Mary Robertson, Vice Chair, Corporate and Investment Banking


The Scotiabank Women Initiative® for Global Banking and Markets spoke with Mary Robertson in her new capacity as Advisor to the program’s Advisory Pillar and about we can expect in the coming months. 

Q&A Session

Q. Tell us about your involvement with The Scotiabank Women Initiative.

A. I joined The Scotiabank Women Initiative when it first launched in Global Banking and Markets back in 2019. I was inspired by our program’s potential to make a positive professional impact for our women clients and our corporate clients who are committed to advancing an inclusion mandate. I was originally Co-Lead of our Advisory Pillar and recently, took on the role of Advisor when my colleague Michelle Khalili, Managing Director and Head, Global Equity Capital Markets, assumed greater responsibilities as Executive Lead for The Scotiabank Women Initiative across Global Banking and Markets.

Q. What is the focus of the Advisory Pillar?

A. The Advisory Pillar is both a vehicle to provide senior-level women with development opportunities, and also a means to support our corporate and institutional clients on their own diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) journeys. Our signature initiative is the Scotiabank Good Corporate Governance Program which supports women in senior leadership roles and their corporate board participation. The program is led by Julie Walsh, Scotiabank’s own Chief Corporate Governance Officer, and has received tremendous feedback from our clients who value this uniquely intimate, interactive and enriching development opportunity.

An invaluable offshoot of this program is that, as program participants complete our curriculum, we add them to our Board-Ready Database, building a diverse pool of women leaders with varied skills and expertise whom we can refer to our clients whenever they seek candidates to fill board seats. This unique ability to connect committed public companies who are looking to diversify their boards with top-calibre board candidates is a differentiator for our Bank.

Q. With the program now marking its third year, what makes you most proud?

A. I’m most proud of how much our team has accomplished in a few short years, since we went from a white sheet of paper to tangible initiatives that provide real value to our participants. I credit our team of past and present committee members who dedicate much time and energy bringing these ideas to life. We’ve executed on many impactful initiatives – despite the complications created by the pandemic – and guided five cohorts of women leaders through our Good Corporate Governance Program and created a Board-Ready Database of highly qualified women board candidates.

Q. What can clients and colleagues expect from the program in the coming months?

A. We’re looking forward to welcoming our sixth cohort to our Good Corporate Governance Program in the fall – and return to an even more interactive, in-person format. We’re planning to further expand our programs across our Global Banking and Markets network so that more clients can access our initiatives, including our U.S.-based clients. We’re also expanding the variety of event topics, to match the interests of current and experienced women directors who may want to refine specific skills or knowledge about unfolding issues relevant to their roles, boardroom dynamics and increased scrutiny on board performance.

Clients also have access to our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Insights program through our Advisory Pillar – it’s where we share our broader experience in advancing DE&I initiatives through client meetings. With so many organizations focused on building more inclusive workplaces, this provides an important opportunity for Scotiabank and our clients to talk candidly about our DE&I journeys, as we all strive to build sustainable and effective corporate cultures.

Q. In addition to your leadership of The Scotiabank Women Initiative, what would you like people to know about your role as Vice Chair of Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB)?

A. In my role, I work across all of our sectors, regions and teams within Global Banking and Markets to support and enhance the coverage by delivering the whole Bank to our clients, with the goal of strengthening and deepening relationships at the executive and board levels. I also collaborate with colleagues on the CIB Engagement Committee – specifically, as the lead of the Wellbeing Committee which was formed to promote wellbeing among our employees, as we all transition back to the office. We want to create the conditions that allow us to perform our best for our clients and each other. It’s an exciting time to come back together and build for the future.

Learn more about The Scotiabank Women Initiative

For more about The Scotiabank Women Initiative and the various programs available, please reach out to your Relationship Manager at Global Banking and Markets or email us at