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Karen Irvine

Karen's Biography

Karen Irvine completed her Honours Bachelors of Business Administration (BBA) degree at Wilfrid Laurier University. Upon graduation, she kick-started her career in Technology & Operations at RBC in 2013, through the Global Technology Infrastructure (GTI) Associate Program. Her passion for both business and IT collided in the Relationship Management team and continues in her current team, Enterprise Security Access Management. Karen is an active volunteer within Technology & Operations as a mentor in the GTI Associate Program, representative on the GTI Employee Engagement Committee and a volunteer in the Junior Pipeline work stream for Women in Technology & Operations (WiTO).

Manager, Planning & Initiatives – Enterprise Security Access Management – Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) – Toronto

From the planning perspective, I manage financial forecasts and complete cross-functional resource planning against all available security staff globally. Managing initiatives involves coordinating the intake of all internal and business driven initiatives and projects. This includes developing integrated initiative plans and roadmaps, drafting communications, and managing performance against them. The foundation to both managing the planning and initiatives is really building strong relationships across the entire organization – both inside and outside of Technology & Operations.

Contrary to popular perception, my organization is the second largest IT organization in the country. The core competencies of our organization include performing traditional commercial and personal financial transactions, which are facilitated by a wide array of technologies. Today, we’re playing a role in trying to establish standards with emerging technologies (like Blockchain), partnering with startups (Bionym) and helping develop talent throughout the Canadian IT Ecosystem by partnering with Canadian Academic Institutions, hosting hackathons and participating in student communities.

My favourite part about my job is the continuous learning. With having an education and background in business, I find it fascinating to learn about ever-changing technology on a daily basis. I am working in an area that is outside of my comfort zone – but that is what makes each day exciting! I am able to provide a different perspective which is appreciated and valued amongst my team.

Recently, I have been selected to join the Privileged Access Management program. This program is driven by an important area of focus within information security. I developed dynamic executive dashboards and reporting, which empowers others to make strategic decisions. It’s extremely exciting to participate on a high-profile project that has an impact across the entire organization.

My dream for women in IT in the next 25 years is to be increasingly prominent and successful in leadership roles. Strides have been made, but there is still room to improve. To support the advancement of women, I am an active member of the RBC Women in Technology & Operations employee resource group. Specifically, I work with a team to coordinate mentoring circles for females across Technology & Operations. This provides employees with access to senior leaders, which provides insight on careers, how to overcome challenges etc. I am passionate about building up strong women in IT, and ensuring they have access to opportunities throughout their careers.

 

 

 

 

Through outreach and professional development activities, research, partnerships, thought leadership and online initiatives, we work with industry and academia to educate on the value of diversity for innovation, to inspire women to thrive and to celebrate the contributions of women in science and engineering.
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