Inside RBC's Indigenous Mentoring Experience (RIME)

Ten Thousand Coffees Team -
June 11, 2024

10KC Program Innovator Series: Kayla Neveu-Gordon of RBC drives inclusion through Indigenous mentoring programs

June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada, a time to celebrate the heritage, diverse cultures, and contributions of Indigenous peoples. As a powerful advocate for Indigenous voices within the workplace, Kayla Neveu-Gordon, Manager, Indigenous Talent on the Global D&I team at RBC, is our featured 10KC Program Innovator.

Kayla, who is of mixed ancestry, both Ojibwe and French-Canadian, and comes from Northwestern Ontario, leads RBC's Indigenous Mentoring Experience (RIME). Her work exemplifies the power of mentorship to create a more inclusive workplace. 

Read on to discover Kayla's insights and how RBC champions Indigenous employees through RIME by: 

  • Listening and collaborating: RIME's success stems from co-creation with Indigenous employees, ensuring the program aligns with their needs and goals.
  • Metrics matter: RIME demonstrates the value of tracking success with both quantitative and qualitative metrics. Key achievements include:some text
    • 95% would recommend the program to a colleague
    • 100% of Indigenous participants matched according to their preferences
    • 100% satisfaction with cross-cultural learning sessions
  • Tech as an Enabler: By partnering with 10KC, Kayla has streamlined RIME's delivery, enabling the connection of more people and gaining valuable data for continuous improvement.

Let's start with the inspiration. Can you share what prompted the creation of the RBC Indigenous Mentoring Experience (RIME)? 

Kayla: For more than 25 years, RBC has worked with Indigenous employees, clients, stakeholders, and communities to help build a more prosperous and collaborative future together.

In 2017, RBC Global Diversity and Inclusion hosted a “Diversathon.” Indigenous and non-Indigenous employees came together and they were tasked to come up with fresh ideas to inspire more Indigenous talent to choose RBC as their employer of choice. At the end of the day, judges selected the top ideas and a mentorship program was one of those selected, specifically RIME which is what the team had come up with. 

After a few follow-up sessions with the team post event,  RIME was officially introduced as a new program within RBC. 

What were your original goals with RIME, and have they evolved since its inception? 

Kayla: RIME’s original goals were to strengthen the professional support system for Indigenous employees and increase cross-cultural awareness for non-Indigenous employees. These continue to be the goals of the program.

A few years ago, we partnered with Ten Thousand Coffees (10KC). RIME continues to provide employees with an opportunity to connect with the Indigenous community at RBC, for cross-cultural learning and also for career conversations. 

Each cohort is 4 months long, and matches are encouraged to meet once a month. The program is open to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous employees for one-on-one mentoring. 

RIME also provides the opportunity for employees to attend small group sessions that are led by our Royal Eagles ERG leaders on truth and reconciliation topics using the 10KC Office Hours feature.

The continued aim of the RIME program is that it builds meaningful mentorship relationships between employees.

Easily scale mentorship programs and boost measurable DEI impact with 10KC’S DEI Mentoring Solution: LEARN MORE

Could you elaborate on the strategies used to recruit both mentors and mentees within RBC for your Indigenous mentoring experience?

Kayla: We connect with all members of the Royal Eagles, RBC’s Indigenous employee resource group. There are several regional Royal Eagles chapters who we send out a call out to, sharing the program and sign up information. 

And then we've also connected with specific business partners who are interested in engaging with the program, along with leveraging  various internal employee connection hubs to share information and increase awareness.  

I’ve also asked Indigenous leaders for recommendations on mentors, and they have their own networks within RBC that are also helpful  to leverage!

How do you actively cultivate and maintain strong engagement among RBC leaders to consistently champion the Indigenous community?

Kayla: At the beginning, the RBC senior leaders who were on the judging panel of the Diversathon were the catalysts to push the program to the forefront and endorse the idea. From there, leaders of the Royal Eagles ERG, and members of the Global D&I team brought the program to life and continue to be huge supporters of the program, sharing with others and driving participation and awareness.

Can you share a specific milestone or achievement of RIME that highlights its positive impact?

Kayla: A big achievement of the RIME program has been our incorporation of small group sessions, which utilize the Office Hour feature. In our most recent cohort for small group sessions where employees can learn and discuss with our Royal Eagles, these had a satisfaction rating of 100%, which I was delighted to see. And we also had over 100 participants and Office Hours over the past 4 cohorts.

