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Jass Aujla, Talent Integration Director, Technology & Operations
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Jass Aujla loved reading as a child and developed a deeper passion for writing in high school. Encouraged by her parents to pursue business over journalism in university, Jass never lost her love of writing – even if she did put it on hold for a while. 

Jass’ career has grown during her 25 years with RBC and she’s celebrated promotions along the way. She used to treat herself by buying something special, but one year she decided instead to take a trip to Italy for a writing retreat. The retreat guidelines encouraged her to start a manuscript, which she made progress on during her daily work commute to-and-from on the GO Train. While she had started numerous writing projects in the past, she had trouble seeing them through, until now. 
Personal passion: Creative writing​​​
“One of the things that changed is, in the past, I wasn’t open about sharing my personal goals and dreams with my colleagues at work,” she explains, “but at RBC, we are encouraged to bring our whole selves to work, and colleagues and leaders are interested in hearing from employees.

By sharing my aspirations with my team, it felt like they were in it with me – like there was someone else holding me accountable.” 

When Jass’s debut novel, Next of Twin launched, many of her colleagues attended her book launch event. “I was surprised with the turnout – there were individuals who I hadn’t spoken to in years, but they knew I had been working on bringing my book-baby into the world. Seeing them show up was very moving – not just to see the support, but to feel it,” she says. 
Personal passion: gender diversity in triathlon
Bianca Fernandez’ first triathlon was life-changing, and she wants other women and non-binary individuals to be able to have that same experience.

“Between the mental health benefits, the sense of accomplishment and the triathlon community, it’s an amazing privilege,” she says.

But women, particularly women of colour, face many barriers to entry. That’s why Bianca co-founded the charity Fund Her Tri UK – to support women and non-binary individuals with their first triathlon through sponsorships and mentorships. The group’s goal is to increase female participation in the sport from 10-25 per cent to 50 per cent.

“Triathlon is a very male-dominated sport and we want to change that. Through our sponsorship and mentorship programs, where we match women with another experienced female triathlete to give them support, we ensure women try and stay in the sport,” Bianca explains.

RBC colleagues were the first to donate once Fund Her Tri UK was approved as an official charity. To gather even more support, Bianca’s colleague in Europe encouraged her to look into the RBC Communities Together Fund (CTF).
Bianca Fernandez (second from right)
Director, Electronic and  Algorithmic Trading Risk
London, UK
CTF combines RBC funding with team volunteering to support pressing needs in the local communities where RBC employees live and work. Through the Fund, employees gather a team of at least three RBCers, identify a need in their community, apply for a grant and roll up their sleeves in support of a local organization.

Bianca got approval to use the £1500 grant to help redesign the organisation’s website and develop fundraising materials.

“In the UK there are lots of government sponsored funds and grants you can apply to, but the applications are  so lengthy and time-consuming, ,” she explains. “With the RBC Communities Together Fund, the application took 10 minutes to complete, they came back with a few questions, and we were approved within a few short weeks.”

CTF’s support has enabled Bianca and Fund Her Tri UK to give more women the opportunity to participate and experience that same life-changing feeling that Bianca fondly remembers.

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