Zabeen Hirji is Special Advisor at Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Canada’s largest bank and a top 15 globally and following a 40 year career, she will retire in October 2017. She was RBC’s Chief Human Resources Officer from 2007-2017, and as a member of the Bank’s Group Executive Committee, she was one of nine executives responsible for setting the overall strategic direction of the Bank. As CHRO, she had global responsibility for Human Resources covering 80,000 employees in 35 countries as well as responsibility for Brand, Communications and Corporate Citizenship. RBC was named a Best Place to Work for the past nine years, and received numerous awards for diversity and inclusion, reflecting its high-performance, high-engagement culture and leading talent practices.
In parallel with her business career, Ms Hirji has been a community leader, working with private, public, not-for-profit and academic institutions. She focuses on diversity and inclusion as well as youth education and employment, key enablers for people to realize their full potential in the rapidly changing world of work and to build inclusive prosperity. As both a champion and a challenger, she is a senior-level advisor to governments and not-for-profit organizations and a frequent speaker and media commentator. Ms. Hirji is a member of the Governing Council of the University of Toronto, a director of CivicAction where she chairs Escalator, a youth employment initiative, and chairs the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council.
In 2016, Ms. Hirji was honoured with the Governor General’s meritorious Service Medal for advancing diversity and inclusion, and Simon Fraser University’s Outstanding Alumni award for Professional achievement. As a three-time recipient of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women award, in 2012 she was inducted into WXN’s Hall of Fame. In 2014, she was a Catalyst Canada honouree for Championing Women and Minorities in Business, and in 2010 was named Corporate Executive of the Year by the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce.
Ms. Hirji holds an MBA from Simon Fraser University.