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CIBC’s Strategies to Create Inclusive Career Paths

Having received diversity and inclusion awards for over a decade, CIBC is internationally recognized as a global leader for its initiatives. To get an understanding of how CIBC’s strategies create meaningful and inclusive career paths for students and new grads we spoke with Shalise Goffe, a Senior Manager of Campus Strategy and Recruitment at CIBC. 

Shalise Goffe Headshot

Shalise joined CIBC because of the great things she heard about the culture and people. After seven months with CIBC, she can say that it is all true! 

“The people are open, inviting and supportive. The culture is one of transparency, empowerment, and growth and it really does feel like a family because everyone wants to see you win!”

Student and New Graduate Initiatives

As one of Canada’s largest banks, CIBC knows the importance of bridging the gap between post-secondary education and the workforce. That is why they have set up dedicated initiatives for students and new grads to successfully hatch their careers

We asked Shalise how CIBC’s Student Leadership Academy (SLA) enables students to succeed in the workplace. “It allows students the chance to grow both professionally and personally by pursuing their interests and passions in addition to their work term. Our students have access to workshops that help them gain new skills or simply refine their existing set. Through our workshops, leadership connections, and other SLA activities our students get to explore life at CIBC and their future careers. Providing them with a supportive environment, learning opportunities and the ability to showcase their leadership skills enable them to succeed in the workplace.”

CIBC also runs a co-op program for students and new grads. This program “encourages our co-op students to bring new, creative, and innovative ideas to CIBC. Selected summer students are challenged to work on a real CIBC business problem in a team with other students, along with the support of an Executive Sponsor and Project Lead. It’s an opportunity for them to push themselves by thinking outside the box and collaborating with others to come up with solutions.”

“It’s important to be a student of life and that means the learning doesn’t stop once you’ve left school.”

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategies at CIBC

Diversity, equity, and inclusion have come to the forefront of recruitment and internal dialogue over the last few years as their necessity has risen to attention. With 10 groups throughout CIBC focussing on like-minded individuals coming together with shared interests or backgrounds, there is a place for everyone at CIBC.

We wanted to dive deeper into CIBC’s initiatives, so we asked Shalise to describe why diversity, equity, and inclusion are important at CIBC. “At CIBC we want you to feel a sense of belonging. We want you to come into work each and every day truly believing that you can be your authentic self without hiding or covering who you truly are and that you will be accepted for it. Only then will you feel like it’s a safe space that’s open for you to bring your whole self to work.”

When it comes to the CIBC’s internal strategies and the future of recruitment, Shalise had this to say: “Candidates are interested in a company’s diversity and inclusion strategy and how they fit into it. Going back to the belonging piece, people want to join a company that they feel safe in, that they feel cares about them and that are making commitments to be inclusive and equitable. It’s important that we are hiring diverse candidates so we can be reflective of the communities we serve.

Final Thoughts

CIBC has built an array of initiatives to foster an inclusive and diverse workplace for students, new grads, and experienced professionals alike. It is a workplace where everyone is welcome and CIBC is constantly evolving to stay at the forefront of critical initiatives. 

“We want you to grow both personally and professionally and there are a number of ways to do that at CIBC.”

To learn more about CIBC’s student and new graduate programs check out their employer profile on TalentEgg!

Let’s Talk Talent! March Edition

One constant throughout the Winter-Spring campus recruitment season has been that the competition to attract and retain top students, new graduates, and early career talent is intensifying!

In our work at TalentEgg, we recognize that to attract the talent you are looking for as an employer in the current climate, you need to:

  • Give candidates a real look at “what’s behind the curtain” in your industry and organization
  • Commit to Investing in skill building, early career development, and well-being of your workforce
  • Target and show up often in the digital sphere of Gen Z talent
  • Help candidates to stand out and demonstrate their skills
  • Share compelling stories that candidates can see themselves reflected in
  • Take a multi-faceted and high touch approach during peak recruitment periods

Last time, we kicked off this six-part series focused on successful virtual recruitment and employer branding approaches by taking a deeper dive into approach #1 – Give candidates a real look at “what’s behind the curtain” in your industry and organization.

For this installment, we will take a closer look at approach #2 – Commit to investing in skill-building, early career development, and the well-being of your employees.

