CKNW CEO Series with John Montalbano

If waking up at 5am doesn't make you excited, it will when you get to hear John Montalbano speak. John is the CEO of RBC Global Asset Management, the asset management division of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). Coming from an arts degree background, I had never heard of John before except for when I read this article Jen wrote about her interview with him about mentorship.


I was excited to see the CKNW CEO Series come into Networking in Van and to have this opportunity to hear the CEO of a global investment firm speak. This is this first time I've been able to attend the CKNW CEO Series and I couldn't have been more excited to attend. It did not disappoint. The CEO series is a live pretape interview between Simi Sara and a CEO from the business community. John Montalbano was already on my radar as a passionate man and his charisma just radiated from him during his interview.  As the CEO, John manages over 1400 people and $3.5 billion in assets for individuals and endowments. His days typically start at 5 or 5:30, or really whenever the days events and markets need him. In his business, and in life I think,  he suggested that you have to adapt to what's happening in the moment, things won't wait for you.


One of the biggest and resounding messages that stuck with me during this interview is that you can be a good person and win. He pointed out the value in having a solid moral compass and solid work ethic.

He also noted that millennials are the most engaged group he has seen in over 20 years. They care about society, ethics, sustainability,  and contributing to the world. This was amazing to hear from such a well established executive. These sentiments ring true for how I feel as I enter the workforce.

Here are a few more gems you can take away:

You can never know too much. Know as much as you can and feed your intellect and curiosity.

People who are willing to acknowledge mistakes are the most effective people. 

Become engaged in your organization. Don't just take responsibility for your job, take responsibility for the whole organization. 

Surround yourself with people you can relate to and that you want to emulate. 

Use your current role as a spring board for your next one. Be happy that you are in your position but not with where you are (keep striving). 

This event was just what I needed first thing on a Tuesday morning as I head into another week of my first post university job search. Be sure to check out the next CKNW CEO segment with Wayne Drury. You'll meet some amazing people in attendance and hear an inspiring story.  I will be at a couple of the others ones, so be sure to say hi!

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