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The Canadian finance ambassador

Heidi Gunkel, MBA 13
By Damon van der Linde

Heidi Gunkel, MBA 13 “I’m proud of where I am today, considering just five years ago I led a totally different life.”

Heidi Gunkel moved to Canada from Germany in 2008 to work as a lawyer. She expected to continue her legal career, even when she began her MBA at Concordia.

After she completed the program — which she did part time while still employed — Gunkel decided to shift her career to financial services, landing a job at the Royal Bank of Canada, in the company’s asset-management division.

This new career took her back to Europe, based in London working for the institutional asset management business of RBC.

Gunkel heads client services for institutional investors in Europe, the Middle East and Australia, where RBC Global Asset Management is still a small player, even if RBC is Canada’s largest bank by market capitalization.

“I think we have an entrepreneurial spirit here because we are a small group of highly motivated individuals and we basically started the distribution business only five years ago,” says Gunkel.  “We are taking our RBC and Canadian values to a marketplace that's really tough and competitive, but we are very nimble.”

Influence of Concordia

“I was a lawyer before, and now I’m working in finance. Being an industry outsider makes it a bit harder, but there are so many rotational programs in the market and Concordia was really good and helpful. I attended all the career events, and met different employers, and that’s how my idea took form.”

Proudest moment of career

“RBC has been supportive of my career and gave me opportunities in a short period of time that not everybody would have given me. I’m proud of where I am today, considering just five years ago I led a totally different life.”

Involvement in social causes

“I was a founding member of Beads of Courage in Canada, a not-for-profit organization that provides beads to children with serious illnesses. Different hospitals can participate in the program, and for every treatment, the children get a bead and that really helps the journey.

“It’s a beautiful, personal cause. Being there from the onset and rolling it out was very special to me.”

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