Let’s begin by considering “the why” – Here are the top reasons to incorporate this approach as a part of your organization’s recruitment and retention strategy:

1. Professional development is what top early career talent wants most in an employer.

In TalentEgg’s annual survey of students and new grads, professional development is consistently rated at the top of what they are looking for in a potential employer and as a key influencer in their career decision-making. This point has only been driven home since the onset of the pandemic; Gen Y and Z talent are looking for (and are far more likely to stay with) employers who enable them to develop the critical skills they need to succeed on the job and advance in their careers.

2. It’s a win–win!

In study after study conducted recently around the globe, “soft” skills have emerged as the “critical” skills required for employees to meaningfully contribute to their organization’s goals and objectives.  By building the capacity of your workforce with the in-demand skills needed for success in your lines of business, you are not only benefiting your talent but also your customers, your managers and leaders, and ultimately, your organization’s bottom line.

3. Improve engagement and retention by fostering a workplace culture that is safe, healthy, inclusive, and committed to excellence.

Investing in the skill-building of your workforce contributes to employees feeling that they are valued, that continuous learning is embedded into your culture, that your organization is a partner in their success, and there is the potential for career advancement. In addition, development focus in areas like mental health and diversity and inclusion can create a greater sense of psychological safety and belonging within your organization. These are all well-established drivers of employee engagement and, particularly as the “Great Resignation” continues to play out, are among the major factors contributing to an employee’s decision to stay or move on.

4. Burnish your employer brand

With a commitment to your talent’s growth, resilience, and career success, comes the reward of strengthening your employer brand.  It is incredibly compelling for students, new graduates, and early career talent to see and hear firsthand how your employees’ career success has stemmed from investment in their development at career events on your recruiting calendar like alumni coffee chats, TalentEgg Talks events, career fairs and speed networking.  You will also experience the benefit of employees becoming brand ambassadors as they share their career and learning successes on platforms like LinkedIn and are more likely to refer friends and colleagues to open opportunities.

Now that we have explored “the why”… let’s talk about “the how”.  

We like to think we have made this piece as easy as possible with the launch of the TalentEgg e-Learning Academy.  


Our specially curated offerings enable you to set-up new hires for career success with soft skills training, meaningfully address today’s workplace challenges, and foster a climate of engagement across your organization.

TalentEgg has worked with leading and trusted subject matter experts in soft skills development, mental health, and diversity, equity, and inclusion to produce the e-Learning Academy’s 26-course library and 3 full certificate programs. Current offerings, with even more being added over the coming months, include:

Backpack to Briefcase – Introduction to Workplace Soft Skills

A 5-course certificate program to support your new hire’s school to work transition with soft skills training for their first co-op, internship, or entry level job.


Briefcase to Boardroom – Intermediate Soft Skills to Advance Careers

A 10-course certificate program to take your employees’ soft skills to the next level and set them up for career success.


Mental Health and Psychological Safety in the Workplace Master Certificate Program 

This 10-course Master Certificate Program, developed by leading psychologists and mental health professionals, explores the many facets of workplace mental health and provides clear guidance to employee wellness professionals, managers, leaders, and HR on strategies for fostering psychological safety and well-being at work.


Diversity, Sensitivity, and Inclusion Training: Promoting Anti-Discrimination and Equity in the Workplace

This course offers your employees insight into the individual rights and responsibilities we all have when it comes to anti-discrimination, diversity, sensitivity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. It is designed to set the foundation for creating an inclusive and respectful work culture where every person can rise to their potential.

Volume-based discounts and your own fully branded versions to easily integrate into your on-boarding and training programs are also available. To explore and learn more about TalentEgg’s e-Learning offerings, click here.

And, If you are from a post-secondary institution or campus career centre, these courses and programs make a great addition to your career education offerings for students and recent alumni, as well add value to and build engagement within your institution’s own workplace. Click here to find out more.

As always, TalentEgg is here to support you in achieving your campus recruitment goals. Please do not hesitate to reach out to discuss your needs or to set-up a full walk through of all that TalentEgg and our e-Learning Academy have to offer.  

Until next time…

Nancy Sammon – A Champion for Students and EDI

For many students and recent grads, job hunting can be stressful and sometimes even intimidating. From resume and interview preparation, engaging employers in a virtual world, to finding a company whose values align with your own, it is no easy task to find the right opportunity for you. 

