30 years and counting: my best moments (and advice to succeed)

Author: Matthew Varey - Senior Vice President, Head of Career Sales Force at RBC
Read Time : 4 minutes

“ The world will continue to digitize, but you can’t code empathy ”

Everyone has definitive moments in their life and career, so does Matthew Varey. He helps lead the Investment Retirement Planning, Mortgage Specialist, and Group Advantage teams with over 3,000 employees who touch the lives of 500,000 Canadians annually. As part of RBC’s Your Best Moments series, we spoke with Matthew to discuss his career journey.

Describe your typical day at RBC.
When I’m on the road (from Newfoundland to Yellowknife, from Fort Erie to Vancouver Island, and everywhere in between), I’m interacting with staff, clients, and centers of influence who entrust us with their valued partners. Here at home, I’m humbled to work with an incredibly talented team of people (from technology to strategy, and from compliance to leadership) stewarding a $62 billion business.

They say you’re judged by the company you keep, and I feel like I won the lottery. Your culture, like your DNA, is like your immune system. It keeps you strong.

Can you tell us about your career journey?
I grew-up in a caring household with a focus on strong character and self-awareness. One of my first jobs was painting houses as an 18 year-old. One day, I was unknowingly painting the house of a senior executive at a brokerage firm. During a break, he asked: “Why is a kid painting my house reading The Wall Street Journal?” I told him of my dream to work on Bay street, and he said: “Well, any kid who’s reading the Wall Street Journal on a Friday at 5 is probably telling the truth!” I still know him to this day.

I’ve been at RBC for 31 years. We’ve been lucky to have been “born on third base,” so to speak, on the tall shoulders of an institutional giant called RBC. And as we set our collective minds to continue on this path of greatness, we do it with purpose.

What about your very own Best Moment at RBC?
Every day, I get to deliver purposeful work with clients and a dedicated team of intelligent, passionate, and caring individuals who have a cumulative drive to win the right way. It doesn’t get much better than that.

What will the world of work look like in the next decade?
As Warren Buffet likes to say: “If you’re not a little uncertain in today’s world, you’re not too smart.” Even though our industry hasn’t built a crystal ball, teams at the Royal Bank excel at harnessing change.

We don’t predict, we prepare; and we’re aware that the future will be rife with a tremendous amount of change. And as a digitally enabled relationship bank, we know that “Speed to human” (and trusting a human) means everything in today’s world. People feel isolated. Empathy is critical. Yes, the world will continue to digitize, but you can’t code empathy.

Any advice for someone considering a career evolution in Financial Planning?
Don’t fight your intuition, and do follow your heart. Choose your culture wisely: you gain self-esteem and confidence when you focus on purposeful work in an empathetic environment where people play for the emblem on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.

What’s your favorite quote to live by? 
I’m often saying “The world is changed by your actions, not your opinions, so do good things.” 

Ready to experience your career’s Best Moments? Join our Financial Planning team at jobs.rbc.com/FinancialPlanning