CIBC is a Founding Partner of #movethedial and has long been a champion of gender-balanced leadership both within and outside the organization.
We spoke to Nora Curic, Senior Director, Business Management & Enablement, about her recent appointment as Chair of the CIBC Women’s Network. Read on to find out who moved the dial for her and her advice for anyone looking to set up a women’s network in their own organization!
How would Nora describe the CIBC Women’s Network?
“We’re a network of engaged employees who are looking to advance and empower women and unlock their full potential through an inclusive workforce.”
They do this through a number of initiatives including connecting emerging women leaders with sponsors, supplying toolkits for their leaders to bring into teams within their 45,000 strong employee force, and leveraging discussions through their social intranet platform.
Nora describes the agile operating model the network has established as a very “organic” process and is thrilled to see the momentum and energy behind it. She was officially named as the Chair of the Women’s Network this month but has long been a part of the volunteer-driven initiative. “I’ve been really fortunate to be in this position and I want to continue to progress and keep moving that dial.”
Having played an integral role in the growth of the women’s network, Nora shares her four tips for people who are interested in setting up a network in their own organization.
1. Start with a plan
We spent a lot of time developing a very focused vision with key objectives and we measure ourselves against this. Identifying the KPIs that you will use to measure your success is critical.
2. Fresh thinking
When you’re looking at volunteer resource groups, they have a bit of a cycle and you need fresh thinking. After a year’s cycle of contribution, we’ll invite new members to come in and out.
3. Engage men
We focus very strongly on engaging men and creating a sense of advocacy and “ally-ship”, especially at the senior levels.
4. Be agile
Depending on the size of your organization, you need to be prepared for a lot of growth. Because our network is geographically diverse, we moved into an agile program model, with clear leadership accountabilities. Our program management team, led by Martha Currie, Consultant, Digital Strategy, designed our operating model in a way to ensure our projects are delivered with very clear accountability from all levels.
Sixteen years ago, when Nora was job searching, CIBC stood out to her as an “innovative and collaborative” company. Her first job there involved recruiting for banking centres within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Nora gradually built up her experience in talent acquisition, progressing into more senior roles leading CIBC’s National Recruitment Practices and taking on a HR Business Partner role.
Nora acknowledges there have been many people who have championed her career but that Aayaz Pira stands out as a strong sponsor. He is the Senior Vice President, CIBC Digital & Direct Banking. He’s also the Co-Executive Sponsor of the CIBC Women’s Network and played an important role in encouraging Nora to run for Chair.