As a Relationship Manager at the Smith School of Business, Queen’s University, Nancy supports her corporate partners and is a trusted advisor in effectively engaging with both undergraduate and graduate students on campus. She also ensures students feel comfortable, confident, and to be their true authentic self throughout the on-campus recruitment (OCR) process.


Q. Tell us a bit about yourself!

A. With over 30 years of experience and a recognized leader in employer branding and campus recruitment, I would say my passion is helping students make the transition from school to work.

Prior to joining the team at Smith, I was the Director of University Relations at  TD Bank Group. I also held other key HR and talent acquisition roles across the organization throughout my career at TD. 

I have also had the privilege of being an active contributor to the community of career educators and employers focused on the school to work transition. As my career has unfolded, I have become a bit of a knowledge keeper of best practices in the campus space and am excited to share these any chance I get and with anyone who will listen.

I really see myself as a connector of people, skills, knowledge, and ideas.

Q. Why did you decide to go into Career Education?

A. I saw an opportunity to leverage my expertise in campus recruitment to support a broader base of employers in making connections to and engaging with top talent.  

I also used to hold sessions called “#NancysInTheHouse” when I was recruiting on campus to support diverse students in demystifying the career search and finding the right opportunity for them.  

So, my role as a Relationship Manager was a natural extension of what I love to do and a solid entry point for me into the Career Advancement Center (CAC) at Smith. I am also a proud Queen’s alumni, so it felt like a really good fit when the opportunity presented itself.

Q. What is one of your greatest achievements so far in your work with students?

A. My greatest achievement would have to be the creation of a unique opportunity for our corporate partners to engage with the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigenization (EDII) focused Student Clubs at the Smith School of Business. Since 2020, The CAC facilitates an annual Diversity Fair for over 100 employer representatives to diversify their talent pipeline directly connecting with the executives of our EDII clubs via lightning talks and dedicated networking lounges. What was truly amazing for me about this event was for student leaders to have their voices heard by employers and to see the wonderful engagement that this event enabled across the board.

Overall, the fairs have been a huge success based on the positive feedback from both our student leaders and corporate partners in attendance. Following the launch of these initiatives, our Career Advancement Center was honored to receive a number of awards from organizations like CIBC and the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE) in recognition of this important work.

Q. What do you think students and employers need to understand when it comes to EDII?

A. From an Employer vantage point, they need to be really strategic in their EDII initiatives .It cannot be a once and done or a cookie cutter approach, they need to be thinking about how each community wants to be engaged. A big part of my role is supporting initiatives which help employers connect with diverse talent. A prime example would be our work in creating a best practices guide for employers in engaging with students from an EDII lens.

And, in supporting students, our work is about helping them to understand what EDII actually looks like in the workplace and providing resources such as mentoring, alumni connections, events, and other opportunities to do their research and find organizations that will embrace their authentic selves throughout their career.

Advice and Insights

Q. What do you think is the best way for employers to connect with and attract top students right now?

A. From my viewpoint, year-round engagement is critical. Whether it is info sessions, 1:1 coffee chats, alumni panels, attending industry nights, roundtables or the like, employers need to make their presence and opportunities known to students and recent grads. Their engagement needs to include diverse representation and perspectives, so students can see themselves reflected in their organizations. 

In a virtual world, employers also need to be thinking about how they can support students to have their voices heard and in standing out as candidates. Consider smaller and more niche events as a part of your recruitment strategy versus solely focussing on large events. Now, more than ever, it is important to engage partners like Career Centres and TalentEgg in your campus strategy to help build your brand amongst students and reach the top talent you need to drive your organization forward!

About Nancy

Nancy is a Relationship Manager and Career Connector who has over 30 years of experience in the campus recruitment space. She is passionate about bridging the gap between school-to-work for students, as well as helping maintain a strong connection between employers and diversity clubs on campus. Connect with Nancy on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/nancymoulday/ and visit https://smith.queensu.ca/recruiting/index.php to learn more about the Smith School of Business, Queen’s University and services of the Career Advancement Centre.

A Meaningful Career Journey

Employers and Career Educators, I ask you, what does being on a meaningful career journey look like to you?  

