Paving the way for women in the tech industry with Nazia Shahrin
Nazia Shahrin, Senior Director, Strategy and Delivery for Regulatory and Data Initiatives, Adjunct Professor at The University of Toronto and a Board Member at Social Planning Toronto, aims to transform functions through technology and data while also helping clients build the life they want.
"I began my career in RBC Capital Markets, supporting the trading floor back in 2006. I got into RBC straight out of University," she says. "I never anticipated that I would build my career at a bank when I was studying Software Engineering at the University of Toronto. However, once I joined RBC, the products, culture, and the exciting nature of technology in Capital Markets made me fall in love with what I did."
Sharing that one of her main reasons for getting into the financial industry was her university degree, Shahrin explains that she gets excited by seeing innovation, data, transformation and how digital is the go-to strategy now.
"The more interesting question is, why I never left the Financial Industry. Banking traditionally has had a reputation of being stuffy. The image of a man in a suit is almost synonymous with what a banker looks like," she shares. "That has been rapidly shifting. Banking is now a place where innovation, data, transformation and digital are the go-to strategies, and it has all been centred around the client. A bank provides an incredible number of services to Canadians. They help us buy our first home, get a loan to start our business, help us manage our savings for retirement. To our clients, banks are helping us build the life we want. The experience that technology and data enable to help clients is the main reason I have not left. The journey has just started."
For Shahrin, it's essential to highlight women in the financial industry.
"When you think of a Bank CEO, you never picture a woman. The reason for that is that currently only 3 percent of the CEOs in the Financial Services are women, and according to Deloitte, the proportion of women in leadership roles within financial services firms was 21.9 percent as of 2019," she says. "We have been improving over the years but are still nowhere near being on equal footing in the Financial Industry. Moreover, that number becomes even lower for women in racialized communities."
When asked what her short-and long-term goals were, Shahrin had this to say.
"I don't have a business plan but a life plan," she explains. "Leave this world in a better place than I came into it, and my passion for advocating for Women in Tech and paving the way for that mission is a critical part of what I want to achieve in life."