What quantitative and qualitative metrics does RIME use to measure its success? What specific results are you most proud of?

Kayla: Part of the success of partnering with 10KC is the ability to see qualitative and quantitative results from each mentoring cohort, which helps us see where we are doing well and where we can improve or enhance. 

In the past 4 cohorts, 95% would recommend the program to a colleague. I think I'm most proud of this as an indication that participants are satisfied with their experience in the program and the perceived value of RIME. Also, 100% of Indigenous participants have been matched according to their matching preference. 

This is important to me, because we want our Indigenous employees to be in a match that they feel adds value and helps them meet their  professional and personal goals. 

A lot of our Indigenous participants come back to the next new cohort and sometimes to the next one after that!  It makes me really happy to see that they want to keep using the program to build relationships with other colleagues, whether that be Indigenous or non-Indigenous for cross-cultural learning or career conversations. This shows their eagerness to continue learning and expanding their professional network at RBC. Some previous mentees have even become mentors, which is really exciting to see.

See how 10KC’s Data Dashboard helps measure mentorship program performance: LEARN MORE

Are there any notable success stories or testimonials from participants in your Indigenous mentoring program that you can share?

Kayla: There've been numerous success stories from the program that participants have shared about their experience. I've heard that participants have shared their experiences being Indigenous with each other and have learned more about the culture which they weren’t aware of prior to joining the program. 

Professional development opportunities are also provided and people have learned about other areas of RBC, or more about the area that they work on, from someone new. 

Spotlighting our Royal Eagles ERG leaders in Office Hours and small group sessions has been a game changer. Employees have shared how great it is to hear stories from the Royal Eagles on their personal experiences being Indigenous and hearing firsthand how resilient Indigenous people are and the intricacies that make up such a beautiful culture. People really want to attend more, and these sessions reinforce that and it's good to ask questions and be curious about Indigenous peoples and communities.

How do you formally assess the impact and effectiveness of the Indigenous mentoring relationships within RIME?

Kayla: Impact is measured by the number of people who would recommend the program to a colleague. A lot of times programs like these can gain more traction through word of mouth. 

The number of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous employees who sign up for the program also shows the impact the program is having. Indigenous people want to build community, and non-Indigenous people want to learn from and support Indigenous people. 

The program's effectiveness is also based on the number of meetings that people attend and the number of people who complete the program successfully.

In what specific ways has 10KC streamlined the delivery of RIME  and helped RBC identify areas for improvement?

Kayla: I really like using the Office Hour function, which allows me to easily create an event and invite who I need to. 

And then I also just like being on the RIME cafe/platform within 10KC as a whole! It helps me view who's participated and who is in the current cohort. I also like seeing the dashboard of mentee/mentor pairings, which lets me see how members are tracking in their meetings. 

And then it's also been really great to automatically schedule all emails and communications through the 10KC platform. 

I’m excited to see what else we can do with the RIME program with 10KC. And we're super excited to try out the group mentoring function, which matches one mentor with a group of mentees for a shared and collaborative experience. 

I also really think 10KC will help us to continue understanding the trends within our program and what areas we can continue to improve on. 10KC has already helped us to innovate the RIME curriculum and session content to just make it new and fresh each year. This program has really grown from manual delivery to now being one where we can connect more people and measure success.

10KC Office Hours power interactive roundtables and group learning formats: LEARN MORE

For organizations seeking to create similar Indigenous mentorship programs, what’s your top advice to ensure success?

Kayla: I would say to partner with your Indigenous colleagues and leaders to co-create the program, which is really important to just hear what they want out of it and what their goals are. Also, remember that the purpose really is to create pathways for community. This program should always uplift the Indigenous community and highlight them.

If you could have coffee or tea with anyone alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Kayla: I would like to have tea with my great grandmothers, who I know were strong First Nations women. In the past several years I’ve gotten much closer to my culture, so it would be great to share this with them and hear their stories. 

Congratulations, Kayla, on your work empowering the Indigenous community at RBC!

Kayla Neveu-Gordon’s commitment to RIME showcases how strategic DEI initiatives and mentorship programs can empower Indigenous communities and transform an organization's culture of inclusion.

Discover more about 10KC Program Innovators 

Get the details about this honorary award, showcasing 10KC customers’ exceptional leadership, and submit nominees here.

