Carolyn Wilkins was a 13-year veteran of the Bank of Canada when, in 2014, she was appointed to the job of senior deputy governor, making her the bank’s highest-ranking woman ever. While she is perhaps most recognizable from sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with governor Stephen Poloz for interest-rate announcements, Wilkins has also begun to shape how the bank communicates with the public. Maclean’s spoke with Wilkins while she was in Washington last week for the spring meeting of the IMF.
Q: What did you bring to this job that’s different from before?
A: Well, I’ve certainly followed some excellent senior deputy governors so it’s an interesting job to step into. One of the opportunities that the board of directors of the Bank of Canada took was to split the senior deputy governor job to take out the responsibilities of chief operating officer. That was a perfect opportunity to mould the job of senior deputy governor to be more focused on key policy issues. At the same time, our strategic plan was coming in. The contribution that I made in the leadership capacity was really on that. If you look in that plan, you’re going to see a lot of the things I believe are central to the bank’s success over the next couple of years. Those relate to learning the lessons from the financial crisis and a focus on fundamental research that’s attacking key issues, for example the fintec [financial technology] revolution, but also what’s happening in emerging markets like China and the transition we’re going through domestically. The other thing the governor and I are focused on is the culture of the bank and making it even more outward facing than it is.
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