Four of the five Athena pillars relate directly to women empowerment in the workplace and so this continues to be a large portion of our internal drive.

We have seen immense growth in this area as we have finalised policies around discretionary time management and sponsorship. In addition numerous new work streams have begun all helping us to gain traction in this space. One of our proud success stories to empower women in the workplace is the creation of the RMB LOTUS Programme.

The RMB LOTUS Programme

Like a lotus flower that grows out of the darkest mud and blossoms above the water surface, women too can rise above their challenges in the workplace.

In May 2016 forty RMB women enrolled on the bank’s first female empowerment programme – aptly called the RMB LOTUS Programme. This year we are part way through our second cohort of women and the Programme has grown from 40 women in 2016 to 60 women in 2017.

Through the Programme the women explore their own true strength, potential and purpose in a male dominated industry. These are their stories.

“The RMB LOTUS Programme grew out of a need to grow and groom more female leaders in the bank. The Programme is so called because it speaks to both femininity and strength.

The lotus flower grows in muddy water – yet rises above this in order to bloom,” says Ilka Dunne, who heads up Leadership and Culture at RMB Human Capital and is Custodian of the RMB LOTUS Programme.

The RMB LOTUS Programme is built on the Athena initiative’s ‘Lean-In’ philosophy – to encourage women to grow as natural leaders through networking and development opportunities, while the bank in turn benefits from attracting and retaining more female talent.

“We want to support and enable women in the bank to make purposeful and meaningful choices that will not only have a positive impact on their careers, but also in their personal lives,” adds Ilka.

The RMB LOTUS Programme is an intensive seven-month Programme made up of short modules, networking sessions and master classes to help high-achieving women in the bank address challenges and enable them to make purposeful and meaningful choices to manage their careers in a more powerful and authentic manner.

  • Gain clarity on their values, strengths and purpose
  • Develop behaviours that will enable them to exert greater influence in the workplace
  • Build and leverage strategic networks through learning networking skills and practising these at numerous networking events
  • Become better at owning their time through learning to think about time differently
  • Effectively manage their careers in changing times through building their capacity for mindfulness through whole body care

“The Programme is an engaging, supportive and exploratory process coupled with practical tools and relevant applications It has a strong psychometric base in that we use Strengthfinder and an Emotional Intelligence assessment which enables women to understand where they are today, in order to help them choose their tomorrow,” says Ilka.

"Being on the RMB LOTUS Programme made me realise (much to my surprise), that I am a born leader. I believe that the skills I gained and the coaching I received from being on the RMB LOTUS Programme will help me to become a great leader at work and in my personal life."– Tumi Zwane, SharePoint Solutions Administrator at the RMB InfoZone.

"The RMB LOTUS Programme encourages women to grab their rightful seats at a boardroom table and provides them with the tools to stand tall and put their names into that hat without second guessing themselves. It also encourages women to develop their networks and use these networks for support. The Programme also fostered much self-reflection in terms of our personal future career aspirations."– Dharshni Padayachee, Talent Manager, RMB Global Markets

"Men and women bring different strengths to the workplace. These strengths, together, lend to diversity in the workplace. An appreciation for the strengths that each brings, leads to stronger teams and more innovation in the workplace. While RMB is not the only the only financial services provider to focus on gender equality, it certainly is a leader in this area. The support for Athena and the RMB LOTUS Programme, not only by senior leaders, but across the organisation bears testament to this."– Dharshni

Do you want to learn more about how we empower women in the bank?