“Continuous learning is my way of “paying it forward” – igniting in others the desire to always be better, do better. I reflect on the many individuals who provided me opportunities to teach and share experiences within a classroom setting, entrusting me to lead, create, develop new strategies, and contribute in ways that were personally rewarding and eye-opening.”
Maria Artuso MBA(FS) Class of 2015
If you have the personal drive to succeed – you can make anything happen.
I will be celebrating 20 years with my employer in June! Considering I had absolutely no desire or interest in banking or the financial industry, I see my journey as one of many experiences, with variety and generality vs. specialization as being the spice of life. I have had the great fortune of mentors who cared deeply about my career aspirations. I have held a variety of roles over my tenure, each move leading me into more senior roles. Looking back, I find it amazing, yet very rewarding, how one can adapt to increasing responsibility, face gender differences as a result of the evolving financial industry and societal expectations and have the unceasing need to change/adapt/pivot/execute.
I love the world we are in, albeit uncomfortable at times. I appreciate the mantra of “fail fast” as this gives us permission to have experiences, realizing that not everything will come together perfectly. It is okay to make mistakes if we learn from them. Sometimes we need to be satisfied at 80% vs. 100% completion. Being someone who is risk-aware, self-aware, and change-friendly, I have always felt the need to try new things, with calculated risk of course (this is not shocking!). I have an internal ‘firecracker’ that truly does not settle for second best.
My time at DAL, although overwhelming at first, considering I did not have an undergraduate degree when I applied, was a life-changing experience that is forever implanted in my memory bank. Complete strangers, who I now call friends, taught me that settling in life is not an option, and the broader world provides experiences that are sometimes not even a thought, but can certainly become a memory. I was encouraged to take risks, to stretch personal and professional growth, and challenge the status quo for the betterment of all those around me.
Lifelong and Continuous Learning
I was raised in a family where my parents did not have the educational opportunities that I have experienced. As new immigrants to Canada, my parents chose work out of the sheer need to survive and raise their children. They experienced many firsts in a new country that did not offer many familiarities. Their resiliency and perseverance instilled within me a personal desire and commitment to continue to learn and fuel my yearning for knowledge. In turn, I am dedicated to give back to local community organizations and peers within my organization.
Continuous learning is my way of “paying it forward” – igniting in others the desire to always be better, do better. I reflect on the many individuals who provided me opportunities to teach and share experiences within a classroom setting, entrusting me to lead, create, develop new strategies, and contribute in ways that were personally rewarding and eye-opening. I am very fortunate to be in a place that fosters life-long learning. I take nothing for granted.
What is my next journey? Time management skills and working at a higher capacity was a legacy of my years with Dalhousie and certainly a foundation for what I am proud of today. I went on to achieve the Fellowship of CSI and am seriously contemplating my PhD over the next couple of years. Higher education stretches us and creates a strategic mindset that influences our thought processes and reasoning abilities. I now approach scenarios thoughtfully with an interdisciplinary perspective, open to a variety of bias’s and filtering information to come up with the most comparable results and outcomes. I appreciated Dalhousie’s open and respectful environment that generated meaningful discussions. I am proud to have leveraged the outcomes of my MBA(FS) years in my day-to-day professional career.
How do you integrate creativity in a structured environment?
Working in a highly regulated, policy driven, client focused, for-profit organization may, for some, feel like an environment where once ideas are “fully baked,” they are shared like a gift, wrapped in a box with a bow, and accepted without question. My belief is that in today’s working environment, organizations seek out individuals who offer creative suggestions and engage with co-workers to work together to make things better. You need to be open to an environment that fosters dialogue, challenges one’s thoughts respectfully, and leaves no possibility or opportunity to chance. I believe that flexibility allows for fresh possibilities. The key is to be open to providing candid, authentic feedback. Encouraging others to have a voice makes a real and significant difference in shaping a path forward—particularly as the financial services industry continues to undergo accelerated transformation. Rapid change is the new normal. To adapt and thrive within a complex and unpredictable environment, we must continue to get the support and give the support. Creativity is built upon perseverance. Resiliency is the outcome of our commitment to bring our best to the responsibilities given to each of us.
Maria Artuso MBA(FS) 2015, Manager, Financial Planning at RBC Royal Bank, was recently named one of Ottawa’s Top 40 under 40 business professionals. She looks forward to beginning her new role in April 2018 as Director, Business Enablement and Performance within RBC Insurance. A successful, highly motivated business leader with a track record of success in the fields of operational effectiveness, retail banking, commercial banking, and leadership, Maria is dedicated to giving back to her community, believing that her volunteerism enhances her job performance and life experiences. Maria has graciously agreed to be a repeat contributor on CFAME Connection.