial achievement. We are calling on all corporations, organizations, and individuals to champion this cause and help us recognize and give a voice to the outstanding work of female entrepreneurs across the entire country and in all industries.

“We have some incredibly talented women across the country who are trailblazing, inspiring and leading future generations to drive innovation, economic growth and social progress,” says Greg Grice, Executive Vice President, Business Financial Services, RBC. “It is important that we recognize and celebrate the significant impact that their passion, dedication and contributions have had in the business community. RBC is proud to work with Women of Influence again this year to launch the 2019 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards to recognize the next generation of exceptional women in business.”

Each of these prestigious awards is tailored to recognize women from all sectors of the economy and at all stages of business growth. They include: the Ones to Watch Award, Micro-Business Award, Staples Start-Up Award, RBC Momentum Award, Social Change Award, TELUS Trailblazer Award, and Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award.

“Successful entrepreneurship requires more than a great idea – it demands tenacity and tireless dedication,” says Alicia Skalin, Co-CEO, Head of Events and Programming, Women of Influence. “Through the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards, we recognize a diverse group of Canadian business leaders who have successfully navigated the challenges of entrepreneurship to become powerful innovators in their industries.”

If you know a Canadian female entrepreneur who needs to be recognized nominate her now.

Meet Zabeen Hirji, Deloitte’s Global Advisor on the Future of Work

An advocate of inclusive prosperity through investing in people and ensuring everyone is able to realize their potential, Zabeen Hirji is a strategic advisor on the Future of Work, Leadership, Talent Management, and Diversity & Inclusion. With a ten year tenure as RBC’s Chief Human Resources Officer,  Zabeen covered 80,000 employees in 40 countries. Today, she is Global Advisor, Future of Work, at Deloitte, advising the firm and its clients on the changing nature of work, an issue key to the transformation agendas of business and government. Zabeen is also an advisor to governments and academia, on diversity,  inclusion, and preparing youth for the new world of work. She is Chair of CivicAction, co-chairs the External Advisory Board for diversity and inclusion for the Ontario Public Service, is on University of Toronto’s Governing Council, and is a Visiting Professor, Policy Institute, King’s College, London, UK.





My first job ever was… A part-time job at McDonald’s when I was 16. I developed some foundational skills like teamwork, communication, customer service and flexibility, which helped me get my first full-time job at RBC. And as this was shortly after my family immigrated to Canada, it helped me build a sense of belonging, and integrate into society.


I chose my career path because… It was where my passion met impact. When I first joined RBC, I didn’t intend to stay my entire career. One reason I stayed was because it is a great place to learn. After moving into Human Resources in 1997, I discovered my sweet spot. RBC’s success depended on its people, but what made it deeply meaningful was the impact I could have on fellow RBCers — inspiring people to set high ambitions and enabling them to realize their potential.


My proudest accomplishment is… My son and daughter. They are curious, independent thinkers, and socially conscious, and have the courage to pursue their passion with a commitment to excellence. But let me be clear: just like their mum, they aren’t perfect!


My boldest move to date was… Over 25 years ago, moving to Toronto from Vancouver — a city I loved and was very comfortable in — for more long-term career opportunities at RBC. I should point out though, I’m not big on “ests.” That move was a big life change, many more followed, both big and small, and shaped my path.


“Learning is the new currency in the future of work.”


My best advice to people starting their career is… Build a portfolio of skills and experiences. And remember, this doesn’t just happen through changing jobs. We can grow in our roles, for example by taking on new responsibilities or getting involved in projects in other areas. Go outside your comfort zone, not just once in a while, but every day and become known as someone who can learn quickly. Learning is the new currency in the future of work.


My best advice from a mentor was… Worry not about the level or title of the next job; instead, ask: what will l learn? That encouraged me to not only take on lateral roles, but even roles at a lower level for new experiences.


I would tell my 20-year old self… Judge your success by your own standards. Resist the temptation to get fixated on a singular definition of career success. Also, be active in the community; I’ve learnt that you get more than you give.


And advice to my 30–something, mother of two self… Be disciplined about making time for self-care and wellness. Whether it’s exercise, sleep, friendships, or simply reading a book — we all need “me time.”


“Resist the temptation to get fixated on a singular definition of career success.”


Work/life balance is… I think of it as work/life integration. For me it has changed over different stages of life. It even meant hitting pause on a career opportunity. For example, I declined the first executive role that RBC offered me in 1996. I had just returned from maternity leave, my children were both under the age of 3, and I hadn’t figured out how to be the kind of Mum I wanted to be and take on a more demanding role. I was prepared to take the career risk that went with this decision, but to be honest, it wasn’t that hard, because it was the right decision for me at that point in time.


