Divya Steinwall, Director, is the Head of Sales Enablement and Business Management for iShares Canada. She is responsible for leveraging the digital wealth platform and tools to enhance engagements with clients, as well as expanding connectivity with strategic partners to empower the retail distribution strategy and drive the effective operation of the sales business.
Ms. Steinwall first joined BlackRock in 2013 as part of the Fund Administration team overseeing the daily operations relating to the Canada group of funds and having local responsibility for the financial reporting process, before moving into her current role in 2014. Prior to joining BlackRock, Ms. Steinwall spent 16 years at State Street Funds Services in both Portfolio Accounting and Fund Administration roles.
Ms. Steinwall chairs the Canadian chapter of BlackRock’s Women's Initiative Network. In 2016 she was honored as a "Champion of Change" by Women in Capital Markets in recognition for her leadership to push the boundaries for the advancement of women in Corporate Canada's leadership teams and boardrooms. In 2020, she was recognized in INvolve’s annual HERoes Women Role Models List, supported by Yahoo Finance, for playing a key role in breaking down barriers at work for women and driving diversity and inclusion initiatives. Ms. Steinwall sits on the Executive Committee for the Toronto Chapter of 100 Women in Finance and is on the Board for the Canadian chapter of Women in ETFs.
Ms. Steinwall earned her Bachelor of Commerce (Honors), Specialist in Management & Economics degree from the University of Toronto. She has completed the Canadian Securities Course as well as the Claritas Investment Certificate Program offered by the CFA Institute.
Ms. Steinwall serves on the Board of Directors for both the Strides Toronto Foundation and Emajjin Children's Foundation.
Thank you so much for taking the time out for us to interview you!
Tell us a little about you and your career journey so far?
I was born and raised in Toronto and have spent my entire career working in the Financial Services industry here as well. I intended to have a career in corporate law, but while completing my Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Toronto, I enjoyed my business courses and decided to pursue that. My first job after graduation was as a Fund Accountant at State Street. It was a great experience to learn how Investment Funds operated and provided me the opportunity to develop both my technical and relationship management skills. I spent 16 years in various Fund Administration roles at State Street before joining BlackRock. Although I had joined a new firm, I was still within my comfort zone of a similar role. Just over a year into my role at BlackRock, an opportunity arose to join the iShares Canada team as the Business Manager and I jumped at the chance to challenge myself with something new and further develop my career. My husband also works in the Financial Services industry and we are the proud parents to two wonderful teenage girls.
What are some of the challenges you faced and how have you manoeuvred around them?
I have had to overcome many of the same challenges that generations of women before me have had to face, one of them being my own self-imposed barriers of self-doubt. This includes not putting my hand up for projects or opportunities because I didn’t feel I was ready, or not speaking up in meetings because I felt my opinion didn’t matter or I wasn’t “senior” enough. As I have grown more confident and self-assured, and having lived through many regrets, I am now a more active participant and am seen as a valuable contributor and respected by my peers for my insights.
Tell us more about what you are up to now?
I am working on some interesting projects including implementation of a new CRM system and enhancing our sales reporting capabilities to better empower our sales team. On the personal side, I am indulging my passion for wine and currently enrolled in the WSET Level 3 program.
How do you manage your time?
I admit I don’t have this perfected, but through trial and error I have been able to figure out what works best for me. I know I am most productive in the mornings so I tend to start my day early and have at least one hour of time dedicated to “work” before I take any calls or meetings. This helps me to get things actually completed off my “to do” list. I also block timeslots of an hour a few times a week so I have some interrupted time in my day to catch up on things. I’ve also become more deliberate around setting boundaries, which has become even more important while working from home. Once my work day is done, I step away and focus on my personal time, only periodically checking my phone for emails. I ONLY respond to anything that is time sensitive or urgent; everything else can wait until the next day.
What advice would you offer to others interested in doing a similar role to yourself?
Don’t let a formal job description hold you back from evaluating if it is the right fit for you. Rather, focus on the skills you have and how you can leverage them in the role you want to pursue. Having spent the first part of my career in operations roles, I have been able to use my strengths of implementing process discipline, project management and building effective relationships to be successful in my current role supporting a sales team and managing strategic partner relationships.