RBC Wealth Management executive Kristen Kimmell is working to bring more women and diverse talent into the firm with her appointment as head of adviser recruiting and field marketing.

Kimmell works closely with RBC's global head of diversity and human resources to recruit and retain diverse advisers and corporate staff and leads the firm's drive to do the same in wealth management while elevating the role of women in the industry.

At RBC, the number of female advisers has grown 23% and the number of female branch directors has doubled across its network of close to 2,000 advisers over the last two years, the largest such increases in firm history, according to the company.

"At the top of my priority list is bringing in and recruiting the best talent to RBC and then ensuring that we've got greater diversity specifically focusing on women and other groups that are underrepresented," Kimmell said.

Kimmell has been a driving force behind initiatives including "Your Path Can Lead to RBC," a video series highlighting women advisers.

RBC last week launched a video series aimed at increasing diversity in its corporate staff and adviser ranks, featuring employees describing what brought them to the firm, Kimmell said.

RBC this year announced expanded and enhanced benefits to promote diversity and inclusion and support work-life balance, including a milk-storage service for breast-feeding mothers, Kimmel said.

With more than two decades at the firm, Kimmell served as chief of staff at RBC Wealth Management from 2010 until her appointment to her new role in September. She also is co-executive sponsor of RBC Wealth Management's Women Association of Financial Advisors (WAFA).

"Kristen's out-of-the-box thinking and ability to bring together teams to accomplish goals have been proven time and time again throughout her career at RBC," Michael Armstrong, CEO of RBC Wealth Management, said in a release. "There is really no better person for this role and I can't wait to see just how big of an impact she will have."

Q: How will increasing diversity benefit RBC clients?

A: Women control 51% of the wealth today. It's important for us and for this industry to have financial advisers that can meet the needs of those investors.

There are statistics or research showing that 70% of females are looking for a female financial adviser to help them manage their wealth.

Getting that representation across our financial adviser platform allows us to meet their needs and help them achieve their goals.

Q: What motivates you to encourage women to join the financial-services industry?

A: I always enjoyed math and knew that was something I wanted as part of my career. I'll never forget meeting with my career counselor who said, "I have no idea what to do with you." I found my way here and what I would like to do is make it easier for other females to find their way into these types of roles.

Q: What role does WAFA play?

A: One piece is recruiting new top talent. The other piece is recruiting our own. The theme is connecting every female in every branch so that they feel like they're part of a broader organization and females. That allows us to encourage more females to consider leadership roles.

Todd Nelson is a freelance writer in Lake Elmo. His e-mail is todd_nelson@mac.com.