RBCx launches second edition of mentorship program for women in tech

women in tech
The previously all-women mentorship roster now includes men.

In the lead-up to International Women’s Day, the Royal Bank of Canada’s technology and innovation arm is launching the second edition of its mentorship program for women in tech.

RBCx Mentor Meetups, first launched in 2023, is a one-on-one virtual mentorship program aimed at helping women in tech receive professional advice from a lineup of RBCx mentors. Last year’s program, which ran from late March until the end of May, saw over 180 women receive a cumulative 175 hours of mentoring from 41 mentors, according to RBCx.

“Women are still underrepresented in the tech industry, and RBCx wants to pave the path for meaningful change.” 

Devon Thompson, RBCx

RBCx managing director of banking Devon Thompson told BetaKit that while there are a few changes with this latest edition of the program, the original goal remains the same. 

“A strong tech ecosystem is built on diversity and inclusivity to foster equitable growth opportunities,” Thompson said. “Women are still underrepresented in the tech industry, and RBCx wants to pave the path for meaningful change.” 

Mentors for this year’s program include senior leaders at RBCx, including managing director Anne No, head of product Lydia Varmazis, and head of marketing and growth Nicole Kelly.

While the program’s first edition connected women mentees with women mentors, this year, the program has added men to its roster of mentors, including Dave Simons, head of technology at RBCx, and Sid Paquette, head of RBCx. 

Thompson said adding men to the mentorship program was “critical” this year, citing a study from LeanIn that found individuals with mentors are more likely to get promoted, yet women are 24 percent less likely than men to get advice from senior leaders. 

The same report found that a sizable share of men are uncomfortable participating in certain professional activities with women, such as mentoring. Thompson said including men in the mentorship lineup is aimed at bridging that gap.

“Now, more than ever, we need men to support women,” Thompson added. “However, we need to embed mentoring, sponsoring, and working one-on-one with women in tech as part of the solution.”

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The Mentor Meetups program offers women mentorship on a wide range of topics, including career and skills development, networking strategies, navigating the tech workplace, and nurturing an entrepreneurial mindset.

This year, the program will allow mentees to sign up across one of three categories: entry-level employees, mid-career employees, and tech entrepreneurs. Thompson noted that in the program’s first edition, the team noticed similarities in the types of mentees that were signing up, and is now using this segmentation “to ensure an even better fit” when matching mentees and mentors.

Mentees will also be able to choose between single meetings or up to three hours of dedicated mentorship over the next two months. The program currently has no capacity limit and is instead first-come, first-serve based on the number of hours available for each mentor. 

RBCx will be accepting registrations on a rolling basis starting today, with sessions set to run from March 8 to April 30.

While this edition of Mentor Meetups is focused on supporting women in Canada’s tech sector, Thompson said the program will be rolled out throughout the year to include other underrepresented groups.

Feature image courtesy Unsplash.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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