Christina Ho: Stepping Out of Our Comfort Zones
Ayesha Zubair | Senior Product Manager, Learning Strategy and Innovation

Setting Me Up for Success 

Since she started at RBC, Ayesha Zubair has learned that “when RBC says it is going to do the right thing, it does the right thing. The bank goes above and beyond to ensure fairness for everyone involved.”
Ayesha began her career at the bank as an HR intern. Thinking she might be viewed as just one of thousands of temporary interns, she could not believe that she was able to pilot a mentorship program for employees with disabilities. To this day, she feels this has been her greatest contribution to the bank.

She created a branch of REACH, the bank’s Employee Resource Group for those with disabilities, in Toronto’s Wellington buildings. In her research, she realized that people with disabilities can often get “parking lot jobs” — entry level positions from which they don’t experience any progression. So Ayesha and her team decided to start a mentorship program by matching six junior employees with disabilities with senior staff, just to see how it would work.

“It was really successful,” says Ayesha. “Those relationships led to career moves and promotions. Following up with those people a year or two later, I know that they were still in touch with their mentor, which is really rewarding.”

In terms of her own career, Ayesha has experienced nothing but progression. “You’re not limited in your career here,” she says. “RBC is really good at encouraging internal mobility and recognizing transferable skills.” 

While she was still an intern, Ayesha became interested in analytics. She recognized that the Sourcing team didn’t have any metrics in place to tell its story. So she created some, planning to show her work to her boss and just take it on as an additional task. Her boss had other plans, promoting her to a permanent employee working on that project. 

After six years of working in HR, Ayesha wanted a new challenge and joined the Strategic Transformation Services (STS) team. She loved it. She says the group felt like a management consulting firm and gave her the opportunity to explore different parts of RBC. “I started to understand what is happening across the bank — our challenges, how we make money — things that I don’t know if I would have been exposed to,” she says.

Beyond the opportunities and support she has experienced professionally, Ayesha feels cared for on a personal level. Starting a new job can be challenging for anyone but for Ayesha, who uses a wheelchair to get around, things like physical access to different parts of the building can be an added challenge. When she was hired, she was told that the bank would look after any accommodations she needed.  At first, she didn’t believe much would be done, especially because she wasn’t a full-time employee, but the bank quickly proved her wrong.

The bank supplied Ayesha with equipment, like an extra laptop so she didn’t have to transport her laptop when working from home. But they also made permanent changes to the Wellington building. She couldn’t reach the buttons to open the door, so that was fixed. In the bathroom, she had difficulty reaching the tap to wash her hands, so that was changed. “On the third floor, where I worked, there’s one tap in the women’s bathroom that faces a different direction,” says Ayesha. “That’s because I was there. I think that’s really cool.”

For Ayesha, these accommodations are the ultimate demonstration of being cared for and invested in as a person, not just as an employee. “RBC cares about what’s important to me and what I need to succeed. And to this day, I really admire that,” she says. “There’s never been a doubt in my mind that whatever I need to succeed in my role and in my life, I will have that. That’s what keeps me here and how I know they care.”

Christina Ho

Ayesha Zubair 

Senior Product Manager, Learning Strategy and Innovation