From my perspective, you are on a meaningful career journey if you approach your work with enthusiasm, are able to use your strengths to make a positive impact, and are financially independent.  

This is something many of us wish for. In fact, a recent worldwide study conducted by Ipsos found that out of almost 20,000 adults surveyed, 48% indicated that one of the greatest sources of their happiness was “feeling that my life has meaning”. 

Research conducted by the Brainstorm Strategy Group with 16,000 post-secondary students indicated that after “balancing work-life with personal life” students stated that their most important career goal is to “feel that I am serving a cause or greater good”.

In my recently published book, “Backpack to Briefcase, A Student’s Guide to a Meaningful Career Journey”, I provide readers with the steps and activities to guide them to launch their meaningful career. The book is divided into three phases, Discover, Build and Launch.

The ikigai

ikigai framework

I begin by introducing readers to the ikigai framework. Ikigai is a Japanese word that roughly means “your reason for being”. You can identify your ikigai by discovering the answers to 4 questions posed in the circles in the diagram shown here. Your ikigai is found where the four circles intersect. 

The ikigai circles capture: 

  1. Circle 1: What You Love
  2. Circle 2: What You Are Good At
  3. Circle 3: What the World Needs
  4. Circle 4: What You Can be Paid For

Is there a role for Employers and Career Educators to guide students to discover their ikigai

I believe so. 

Here are some suggestions for guiding students to discover their ikigai. And I am sure you will recognize that you are already doing so!

What Can Employers Do?

  1. Circle 1: What You Love: When meeting students, employers can ask students to identify their passions, interests and hobbies, either in casual conversation or to break the ice.
  2. Circle 2: What You Are Good At: In interviews, to help students recognize their strengths or what they are good at, employers may ask students to share a task that they completed that they were proud of. Following up with a question to ask them to reflect on which of their strengths they used to accomplish this task, will tease out their natural talents.
  3. Circle 3: What the World Needs: When you are attending Career Fairs or networking events, share with candidates your company’s goals, values, and mission. This allows students to evaluate how their values align with your organization’s. 
  4. Circle 4: What You Can be Paid For: As industry experts, share your knowledge about the state of your industry, the salary ranges, and the skills that are required for future roles. This provides young people with a sense of “where the puck is going” so they can acquire the skills employers are seeking.

What Can Career Educators Do?

  1. Circle 1: What You Love: Educators can continue to encourage students to step out of their comfort zone by joining clubs, taking different courses, or developing new passions.
  2. Circle 2: What You Are Good At: Instructors can promote completing the Gallup CliftonStrengths® or the Myers-Briggs® assessment, offered through the Career Center. This will provide students a way to identify and articulate their strengths and unique traits. 
  3. Circle 3: What the World Needs: Have conversations with students about world issues. This will help students to consider which challenges or issues they are passionate about solving. In addition, showing student the ways to identify organizations that are already working on these challenges allows them to see that they can align their energies with others. 
  4. Circle 4: What You Can be Paid For: Offer workshops or webinars outlining how to tap into Labour Market Information such as industry forecasts, salary ranges, attrition rates and the skills that are forecasted to be in demand. This information helps students narrow down their options.  

In summary, these and many other ways allow you to prompt, guide and assist students as they discover their own sense of what is meaningful to them. This can lead them to a life with purpose, where they know that they are making a positive impact on the world, and feel energized on their journey as they pivot from role to role in response to growing and learning about themselves.  

A life well-lived is more than fleeting moments of happiness; it also has meaning and purpose.  

Profile photo of Stephanie Koonar MBA, BA PsychBiography: Stephanie Koonar is a marketing professional, academic, career coach, and workshop facilitator. A community connector, she is an award-winning college instructor who has taught over 4,000 students. Member of CACEE and member of the ACE-WIL BC research committee. A Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach and Co-Founder of PeerSpectives Consulting, she enjoys coaching purpose-driven individuals and organizations to be their best.

Stephanie and her PeerSpectives Consulting Co-Founder, Louann McCurdy are available to partner with Employers and Educators to collaborate on program development, guest speak, and facilitate workshops. Contact Stephanie at SK.Peerspectives@gmail.com

Interested in getting your own copy of the Backpack to Briefcase book?   

You can purchase it here career

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