Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 11, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why State Street Canada was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2017):
- State Street Canada supports the long-term career aspirations of its workforce with generous tuition subsidies for courses both related and unrelated to an employees' current position (to $5,000), opportunities for formal mentoring and in-house career planning services
- State Street Canada provides maternity and parental leave top-up payments for employees who are new mothers or fathers (including adoptive parents) and established a working parents group to provide a forum for employees to share insights and information
- State Street Canada works with a number of local and national charitable organizations, focusing on education and workforce development for disadvantaged populations, and encourages employees to give back to local communities by providing paid time off to volunteer and matching employee donations
Finding your career path at State Street Canada
Allison Kitamura thinks beyond silos. In her 12 years with State Street Canada, she has worked in five different departments. Starting as a foreign exchange specialist, she rose to vice president within Global Services, a role in which she identifies opportunities for automation across the company's many business units.
State Street Canada is a financial institution that provides custody and asset management, investment management and foreign exchange services. "Since we have a lot of back-office operations, my project involves streamlining them and making processes more efficient," she says. "I thrive on the interaction and collaboration I have with those different groups."
State Street encourages internal mobility, Kitamura says. "And personally, I find it challenging and interesting to continue to learn about different business units so that I don't stagnate in my role."
The culture within the Toronto office is very much aligned with State Street's global corporate culture, says Robert Baillie, head of State Street Canada. "Our employees are very driven, with a focus on servicing clients and building lasting relationships with those clients, as well as with the broader community."
The Toronto workforce comprises about 1,100 employees. State Street hires for client management, accounting, transfer agency, financial reporting and cash operations roles. In demand are business administration graduates (such as Kitamura), with a specialization in accounting, finance or economics. Personnel who have the Canadian Securities Course, Chartered Financial Analyst or accounting designations are highly sought.
Kitamura has benefitted from the company's support for continuing education. She received a tuition subsidy when earning her MBA degree part-time at York University's Schulich School of Business. Two years ago, she took a strategic leadership program offered by the company's State Street University.
"It was my first time taking a course that was virtual, with global participants across multiple business units," she says. A component involved working by phone with an external business coach on career development.
Kitamura has participated on both sides of the company's global mentorship program. This is her first year acting as a mentor. "The mentee and I meet monthly for an hour to discuss obstacles and challenges she is facing. It's been an open relationship in terms of my providing feedback, but I get to learn from her, too. I asked to be matched with someone from a different area of the bank."
Four years ago, Kitamura was herself a mentee. "My mentor encouraged me to branch out and join some of the employee affinity groups so that I could network and find out about other opportunities within the company."
In addition to the traditional one-to-one, face-to-face format, State Street also offers mentorship in a group setting and online. "Employees who are serious about their career development and wish to further their growth take advantage of these opportunities," says Baillie.
Kitamura has also grown through her volunteerism at State Street. For the past four years, she has chaired the global outreach committee. It organizes volunteer events for Toronto employees, such as stocking the Daily Bread Food Bank, preparing and serving meals at Ronald McDonald House and doing day-long "reading circles" at elementary schools.
She personally took part in the latter two activities in 2016, using the two paid volunteer days that State Street gives employees. (Last year, the company contributed nearly 3,000 hours of employee time to charities.)
Kitamura also chairs State Street's community support board, which oversees strategic grant-making. The company this year supported 22 charities in Canada, with priority to non-profits such as Pathways to Education, Youth Employment Services and 360 Kids that help upgrade the skills of disadvantaged individuals.
State Street not only matches employee donations, dollar for dollar (up to a set amount), but also matches employee volunteerism, dollars for hours. "It's good corporate citizenship," says Kitamura.