Throughout September and early October, several members of BMO's leadership team took part in a takeover day – part of Plan International Canada's International Day of the Girl activities – to amplify girls' voices, advocate for their rights, elevate their position in society and reinforce their capability as decision-makers.
Seven of our senior executives – Darryl White, Cam Fowler, Joanna Rotenberg, Patrick Cronin, Christine Cooper, Nadim Hirji and Darrel Hackett stepped down from their positions to allow a girl ambassador from Plan International to take on their role for the day.
From the girls' perspective
What was it like? How did it go? We're turning it over to the seven girls who took over a leadership role for the day and get to know more about them. Hear from Akshata below.
Get to know Akshata
Program/area of study: I am in my third year of undergrad, with a specialization in Political Science and Minor in Equity Studies.
Passions/interest outside of school: I am most passionate about empowering women in education, workforce, politics and business. Being born and brought up in India, I have seen many girls get married early on in life without an education. I am trying to bring awareness to women and children that this is not right and a girl needs to get educated in any circumstance. This is what I am fighting for, and will always be passionate about when girls are not treated equally.
Took over for: Cam Fowler, President, North American Personal & Business Banking, BMO Financial Group, September 14, 2018
What you were most looking forward to in your role? I was most curious about a role that would allow me to learn from the ground up and build a career in the business industry. But I do understand that in order to do that, I have to get the basics right and learn more in depth about how the business works. This was the exact learning I got when I took up the role.
What surprised you the most about the day? I was most surprised to be such an integral part of BMO. I hadn't expected that. I was involved in all the internal meetings, discussions, plan implementations and got to see the most secured areas of BMO. I was so happy to take up Cam's role as he is the most amazing and humble person and leader that I have ever come across and he made sure that I was happy and involved throughout the day.
Advice you have for other girls from this experience: Get what you want. There's no one stopping you but yourself from achieving what you want. Also, surround yourself with people who can stretch and challenge you in every way. Do not be afraid of speaking out and sharing your thoughts. Let the world hear and see you. Believe in yourself, and never ever fear achievement. Lastly, take risks, make positive decisions out of harsh criticisms, don't be shy to come out of your cocoon. Girls – you are all amazing, so be proud of it!