When Shevawn Jester reflects on her time at RBC Wealth Management, she can’t help but feel a tremendous amount of gratitude for the leaders who believed in her and supported her varied career journey.
Jester, a Senior Manager for Business Enablement, who works on the culture and field experience team with a focus on diversity initiatives, learned early on how to pivot.
As a little girl, Jester took on the role of caretaker long before she was ready. Nevertheless, she was well equipped for the responsibilities.
Both of her siblings suffered from cognitive and physical disabilities and growing up as the only “typical” child in the household, she learned advocacy and empathy from a very young age. However, those caretaking duties took a toll on her schooling because she put more emphasis on building a social life outside of the home to establish her identity and she barely graduated high school.
But she persevered. She dreamt of becoming a lawyer. It was the kind of prestigious career that she thought she needed. She was always smart and got along well with others, but that’s partly why she was often distracted in school.
“That Chatty Cathy personality didn’t always serve me well in college either,” Jester says. “But it would eventually be key to a profession in the financial services industry that requires connections and relationship building.”
Jester learned early on the value of pivoting, taking a leap of faith and believing in her skillset. She started a career in financial services without a college degree, joining RBC Wealth Management in 1999 as an account transfer associate, specializing in moving clients over from outside firms.
Jester left the company after a few years, gained some project management experience, and then eventually returned. When she returned to RBC Wealth Management, she pivoted again to learn valuable skills in technology and data analysis. Eventually, she landed in a role that combined her passions for connecting with people, working with diverse communities and advocating for those in need.
“As a Senior Manager for Business Enablement at RBC Wealth Management, I specialize in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, and collaborate with business leaders to make valuable connections that benefit the firm, as well as the community,” Jester says.
Reflecting on her career journey today, she’s reminded that she got here by realizing it’s OK to pivot, to leverage mentorship opportunities and to learn more about an industry she was once intimidated by.
“Many people might be surprised by the different ways you can employ your talents and be successful within financial services,” she says. “We’re not all number crunchers!”
Growing up in her African American household, Jester was taught to just be grateful for what she has, just do what she’s told and not ask questions. For a long time that hurt her confidence and ability to advocate for herself. At times, it affected her happiness too.
“Now if I could talk to that little girl, I would tell her not to be afraid to step into the unknown and ask for what you want,” she says. “The women of RBC Wealth Management have instilled confidence in me so I can push without overstepping boundaries, overcome my fears and take opportunities I was once too nervous to tackle.”