Scale inclusive mentorship and DEI programs that drive employee engagement, connectivity, and a positive workplace culture.
Webinar

Inside RBC's Indigenous Mentoring Experience (RIME)

10KC Program Innovator Series: Kayla Neveu-Gordon of RBC drives inclusion through Indigenous mentoring programs

June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada, a time to celebrate the heritage, diverse cultures, and contributions of Indigenous peoples. As a powerful advocate for Indigenous voices within the workplace, Kayla Neveu-Gordon, Manager, Indigenous Talent on the Global D&I team at RBC, is our featured 10KC Program Innovator.

Kayla, who is of mixed ancestry, both Ojibwe and French-Canadian, and comes from Northwestern Ontario, leads RBC's Indigenous Mentoring Experience (RIME). Her work exemplifies the power of mentorship to create a more inclusive workplace. 

Read on to discover Kayla's insights and how RBC champions Indigenous employees through RIME by: 

  • Listening and collaborating: RIME's success stems from co-creation with Indigenous employees, ensuring the program aligns with their needs and goals.
  • Metrics matter: RIME demonstrates the value of tracking success with both quantitative and qualitative metrics. Key achievements include:some text
    • 95% would recommend the program to a colleague
    • 100% of Indigenous participants matched according to their preferences
    • 100% satisfaction with cross-cultural learning sessions
  • Tech as an Enabler: By partnering with 10KC, Kayla has streamlined RIME's delivery, enabling the connection of more people and gaining valuable data for continuous improvement.

Let's start with the inspiration. Can you share what prompted the creation of the RBC Indigenous Mentoring Experience (RIME)? 

Kayla: For more than 25 years, RBC has worked with Indigenous employees, clients, stakeholders, and communities to help build a more prosperous and collaborative future together.

In 2017, RBC Global Diversity and Inclusion hosted a “Diversathon.” Indigenous and non-Indigenous employees came together and they were tasked to come up with fresh ideas to inspire more Indigenous talent to choose RBC as their employer of choice. At the end of the day, judges selected the top ideas and a mentorship program was one of those selected, specifically RIME which is what the team had come up with. 

After a few follow-up sessions with the team post event,  RIME was officially introduced as a new program within RBC. 

What were your original goals with RIME, and have they evolved since its inception? 

Kayla: RIME’s original goals were to strengthen the professional support system for Indigenous employees and increase cross-cultural awareness for non-Indigenous employees. These continue to be the goals of the program.

A few years ago, we partnered with Ten Thousand Coffees (10KC). RIME continues to provide employees with an opportunity to connect with the Indigenous community at RBC, for cross-cultural learning and also for career conversations. 

Each cohort is 4 months long, and matches are encouraged to meet once a month. The program is open to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous employees for one-on-one mentoring. 

RIME also provides the opportunity for employees to attend small group sessions that are led by our Royal Eagles ERG leaders on truth and reconciliation topics using the 10KC Office Hours feature.

The continued aim of the RIME program is that it builds meaningful mentorship relationships between employees.

Easily scale mentorship programs and boost measurable DEI impact with 10KC’S DEI Mentoring Solution: LEARN MORE

Could you elaborate on the strategies used to recruit both mentors and mentees within RBC for your Indigenous mentoring experience?

Kayla: We connect with all members of the Royal Eagles, RBC’s Indigenous employee resource group. There are several regional Royal Eagles chapters who we send out a call out to, sharing the program and sign up information. 

And then we've also connected with specific business partners who are interested in engaging with the program, along with leveraging  various internal employee connection hubs to share information and increase awareness.  

I’ve also asked Indigenous leaders for recommendations on mentors, and they have their own networks within RBC that are also helpful  to leverage!

How do you actively cultivate and maintain strong engagement among RBC leaders to consistently champion the Indigenous community?

Kayla: At the beginning, the RBC senior leaders who were on the judging panel of the Diversathon were the catalysts to push the program to the forefront and endorse the idea. From there, leaders of the Royal Eagles ERG, and members of the Global D&I team brought the program to life and continue to be huge supporters of the program, sharing with others and driving participation and awareness.

Can you share a specific milestone or achievement of RIME that highlights its positive impact?

Kayla: A big achievement of the RIME program has been our incorporation of small group sessions, which utilize the Office Hour feature. In our most recent cohort for small group sessions where employees can learn and discuss with our Royal Eagles, these had a satisfaction rating of 100%, which I was delighted to see. And we also had over 100 participants and Office Hours over the past 4 cohorts.

