RBC Mosaic is an Employee Resource Group (ERG) dedicated to enabling cultural diversity within RBC and the communities it serves. The ERG promotes, engages and enables success for visible minorities, non-visible minorities and newcomers to Canada – as well as allies looking to learn more.
RBC Mosaic began as a group initiated by a handful of RBC employees who wanted to offer support and promote a sense of belonging among members of minority groups. Today, it has more than 4,000 members across ten chapters in Canada and welcomes a broad base – including visible minorities, non-visible minorities and others. ““While Mosaic is mainly focused on individuals who identify within minority groups, we also attract many individuals who don’t identify, but want to learn about different cultures,” says Ramin Fazel, National Chair of RBC Mosaic.
With a mission to foster a culture of diversity and inclusion at RBC, Mosaic invests in the personal and professional development of employees. A highly effective and functioning ERG, RBC Mosaic is structured into three pillars: Promote, Enable and Engage.
The Promote pillar aims to deliver material that enables employees of minority groups to bring their whole selves to work through personal development; the Enable pillar leads professional development activities and facilitates access to mentorship opportunities to help build member capabilities; and the Engage pillar ensures effective onboarding, coordinated communication and data analysis to identify insights and national budget management.
Since joining RBC more than 15 years ago, Ramin Fazel, Regional Vice President for downtown Toronto, has been part of RBC Mosaic. Having immigrated to Canada from Afghanistan and lived in three different countries, she knows what it feels like to be an outsider and has a full appreciation for the impact of support. “Knowing you’re not alone makes such a big difference in your sense of belonging,” she says. Supporting other minorities gives her a personal sense of accomplishment as well, particularly when she hears stories of people who realize the amount of support available and how it can make their lives easier.
Weiwei Li, deputy co-chair for the Enable pillar, joined for a similar reason, as she remembers the help and guidance she received as a newcomer to Canada looking for work – she feels compelled to help other newcomer and minority employees and community members. “I joined Mosaic because I want to ensure our workplace is inclusive. I felt it really aligned with my purpose,” she says. She is particularly passionate about leading events such as the ‘Sharing Your Story’ contest, which invites minority employees to share their career stories. “I feel we need to become more vocal leaders, to share our experiences, to elevate the voices of people who might feel less included and to make it possible for minorities to believe there is more than one model for success.”
Christian Ndianabo is deputy co-chair for the Engage pillar and joined RBC Mosaic out of a passion for diversity, inclusion and equity. He finds the ERG a tremendous development opportunity, giving him the chance to promote diversity through various awareness-raising activities. Having joined RBC 14 years ago, he became involved with RBC Mosaic a little later in his career. “During my career at RBC, I have had the opportunity to hold various positions, which have helped me not only grow in the organization but also on a personal level,” he says. “Joining RBC Mosaic was a great opportunity to expand my horizons but also impact and influence several newcomers, helping them navigate our beautiful organization.”
Kiran Sandhu, deputy co-chair of the Promote pillar, quickly recognized RBC as an organization that puts people first. Even from the beginning, she found RBC Mosaic as a place where she felt safe to bring diverse thoughts and opinions to the table. “Through the Mosaic ERG I have had experiences that pushed me to grow as an individual,” she says. “In addition to developing leadership, project management and public speaking skills, Mosaic has provided me with a platform to bring my ideas to the table. Today as deputy co-chair I am able to continue making an impact both internally and externally through the many initiatives we lead.”
Connecting employees and the community
The work RBC Mosaic does – through events, partnerships, storytelling and data analysis – helps build inclusion, equity and awareness both within RBC and the community it serves.
For example, during the most recent Asian Heritage Month, Mosaic partnered with Ascend Canada to host a series of events to celebrate the collective success of RBC Asian employees. Choosing the theme #Declareit, the event aimed to inspire Asian colleagues to speak up, declare what they aspire to achieve and become comfortable bringing their full selves to work. More than 600 RBC employees across different regions and platforms joined the various events, 25 nationwide stories were submitted for the inaugural Asian Heritage Month ‘Share Your Story’ contest and seven executives shared their thoughts on #Declareit via video.
On June 3rd, RBC Mosaic partnered with another ERG, RBC Reach, to host a panel discussion recognizing National AccessAbility week and Canadian multiculturalism Day. RBC employee panelists shared their stories about how cultural experiences can shape perceptions of disabilities. “The event was for and about individuals who have a disability or care for someone with a visible or invisible disability – and how it’s different when you come from a diverse background,” explains Fazel. “For example, we heard from a caregiver who has a son with autism and is from a South Asian community. She shared that disability isn’t really talked about openly in her community and explained how she became a change maker in that space.” Fazel adds that hearing people’s stories make a big difference for others with similar experiences and raises awareness of the resources available to them.
RBC Mosaic’s flagship program is a decade-long partnership with the Toronto Region Employment Council (TRIEC). Together, RBC and TRIEC support events and programs that help newcomers find meaningful employment in Canada. One of their longstanding programs, the TRIEC Mentoring Program (TMP) helps job-ready newcomers with career advice through resume building, interview preparation and networking opportunities. More than 1,000 newcomers have benefited from the time and expertise donated by RBC employees.
“Through the partnership, we match employees and mentees who are newcomers. Our employees provide insights, experiences and stories with newcomers and share their career journeys. It’s a valuable mentorship program for newcomers and also allows RBC employees to develop their leadership skills and give back to the community,” says Li.
Every year, Fazel and her deputy co-chairs undergo a strategic planning session to talk through their mission and determine if it needs to evolve or if they need to approach anything differently. “We look at the three pillars and challenge whether our work still resonates with the team and if we need to make changes,” explains Fazel. “We get the broader team involved and get their feedback with the intent of ensuring our pillars and mission resonate with them.”
Looking ahead, one area the team is exploring is working more closely with different ERGs, having had success with collaborations this year. “RBC Mosaic can be seen as a bit of an umbrella ERG because our mission is pretty broad,” says Fazel. “A lot of different groups can identify with what we’re doing, so we can be an amplifier for other ERGs and help them build awareness, particularly given we have a larger reach than most other ERGs.”
With sophisticated onboarding and communication tactics in place, RBC Mosaic continues to add to its audience and encourages anyone to join – whether a minority, newcomer or someone looking to build skills and knowledge in leadership, diversity and community.
“Joining ERGs give you a great opportunity to connect with different people across the organization. It also develops your ability to communicate effectively, build leadership skills and your impact and influence capabilities in a very safe environment,” says Fazel. “That’s the beauty of ERGs at RBC.”
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