The Skills4Good Spotlight series shines a spotlight on some amazing corporate employees who generously share their time, talent and treasure with nonprofits as they help build resilient communities. We recognize and thank corporations and their employees for their meaningful social impact in strengthening nonprofits who serve our communities.
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is a Skills4Good Client. It is a global financial institution with a purpose-driven, principles-led approach to delivering leading performance and creating value for its clients and communities. It has been named as one of the “Best Workplaces in Canada” for 11 consecutive years.
Skills4Good matched Jodi with the board of North York Women's Centre (NYWC), a nonprofit whose mission is to advance equality and empower women to effect positive change.
Q: Why did RBC engage Skills4Good?
A: Community engagement is a core principle for RBC and a fundamental piece of our Collective Ambition. Our purpose is "Helping clients thrive and communities prosper", and among other ways, this can be achieved by supporting our employees in their community engagement endeavours.
However, it's hard to find the right Board, that matches one's interests, capabilities, and identified areas of development. This is where Skills4Good was able to play such an important intermediary role, linking non-profits in need of qualified Board members, with companies who have engaged and eager employees looking to give back.
We at RBC believe wholeheartedly in the importance and value of community and social impact. Strong employee engagement is also a pillar of our vision.
The Skills4Good board matching program creates a further connection between our employees and their direct community and social impact, allowing RBC to further fulfill on both of these values.
Q: Why did you participate in the Skills4Good program?
A: Community involvement has always been an important part of my life, and something I've grown up valuing and identifying as a responsibility in the most positive way. However, community support slowly fell by the wayside as I had kids and other priorities popped up.
Last year, when I was starting to think about how to get involved with something that would have meaning to me and impact too, I didn't know where to start. It's hard to Google "available nonprofit board positions in Toronto!". The timing was serendipitous when an opportunity was presented to me by RBC to participate in the board matching and training program through Skills4Good.
Q: Why did you choose to serve on the NYWC Board?
A: For me, it was important to support an organization with whom I had a personal interest and passion. I also decided I wanted to support local. And women's interests were at the top of my list. I serve on the board of NYWC, which works to advance equality and empower women to effect positive change. NYWC is committed to being accessible to all women regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, ability and class. This resonates with me tremendously! I was excited to jump at the opportunity to support the cause and this nonprofit!
Q: What is the positive impact of your board service on your personal and professional goals?
A: I feel joy by knowing that my contributions are helping advance equality and empower women to effect positive change. And that we're doing this in my backyard, in Toronto. Having not served on a board before, I am learning protocol, roles and responsibilities of board members and overall governance. We have a diverse board membership, providing me the opportunity to learn from each of the wonderful women with whom I serve.
Q: What invaluable contributions do you bring to the NYWC board?
A: My experience working at a large financial institution, combined with my background in strategy, change management, leadership, and overall strong communication skills, allow me to effectively contribute to the Board. I challenge the status quo, ask probing questions, and collaborate with my fellow board members to ensure we all lead the organization with integrity, responsibility and success.
Q: Would you recommend other professionals to serve on a nonprofit board?
A: Absolutely! I think it's the responsibility of those who are in positions to serve, to serve! It's such a fulfilling societal contribution and allows one to put their professional skills to work in a different capacity and learn new skills and meet new people along the way.
Q: Any other thoughts you wish to share?
A: I found the Skills4Good experience to be incredibly helpful in ensuring I chose a nonprofit to which I could commit and wanted to commit. When you engage in a 3-year board commitment, you want to know you're choosing an organization that means something to you. Skills4Good helped me find such an organization.
Elissa Podolsky, Board Chair of NYWC said:
“Jodi is an active contributor to our board meetings. She also contributes her time supporting various sub-committees and lends her thoughts and ideas to advance our objectives. She has been integral to our board. She has leveraged her experience working for large corporate Canada that’s benefited our board. She’s very engaged and we are fortunate to have her!”
Note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.