Chint Kulkarni is a managing director in CIBC Capital Markets. She has over 20 years of experience in banking at CIBC. As a senior leader, a wife and a mother to three children, Chint has experienced the challenges women face as they climb the corporate ladder. She's also seen the journey of inclusion in the culture at CIBC.
“You can start your career without focusing on gender or ethnicity, but as you advance into more senior roles, these differences can become more apparent. If you look around you and not one single person in a senior position looks like you, the path to leadership can become less clear. Conversely, if there are women in leadership roles or you can see a culture that values diversity in leadership, then you're more likely to see yourself staying with the business long-term.”
A growing body of evidence shows gender-balanced leadership and company performance are strongly linked. Increased representation of women on boards and in senior leadership roles result in higher rates of returns on equity, valuations and payout ratios.
According to Chint, CIBC’s focus on creating a culture of inclusion has been a key component to the bank’s success. “If we don’t give women access to the right set of opportunities, they won’t advance and there won’t be enough women in the executive pipeline or ready to join boards. Leadership is a learned behaviour and you need the opportunity to be able to practice it as you advance through your career,” she says.
Over the course of Chint’s career, she has focused on bringing out the best in her team members while helping corporate clients achieve their goals. “The capital markets business is collaborative, fast-paced and competitive. I like the multifaceted nature of this job. We are experts on the bank market; we use market data to provide advice and solve complex problems for our clients. We also have the opportunity to build strong relationships with clients and partners.”
Chint would like to see more women in leadership positions, which is one of the reasons she's committed to inclusion. She's a past diversity champion with the Diversity Council of CanadaOpens a new window.. The Council focuses on advancing gender balance and diversity on Canada’s boards. “There are so many extremely talented, successful women who are capable of contributing to boards and who come forward with successful board nominations as a result of the diversity council’s encouragement,” says Chint.
She also sees the progress the bank is making because of its commitment to supporting gender-balanced leadership. “Our CEO and senior management team are committed to advancing women, which sets a tone for everyone in the organization. Victor Dodig is a past chair of the Catalyst Canada Advisory Board, and of the 30% Club Canada, which advocates for gender-balanced leadership. We also support the Return to Bay Street Program through our partnership with Women in Capital Markets, and have successfully hired a number of women who are re-launching their careers after an extended period of leave.”