Georgian alumna wins Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Global Citizen Award

The newest member of Georgian’s Alumni Association Executive Council is a recognized changemaker and award-winning global citizen.

Maria Artuso, a graduate of both Georgian’s Business Administration – General diploma program and Human Resource Management graduate certificate, is recipient of the 2019 RBC Global Citizen award.

The RBC Global Citizen Award program is a partnership between RBC and WE – the global organization founded by Craig Kielburger. The program recognizes the enthusiasm and eagerness of RBC employees who help communities prosper. The award also celebrates top-performing employees who have displayed an incredible commitment to giving their time and expertise to their communities by volunteering and leading charitable initiatives. These employees show what can be accomplished by their acts of giving and create positive social change through their actions.

RBC launched the award in 2016.

“I’m so proud, humbled, extremely grateful and excited for this opportunity,” says Maria, Director, Business Enablement and Performance, RBC Insurance Services Inc. at RBC Insurance in Meadowvale. “I’m envisioning a rollercoaster of emotions to set in.”

Maria leaves April 27 for Nairobi and the Maasai Mara where she will be part of a WE team. Over the course of the nine-day trip, she will experience what everyday life is like for the people who live there as well as contribute to a sustainable development project.

“This is definitely an opportunity to share in a lifetime experience with those who have believed in me, and supported me, either as a student, colleague, and community partner,” says Maria. “I’m very thankful to my employer as this trip reinforces the great partnership that RBC has with WE, an organization that emphasizes community engagement, support and self-reliance.”

Maria adds that as someone who is committed to helping make the world a better place through volunteerism, mentoring, and paying it forward, she’s proud of her employer for allowing their employees to experience such a lifetime memory.

As a child of immigrant parents who didn’t have the opportunity or resources for a postsecondary education, Maria says her drive for community involvement and volunteerism really started after college.

“They worked tirelessly and extremely hard to ensure my brother and I had food on the table, warm clothing on our back, a roof over our head, and an education so we could be something great and contribute to society,” says Maria. “Education was an important part of our up-bringing, along with knowing the importance of helping family and neighbours whenever, wherever, and however. I suppose we call this ‘paying it forward’ today,” she adds.

A head shot of a woman with shoulder-length dark hair and glasses. She's smiling at the camera.
A dark-haired woman receiving an award from a man dressed in a suit. They''re standing on a stage in front of a black curtain.

RBC notes that Maria is a global citizen not only because of her personal involvement in the community but for her ability to mobilize and inspire others to raise their hand and volunteer as well. She volunteers with many different organizations annually with one of her main focuses being Junior Achievement (a youth financial literacy initiative). Maria has worked with them for over 15 years, starting in Barrie and bringing her connections with the organization to Ottawa and the GTA.

Maria was also the co-chair of a Women’s ERG and NextGen ERG (employee resource group) that she helped launch in Ottawa. In partnership with the group, she worked closely with the Ottawa Community Immigration Services Organization in developing a pilot program supporting immigrant women in the financial services industry.

Additionally, Maria is an active board member of the Carleton University Centre of Research and Education on Women and Work with the Management Certificate for Women. It’s a unique seven-month professional program designed for highly motivated women who wish to enhance their management, leadership skills and elevate their influence) taking her youth and women mentorship to the next generation of our workforce.

She will begin her board duties on Georgian’s Alumni Association Executive Council when she returns from Nairobi.

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