Jennifer Tory, ICD.D, C.M.
Ms. Jennifer Tory retired in 2019 as Royal Bank of Canada’s Chief Administrative Officer. She has been a champion and trailblazer for the advancement of women, LGBTQ+ and BIPOC individuals in both the bank and the broader community.
Ms. Tory was an active and vocal proponent of diversity and inclusion, long before it was the policy and practice across organizations. As a committed mentor and advocate, she actively sponsored a significant number of women into executive roles at RBC, and set ambitious targets for visible representation of minorities in key leadership roles prior to the current trend in Corporate Canada. She started early in her nine-year tenure as RBC Regional President, Greater Toronto to build a diverse senior management team across gender, sexual orientation, and cultural backgrounds to ensure that the leadership team reflected the community, the employee base and the marketplace in which the bank operated – which also resulted in superior business results. She identified roles where women and minorities were traditionally underrepresented and then set about changing the pattern and advancing diverse leadership in those areas. She actively sought diverse candidates and would routinely revisit and revise candidate lists that did not reflect the wide range of candidates available. Her unrelenting commitment to identifying and investing in diverse talent early, proactively developing and coaching, and publicly advocating for individuals across a broad spectrum when they were not “in the room” elevates Ms. Tory as a role model, and her practices set the foundation that is still used as a model and guide for colleagues and other business leaders.
Ms. Tory reconfigured budgets regionally and nationally to ensure funds were invested in sponsorships, donations and support that mattered most to a diverse community base. She did so by creating an advisory group from business and community leaders across a spectrum of gender and cultural backgrounds both inside and outside the bank. Drawing on this kitchen cabinet resulted in significant investment in newcomer programs and organizations serving diverse racial and gender communities.
In her position as a member of RBC’s global Diversity Leadership Council (DLC) and the Chair of the Canadian Banking business unit’s DLC, she significantly influenced the bank’s diversity agenda, plans and goals. She assumed a leadership role in the development of RBC’s Diversity Blueprint, a strategic outline of the bank’s diversity priorities and objectives, including those related to women, BIPOC and newcomers to Canada.
Ms. Tory’s commitment to diversity and inclusion extends beyond her previous roles at RBC into the community. She is a member of the Sunnybrook Hospital Foundation Board and the Chair of the Toronto International Film Festival where she initiated two significant projects, the Share Her Journey campaign and Every Story fund, which established commitments and set goals to develop, screen, and promote diversity and inclusion in the film industry.
Ms. Tory was awarded the 2011 Catalyst Canada Honour for advancing women in business. She was also recognized by Women’s Executive Network (WXN) as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 in 2010 and 2015, and was ultimately inducted into WXN’s Hall of Fame in 2017. She was honoured with the Harry Jerome Award in 2013 for her demonstrated commitment to the Black community and the Leading Executive Ally Award by Start Proud in 2016. In December of 2019, she was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada.