RBC Future Ready 2021 virtual event hosted by the Pilon School of Business

By Margaret Bawtinheimer

On Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021 the Pilon School of Business and RBC hosted the Future Ready 2021 virtual event, with 95 PSB students in attendance. 

The event provided PSB students with the opportunity to participate in an interactive panel discussion focused on the future of work. Following the panel, students engaged in a series of workshops covering  mental wellness, work integrated learning, skills development and networking. 

Welcoming students to the event with video messages were the mayor of Mississauga, Bonnie Crombie, and the mayor of Brampton, Patrick Brown

The event kicked off with an interactive panel discussion, moderated by Sam Effah, RBC Olympian, and panelists Vinay Paramanand, a relationship manager with Futurpreneur Canada, and Kehkashan Basu, Women’s Executive Network award recipient. Engaging the audience discussion on future work, embracing culture and important skill sets, students had the opportunity to submit questions to the panel through Slido. When asked what advice could be given to future graduates, Basu and Paramanand both highlighted that “change is inevitable and it gives you the opportunity to evolve, so take on challenges and turn them into opportunities.” 

“Change is inevitable and it gives you the opportunity to evolve, so take on challenges and turn them into opportunities.” 

Following the panel, students participated in workshops from industry professionals, starting with Ally Geist from Jack.org discussing mental wellness. Geist emphasised the importance of shifting attitudes to better support mental wellness and provided advice on how to “check-in” to recognize the signs of when we might be feeling unwell. Geist also provided takeaways on how we can be there to support others, inviting everyone to take the five minute “Be There” challenge – a great resource to help be there for someone that needs you. 

Brien Convery, inclusive recruitment director with RBC, covered the value of work integrated learning and offered 10 tips to be future-ready. One of the key points in Convery’s list was the importance of building your brand and telling your story in a way that highlights your values and authenticity. 

Don Lam, early talent acquisition coordinator from RBC, hosted an engaging workshop on financial literacy and skills development. With a focus on life hacks and tips for saving, Lam provided a new perspective on SMART goals, with an approach to SET goals: See it. Explain it. Time it. 

The workshop on mentorship and networking was led by Tracy Luca-Huger, director of partnership networks from Mentor Canada, providing valuable advice on networking, and finding and becoming a mentor. Luca-Huger’s key takeaway linked back to Convery’s talk on WIL, in sharing our stories in an authentic way. Also emphasized, was the importance of learning about yourself from others, and what this means to your personal brand. 

Students were invited to share feedback through LinkedIn on their experience at the virtual event. Some of the features from those posts included how valuable the experience was, and the empowerment they felt being part of a community like PSB. 

‘You are hired for your attitude and trained for your skills’

“It was an informative and empowering experience with an impressive team of panelists! I’m so proud to be a part of a community that sees the value in encouraging and supporting their students by providing connections like these!”, Melissa Penny, Business Analytics and Process Management student.

“These events keep getting better … so far it is packed with wisdom, knowledge and valuable experiences … my motivational sentence of the day is ‘You are hired for your attitude and trained for your skills’”, Noel Abingwa, Business Finance student and board chair with the Sheridan Student Union Inc.

Closing remarks were presented by Dr. Anne-Liisa Longmore, dean of the Pilon School of Business, extending a large thank you to everyone involved in the planning and implementation of the RBC Future Ready 2021 virtual event: Nellie Van Bruggen, PSB professor and event team lead; Mamunur Rashid, associate dean, PSB; Marianne Sy-Lucero, PSB program support specialist, event promotion and social media lead; Lesley Rumsby, PSB program support specialist and event registration lead; and Margaret Bawtinheimer, PSB program support specialist and promotion and social media support. In addition to the wonderful and supportive team at RBC: Layma Akbar, banking advisor; Vishan Persaud, senior manager of youth strategy and innovation;  Wanzi Silva, financial advisor; and Neelam Advani, assistant branch manager.

For a full list and details of the RBC Future Ready 2021 panelists and workshop speakers, visit the post in Speaking Biz.


Margaret Bawtinheimer is a program support specialist with the Pilon School of Business.

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