I stay inspired by… My mum and the example she set. Shortly after my dad passed away, she brought her two teenagers to Canada from Tanzania, then devoted her life to raising us, giving us strong roots, but also wings to grow as individuals. She brought to life something my dad instilled in me – “do not constrain your ambitions just because you are female.” Mum is courageous, independent, curious and resilient.


The future excites me because… I was fortunate to have had a rewarding and meaningful career at RBC, sprinkled with opportunities to make a difference in our communities. I’m now building a portfolio career of roles across all sectors — business, government, academia and not-for-profit. I’m motivated by work that drives both economic and social impact, with a focus on investing in the development of people and building inclusive organizations and communities. I’m excited to be able to spend more time helping to building a stronger Toronto and a stronger Canada, one where everyone has the opportunities to realize their potential — a win/win that drives inclusive prosperity. My ambition is to have impact at a greater scale. It’s a bit of a roller coaster ride, but it is fun. I am definitely taking my own advice to push myself outside my comfort zone, every day!



Five Ways to Attract Younger Customers to Your Business


Today’s younger consumers shop differently than previous generations. Strategic in the way they purchase, they’re digitally savvy, socially conscious and increasingly affluent.


By Diane Amato




As a business owner, long-term success may depend upon your ability to attract a diverse customer base who will be around for years to come. Of particular interest to many business owners are young Canadians born between 1980-1994 (millennials) and those born 1995-2009 (Generation Z), but how can you attract younger Canadians to your business?

Learning more about what drives these groups, what inspires them, and what matters most in their lives may give you insights as to how to make your business appealing to them.

Here are five key characteristics of millennials and Generation Z, and five tips to make your business matter to them.


About Younger Canadians


You can’t paint them all with the same brush

While millennials and Generation Z have been characterized as passionate, resilient and inclusive, it’s important to remember that there is great variety within these groups.

There is a wide range in economic status, values, and ethnicity; in fact, according to research firm Environics, millennials and Generation Z make up the most ethnically diverse generations in Canadian history.


Character and community outweigh cost

According to a 2017 RBC poll, Canadians of all ages prefer to shop locally with 88 percent of the population say they will choose to support a local business when possible; however, younger shoppers say they would pay more for a product or service offered by a local business.

Additionally younger shoppers seek authenticity and a genuine connection with the businesses they are buying from. They wish to support companies that have a strong brand character, are community-minded, and care about the impact they have on their customers, suppliers and employees. In fact, 66 percent of Canadians 15-34 say they spend more on a product from a company with ethical values and a principled approach to their business operations.1


There is power in social

Younger consumers are heavy researchers and 1.5 times more likely than Baby Boomers to spend time researching purchases.3 During the exploratory stage, they draw on their social networks for reviews, recommendations and opinions. And if they support your business? Good news. They are quick to spread the word about a company they support, with 75 percent saying they would help promote a company they like on social media.2

You can also expect them to seek deeper connections with you through social media, as 60 percent of younger Canadians engage with businesses they support through social media1 — 20 percent more than any other age group.


“Part of growing up in a digital world means that younger Canadians expect businesses to provide new technologies, including emerging digital payment options like tap, chip & PIN and Apple Pay.”


Mobile matters

Millennials and Generation Z were born into a mobile world. As native digital generations, they rely on their smartphones and use them to make purchases, read reviews and connect with friends and family. In the last month, 78 percent of Canadians used their mobile devices for chat or instant messaging, 71 percent to watch videos and 37 percent to make a purchase.3


Digital payment options are important

Part of growing up in a digital world means that younger Canadians expect businesses to provide new technologies, including emerging digital payment options like tap, chip & PIN and Apple Pay.When it comes to paying for a product or service, 80 percent of millennials wish more of the businesses they shop at had tap to pay, and 60 percent wish more had mobile payment options.5


Five Ways to Attract Younger Canadians to Your Business


So how do you appeal to this diverse, enthusiastic, connected group of consumers? Here are five ways to capture their imagination, support and possibly their business.


1. Be authentic

Offer a genuine connection to your business. For instance, show them how your business is making a difference in the community — even if it’s in a small way. Are your products sourced and produced in a sustainable, socially conscious manner? Do you give back to your community or participate in local events? Telling your story about how you got started is also a great way to build interest and connection. It doesn’t have to be exciting — it just has to be real.


