Photo courtesy of RBC Wealth Management.
Welcome to I Love My Job, hosted by Fairygodboss President and Co-founder Romy Newman. In this edition, we sat down with Christie Grandbois, CFP®, the Director of Technology Engagement & Adoption at RBC Wealth Management. In this role, she leads the technology user experience and deployment for RBC Wealth Management — U.S., primarily for the firm’s Private Client Group and corporate employees.
Grandbois doesn’t have a typical background for someone in her position, but thanks to RBC Wealth Management’s culture of investing in the development of its people, she found her way to the role. In addition to the opportunities to grow professionally, Grandbois says she loves how the company has always supported her personally and helped her maintain balance through many different stages in her life.
Grandbois started at RBC Wealth Management just as she was beginning a family. She quickly realized that RBC Wealth Management is a firm full of caring people who will “always make it work,” states Grandbois. As a result, employees can feel comfortable prioritizing their personal lives and maintaining a work-life balance because everyone knows that “if something comes up” coworkers will always step in and “help take care of things,” explains Grandbois. “To have that kind of relief… That takes a lot of stress off.”
That was even more so the case during the pandemic, RBC Wealth Management doubled-down on their supportive culture and focused a great deal on mental health. As Grandbois puts it, leaders at the company spent a lot of time asking themselves, “how do we help make sure people are taking care of themselves and provide them with [necessary] resources.”
In the following video, Grandbois shares more details about working at RBC Wealth Management and her best tips for other women looking to join the company. We also share a few abbreviated highlights from this video discussion in the following article.
I have been working at RBC Wealth Management for about 19 years now, which is a really long time in my opinion. My current role is Director of Technology Engagement & Adoption. And, interestingly, I started off at a nonprofit working in finance, became a financial advisor for several years and then joined RBC Wealth Management. And I still chuckle at the fact that technology is in my title because I do not have a technology background.
My departments include technology training, which is pretty straightforward: we go out and help teach everyone how to use technology. Another department I have is learning design and development, which is about how we embed training within systems to make it easy to learn if it's a task or to give a tip or whatever it may be.
And then, a third group that really has evolved over time is around user experience. So we sit in on projects and we talk about ‘how should this be built’? I kind of make a joke: ‘Dumb it down to me. I was a financial advisor, so make this easy to use, use the right terms.’ We built out a team of people who actually have experience on that side, who can sit with IT and talk about how we build out projects.
It is really fun to learn that side of the business and be able to work on that.
So, for the past few years, we have made a significant investment in our technology and really have been in a transformation...
One thing we're working on right now that we're going to be introducing to our advisors early next year is a client reporting platform. We always make a joke that people would call and maybe a client wants to know about their asset allocation or performance on one of their portfolios. And we would talk about the weather while we waited a minute for a report to open. With this platform, everything’s at their fingertips.
The whole goal is how do we make it easier for our advisors and their support staff to work with our clients, get information right away and be more efficient, so they can really focus on the important things they're doing, which is helping our clients meet their goals.
There are a couple of things that always come to mind when I think of our culture. Number one, I would say I'm a risk taker, even though I don't necessarily jump out of airplanes or anything. But, RBC Wealth Management always seemed fiscally conservative to me.
And, when I was younger, I was like, ‘oh, come on, let us take some more risks’. But then, when things happen, like in 2008-2009 with the financial crash, RBC Wealth Management was not in the news. RBC Wealth Management did not need to be bailed out. And I look back, and then I look at the practices since then and around fiscal conservatism and it's really mattered. Reputationally, it's made a big difference when you look at RBC Wealth Management...
The other part I like about RBC Wealth Management is that you'll hear words like diversity and inclusion — this is what we stand by. I see it every day in how we hire and how we go out and recruit people to consider joining RBC Wealth Management. A lot of people get nervous when they hear the words ‘finance’ or ‘technology’. I think we need people from all different backgrounds to be successful — and all different viewpoints. Again, I don't have a technology background, I do have finance, but it works.
I have so many things I want to say, but I’ll go with the first being the people. I love the people I work with. I have a great group of people, not only within my department, but relationships just across the organization… With the pandemic, it really has made a difference. All of a sudden, you don't have those conversations in person; you're not sharing pictures at all. I will tell you that, at first, we missed it so much and that showed how deep of relationships we had. And then we all started figuring out ways to do that: we're popping up pictures on WebEx or taking our laptops and showing our animals… It is so important!
The other thing I would mention about RBC Wealth Management is work-life balance and what it provides us in all different stages of life.
RBC Wealth Management afforded me the opportunity to have different experiences. My advice would be, number one, show up and work hard, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. And then, don’t be afraid to take a risk or a new opportunity... I was able to follow what interested me by raising my hand for projects and by being willing to take on a little extra, whatever it may be, to then have those opportunities come...
[RBC Wealth Management] is a firm that really invests in its people. And provides these opportunities.
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Check out other posts in the ‘I Love My Job’ series:
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