Friday, March 23rd

Name and Title:  Vanessa Noga, President of the Association of Women in Finance (“AWF”), Senior Commercial Account Manager & BC Women’s Champion, Royal Bank.

On supporting other women: Many women have proven to be successful and dynamic entrepreneurs and leaders, but we are a long way from equal representation. By supporting, encouraging, coaching, mentoring, sponsoring, and just generally helping women believe in themselves, we will speed up our journey to equality.

How Vanessa helps! It is exciting and rewarding to be President of the AWF. Since 1996, the AWF has been dedicated to supporting the advancement of women in finance.  We provide a forum to discuss issues, a place to exchange and develop business knowledge, and we honour successes.  The AWF Board itself is an important starter board for women, and by expanding our board last year from 8 to 13 members, we’re pleased to help more women launch their board engagement.

The AWF is also a proud member of The Web – An Alliance of Women’s Business Networks, with which we’re working on our3rdcollaborative event:  “Embracing Award Opportunities”. For this event, past award winners and judges will share advice and experiences in an interactive session, to encourage and assist more women to take advantage of award opportunities to profile themselves and/or their business.

I am inspired by my work at RBC, an organization that believes achieving gender equity is both the smart thing and the right thing to do.  I am proud to be our BC Women’s Champion for Commercial Banking, our BC Champion for the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards (“CWEA”), and the local host for the Women Presidents’ Organization (“WPO”).  I represented RBC at the Vancouver WEConnect launch and I’m a Founding Member of W5, a small group of RBC women with great ambitions.I created a presentation on “Demystifying Banking” and delivered it to WPO and Professional Women’s Network (“PWN”) members, and last year, in partnership with the incredible Barb Mowat, we presented BC’s first CWEA Application Workshop.  I was thrilled with this initiative and proud that here in BC we were the first across Canada to include a webinar component in our event to ensure our advice could reach all of BC.

Words to live by: “The fewer things you start, the more things you finish”.  Whoever coined this – thank you!  Yes, women can (and often must) multitask, but we need to set achievable goals and manage within reasonable boundaries.  I try to “set my boundaries” by organizing all my ongoing projects within a set number of folders.  When all my folders are full,it’s time to finish something, delegate something, or (as rarely happens), say no to something – which is how I get myself into trouble!

To keep myself grounded, I try to live by a classic Andy Rooneyism:  “No matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

Advice from Vanessa:  Be a Connector.  When you meet someone new, consider who within your network they would benefit from knowing. Linking others makes for a great first impression, shows genuine interest in their success and can then pave the way for discussing your own interests.

Details for upcoming AWF events:

April 12:  members only AWF Fireside Chat with Fiona Macfarlane, Ernst & Young.  “First, Build Your Book of Business and Do Everything Else Later”

May 14:  2012 AWF PEAK Awards

June 12:  “Save the Date” AWF Real Estate Luncheon

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