2. Support local businesses

Sourcing local products and supporting local suppliers may go a long way toward building rapport with these proudly-Canadian demographics. While not every aspect of your business needs to be locally supplied, making an effort to support your community, city and country — and showcasing these efforts — may appeal to both groups.


3. Offer emerging payment options

Even if your business is small, it’s important to stay current with technology to ensure it’s fast and easy for your customers to pay you. Investing in payment technology — such as contactless in-store terminals and streamlined online payment options — offer the choice and convenience younger shoppers are seeking. Stay current with technology to ensure the shopping experience is easy.


“Even if your business is small, it’s important to stay current with technology to ensure it’s fast and easy for your customers to pay you.”


4. Stay social

Social media is where you can tell your story, share reviews, promote events and post updates about what your business is doing. It’s also an invaluable forum for engaging with younger customers — acknowledge a positive review, have a conversation about a negative one, and demonstrate you’re willing to make things right if a customer had a poor experience.


5. Think mobile first

Younger Canadians use their smartphones in just about every aspect of their lives — from banking to connecting with friends, planning trips to buying stuff. Because they are so connected to their mobile devices, it’s critical that your business has a strong mobile presence including an easy-to-navigate mobile site, digestible mobile-friendly content and a simple mobile shopping experience. Use responsive web design that works across platforms, compelling images, videos and e-commerce to help your mobile site become engaging, functional and shareable.

Millennials aren’t all that different from the previous generation — but they do have some distinct characteristics, values and habits that Canadian businesses should recognize — and appeal to — if they want to win their business and their loyalty.



1. Nielsen, 2015

2. RBC poll, 2017

3. Facebook IQ

4. Apple Pay is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the US and other countries.

5. RBC poll, 2017



2013 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Award Winners

Women of Influence

On November 27th, Women of Influence celebrated the recipients of the 2013 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto.  The six award winners, representing the best of what the country has to offer, were recognized for their contributions to the local, Canadian, and global economies. Diane Francis, editor-at-large at the National Post, hosted the ceremony, which is now in its 21st year.

“RBC is honoured to support and recognize women entrepreneurs who have taken their passion for an idea and made it into a business from start-up to success,” said Andrea Bolger, executive vice president, Business Financial Services, RBC Royal Bank. “It’s this entrepreneurial spirit that we celebrate at these annual awards – the extraordinary vision, determination and achievements of women entrepreneurs across Canada.”

2013 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Award Winners. L to R: Jennifer Tory, RBC; Diane Francis, National Post; Suzanne West, Black Shire Energy; Judith Bobbitt, Oceans Ltd; Jennifer Nashmi & Victoria Sopik, Kids & Company; Lisa Tuningly, T-Rail Products; Tamara Barker Watson, Whitestone Developments; Carolyn Lawrence, Women of Influence.

The Awards program identifies finalists from three regions across Canada (West, Central, and East) and the 2013 winners call places from Vancouver to Halifax home.  All the nominees share a strong entrepreneurial vision and a relentless passion to pursue their dreams and make something better, in their communities, their industries, and their country.

“On behalf of everyone at this year’s RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards, we are so very proud to highlight the successes of the award recipients,” said Carolyn Lawrence, President and CEO, Women of Influence Inc.  “Each winner is incredibly deserving of all the accolades bestowed upon her and the resulting momentum to propel the growth of her business. These women are incredible role models for future generations.”

The 2013 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards recipients are:

Deloitte Start-Up Award
Lisa Tuningley, President, T-RAIL Products Inc.

Hub HKMB Impact Award
Judith Bobbitt, President, Oceans Ltd.

RBC Momentum Award
Victoria Sopik & Jennifer Nashmi, CEO and Co-Founder / CFO and Co-Founder, Kids & Company

TPH Sustainability Award
Tamara Barker Watson, CEO, Whitestone Developments Ltd.

TELUS Trailblazer Award
Shannon Rogers, President & General Counsel, Global Relay

PROFIT Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship
Suzanne Lee West, President and CEO, Black Shire Energy Inc.

N.S. Women Up For Awards

The Chronicle Herald | 11/01/2013

Three Halifax-area businesswomen are finalists for the annual RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards.

Jacqueline Farrow, president of Jacqueline Farrow Law Office Inc. in St. Margarets Bay, is nominated for the Profit Award for excellence in entrepreneurship.

Jenny Kierstead, founder and president of Breathing Space Yoga Studio, is a finalist for the Telus Trailblazer Award.

Tamara Barker Watson, CEO of Whitestone Developments Ltd., is nominated for the TPH Sustainability Award.

More than 3,000 nominations were received for this year’s award program. Winners will be announced Nov. 27 in Toronto. > See full article