Natalie Koven knew what she wanted when she entered the workforce after completing her business degree. She wanted to join an organization that encouraged teamwork, provided fulfilling career opportunities, fostered a culture of support and mentorship and enabled her to give back to the community. She considers herself fortunate enough to have found all of that.
Natalie began working with Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) in 2009. She progressed from a Personal Account Manager to a Business Account Manager before taking on her first leadership role as a Branch Manager. She is currently a Commercial Account Manager focused on supporting mid market businesses in the Retail and Consumer Goods industry.
Some believe working at a large multinational financial institution could result in relative professional obscurity due to the sheer volume of employees. However, Natalie considers her experience at RBC to be just the opposite; from the outset she was mentored and encouraged to strive for success – both on a professional and personal level.
Through the support network at RBC, Natalie was able to further her academic and professional endeavours with the pursuit of her MBA. “I’m incredibly fortunate to work with such a supportive and community-minded organization,” says Koven. “Yes, I was able to earn my MBA. But I’ve also had the opportunity to participate in community outreach through the Junior Achievement Program – something RBC not only encourages, but facilitates during business hours.” The congruency of her personal and professional values with RBC’s brought back a familiar saying a colleague once shared, “always stay with an employer as long as your values align with that employer.”
Natalie is quick to recognize her professional journey has been different from other women. “Even as I was preparing for maternity leave, senior executives were helping plan my career trajectory upon my return. Unlike other employers who treat pregnancy as something of a liability, my position and security within the company wouldn’t suffer and my career advancement wouldn’t be hindered.”
Asked about career advice for women looking to gain traction in a professional setting, Natalie mentions the value of networking, “We need to recognize and appreciate the people around us who can help – every single successful person I know has told me that they could never have done it alone.” One of the tenants of Natalie’s working philosophy is maintaining an inclusive environment based on learning all she can from colleagues across the bank. “I try and meet with three people every month for a coffee or conversation, just to learn about their experiences and expand my point of view. I believe that connecting with people provides perspective, both in a professional and personal sense, and that perspective can be invaluable to you.”
Emphasizing the value of expanding horizons, Natalie believes it’s imperative – especially for women in the workplace – to “view ambition and success as desirable and achievable.” She says, “exposing ourselves to new people and new experiences can have a profound effect on how we see ourselves and the confidence we have.” She observes, “sometimes the biggest obstacles we face are ones we unnecessarily place on ourselves. We all have amazing skills – transferrable skills – that we can leverage to be competitive and empower one another to be great.”
Outside of work, Natalie spends her free time with her husband and young child, visiting with family and friends and is often active in the community.