Lawrence Spicer, Bill 7 Donor and Vice President at RBC
Lawrence Spicer, VP Internal Audit, Personal & Commercial Banking, RBC, is also Executive Chair for RBC Pride Canada, and a generous supporter of the Bill 7 Trust.
What's your connection to the Bill 7 Awards?
Since 2014 I’ve had the honour to bring greetings on behalf of RBC at the Bill 7 Awards night. In the past two years my husband and I have become scholarship sponsors and have been thrilled to meet the talented young people who have been the recipients of our support.
Could you tell us a little about the other LGBTQ causes you support?
One of my personal passions and areas of interest is the support and development of LGBTQ leaders. So in addition to supporting the undergraduate students as recipients of the Bill 7 Awards, I am also an avid supporter of the Start Proud organization www.startproud.org and in particular as a speaker and panelist at the Start Proud Speaker series for LGBTQ Young Professionals and Students.
This speaker series sponsored by RBC is a series of national events where industry and young professionals come together to share experiences as LGBTQ leaders and the challenges and opportunities that brings. It is a terrific venue for LGBTQ young professionals and students to meet and make contact with industry representatives from finance, engineering, law and banking.
Why do you feel LGBTQ-specific scholarships, such as the Bill 7 Award, are particularly important?
Scholarships like the Bill 7 Awards are crucial in helping young LGBTQ students feel more confident in achieving their goals and provide a hand of support to overcome all too common biases associated with being LGBTQ. Fundamentally, it is the financial hand that will help them achieve their academic goals and set them on the path to their chosen career. When you have the opportunity to hear the recipients speak about where they have come from, their contributions to the community, their academic success and their career goals, it is impossible to not want to support such a worthwhile organization.
Do you have a memorable Bill 7 Award moment?
I can recall a number of stories from many of the recipients and it is hard to pinpoint one that is the most memorable. What I would tell you is that the impression I am always left with each year, as I attend the award ceremony, is that while the natural tendency would be for one to focus on the adversity that so many of these young LGBTQ students have overcome as they have come out to friends and family, it is their selfless focus on giving back to the community and being so focused on the future that is so inspiring. You leave the evening feeling like you have witnessed positive energy and hope like you have never witnessed before!
What advice would you give to LGBTQ youth at this post-secondary stage of their life?
One piece of advice I would give LGBTQ youth – in addition to excelling academically and finding something you are passionate about that supports your community – would be to invest in building relationships early in your career. Being active in finding people who are doing the kind of work you like and that you respect is a good start at building career relationships. You will never know why a person has come into your social, academic or work sphere. However, these contacts, the individuals with whom you build relationships, will be the people who help you continue to learn, grow and excel in your chosen career path. Seek out mentors who will tell you the honest truth and give you the feedback you need, when you need it and support you as you grow in experience and confidence.
Is there a specific book you’d always recommend to LGBTQ youth?
There is a book I am currently reading that I am finding fascinating and I would highly recommend it to LGBTQ young people who are interested in leadership. The book is “The G Quotient,” by Kirk Snyder. The author examines why gay executives are excelling as leaders. “The G Quotient” was named to the Harvard Business Review’s 2006 reading list.
What’s your message to potential Bill 7 Award donors?
My advice for potential donors would be this: If you are unsure the Bill 7 Awards is all about, you need attend the awards ceremony and experience an evening of inspiring stories shared by the student recipients. The evening is such an inspiring and positive event that you will definitely feel confident that your donation, no matter how large or small, is going to a cause that is investing not only in the lives of the LGBTQ youth, but also an investment in our communities and future leaders of Canada.