Divya Steinwall

Canada

Head of Sales Enablement and Business Management for iShares Canada – BlackRock Asset Management

Born and raised in Toronto, Divya is a key driver of inclusion within BlackRock Asset Management. She uses her knowledge and expertise to pay it forward and believes in the power of leveraging her platform to provide opportunities for other young women to succeed in business. Divya is an inspiring role model who actively works to create positive, long-term change.

In a nutshell, please tell us a little about your career journey until this point.

I was born and raised in Toronto and have never left. I graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto and have spent my entire career in the local Financial Services industry. I have been with BlackRock Asset Management Canada since 2013 and currently lead the Business Management and Sales Enablement function for the iShares Canada ETF franchise. In my role, I am responsible for supporting our sales team to leverage our tools and platforms to enhance engagements with our clients as well expanding connectivity with our strategic partners to empower our retail distribution strategy and drive the effective operation of the sales business.

“I actively try to “pay it forward” by leveraging my position and experience to mentor, coach and provide opportunities for the young women in my industry.”

Who is your role model and why?

My role models are my parents. They both emigrated to Canada from India as young adults and have built a successful life for themselves. My Dad started on the shop floor of a tool and die manufacturer and self-trained himself to now owning and operating his own design and manufacturing business with clients all over the world. My mother has worked in a variety of jobs over her career, but she has always demonstrated that you don’t have to “be the boss” to be able to influence outcomes and that establishing strong working relationships is always a worthwhile investment.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

As a young child I wanted to be an astronaut and explore the universe. As I got older, my intent was to pursue a legal career but at university I really enjoyed my business classes and the rest, as they say, is history.

What would you tell your 18-year-old self if they could see you now?

Find your voice. I spent years walking out of meetings with regrets for not speaking my mind when I had the chance.

“Being able to continue to rely on my ability to build effective relationships and work with people to develop solutions has been a key factor in my career development.”

How has your personal journey informed the way you navigate your career?

Perhaps it’s because I am a firstborn or perhaps it’s just my inherent nature, but I have always been a caretaker for any team I’ve been part of, both professionally and personally. I feel a deep sense of responsibility for the people around me and that has been a driving force in “how” I work. By prioritizing what is best for the business and the team, any personal success has naturally followed.

How have your lived experiences helped you in your industry today?

Over the 20+ years that I have been a part of the Financial Services industry, I have seen many changes, the most impactful of which is how technology has evolved the way we all do business. This has required me to be adaptable, flexible, and often creative, in keeping up with the needs of the teams I support and the clients we service. At the same time, this is still a people-based business and being able to continue to rely on my ability to build effective relationships and work with people to develop solutions has been a key factor in my career development.

“I feel a deep sense of responsibility for the people around me and that has been a driving force in “how” I work.”

How has connecting globally with people in other countries influenced your thinking or approach?

Although I have spent my entire career working in Canada, I have always been part of a large global organization. This has given me the opportunity to work with peers across the world and learn about how things may work differently in different markets. This has helped me to evolve our local business by leveraging ideas and best practices from other regions and has broadened my approach in thinking about solutions to local problems.

How do you think driving inclusion in your region differs from other parts of the world? Are there unique challenges or opportunities?

I’m very fortunate to live in a city that has a very multi-cultural and diverse community. Where I feel there is opportunity for improvement is to ensure there is equal access to opportunity for all groups. This can mean broadening our recruiting sources for new hires and ensuring there are programs to support the career development for all representation groups so that the diversity of our community is reflected across all levels in the industry. In Canada specifically, I also feel there is much more that can be done to engage with and support our Indigenous communities.

We often reflect on you can’t be what you can’t see, how far does this resonate with you and your own experiences?

When I began my career, there were a limited number of women in leadership roles and even fewer from visible minorities. That is what drives me to be a role model for future generations so that they feel supported and represented in the workplace. I actively try to “pay it forward” by leveraging my position and experience to mentor, coach and provide opportunities for the young women in my industry.

“Find your voice. I spent years walking out of meetings with regrets for not speaking my mind when I had the chance.”