What quantitative and qualitative metrics does RIME use to measure its success? What specific results are you most proud of?

Kayla: Part of the success of partnering with 10KC is the ability to see qualitative and quantitative results from each mentoring cohort, which helps us see where we are doing well and where we can improve or enhance. 

In the past 4 cohorts, 95% would recommend the program to a colleague. I think I'm most proud of this as an indication that participants are satisfied with their experience in the program and the perceived value of RIME. Also, 100% of Indigenous participants have been matched according to their matching preference. 

This is important to me, because we want our Indigenous employees to be in a match that they feel adds value and helps them meet their  professional and personal goals. 

A lot of our Indigenous participants come back to the next new cohort and sometimes to the next one after that!  It makes me really happy to see that they want to keep using the program to build relationships with other colleagues, whether that be Indigenous or non-Indigenous for cross-cultural learning or career conversations. This shows their eagerness to continue learning and expanding their professional network at RBC. Some previous mentees have even become mentors, which is really exciting to see.

See how 10KC’s Data Dashboard helps measure mentorship program performance: LEARN MORE

Are there any notable success stories or testimonials from participants in your Indigenous mentoring program that you can share?

Kayla: There've been numerous success stories from the program that participants have shared about their experience. I've heard that participants have shared their experiences being Indigenous with each other and have learned more about the culture which they weren’t aware of prior to joining the program. 

Professional development opportunities are also provided and people have learned about other areas of RBC, or more about the area that they work on, from someone new. 

Spotlighting our Royal Eagles ERG leaders in Office Hours and small group sessions has been a game changer. Employees have shared how great it is to hear stories from the Royal Eagles on their personal experiences being Indigenous and hearing firsthand how resilient Indigenous people are and the intricacies that make up such a beautiful culture. People really want to attend more, and these sessions reinforce that and it's good to ask questions and be curious about Indigenous peoples and communities.

How do you formally assess the impact and effectiveness of the Indigenous mentoring relationships within RIME?

Kayla: Impact is measured by the number of people who would recommend the program to a colleague. A lot of times programs like these can gain more traction through word of mouth. 

The number of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous employees who sign up for the program also shows the impact the program is having. Indigenous people want to build community, and non-Indigenous people want to learn from and support Indigenous people. 

The program's effectiveness is also based on the number of meetings that people attend and the number of people who complete the program successfully.

In what specific ways has 10KC streamlined the delivery of RIME  and helped RBC identify areas for improvement?

Kayla: I really like using the Office Hour function, which allows me to easily create an event and invite who I need to. 

And then I also just like being on the RIME cafe/platform within 10KC as a whole! It helps me view who's participated and who is in the current cohort. I also like seeing the dashboard of mentee/mentor pairings, which lets me see how members are tracking in their meetings. 

And then it's also been really great to automatically schedule all emails and communications through the 10KC platform. 

I’m excited to see what else we can do with the RIME program with 10KC. And we're super excited to try out the group mentoring function, which matches one mentor with a group of mentees for a shared and collaborative experience. 

I also really think 10KC will help us to continue understanding the trends within our program and what areas we can continue to improve on. 10KC has already helped us to innovate the RIME curriculum and session content to just make it new and fresh each year. This program has really grown from manual delivery to now being one where we can connect more people and measure success.

10KC Office Hours power interactive roundtables and group learning formats: LEARN MORE

For organizations seeking to create similar Indigenous mentorship programs, what’s your top advice to ensure success?

Kayla: I would say to partner with your Indigenous colleagues and leaders to co-create the program, which is really important to just hear what they want out of it and what their goals are. Also, remember that the purpose really is to create pathways for community. This program should always uplift the Indigenous community and highlight them.

If you could have coffee or tea with anyone alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Kayla: I would like to have tea with my great grandmothers, who I know were strong First Nations women. In the past several years I’ve gotten much closer to my culture, so it would be great to share this with them and hear their stories. 

Congratulations, Kayla, on your work empowering the Indigenous community at RBC!

Kayla Neveu-Gordon’s commitment to RIME showcases how strategic DEI initiatives and mentorship programs can empower Indigenous communities and transform an organization's culture of inclusion.

Discover more about 10KC Program Innovators 

Get the details about this honorary award, showcasing 10KC customers’ exceptional leadership, and submit nominees here.

Scale inclusive mentorship and DEI programs that drive employee engagement, connectivity, and a positive workplace culture.

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