We Rise By Lifting Others

A proud South Londoner of Bangladeshi and Irish heritage, Joy Crookes is a multihyphenate artist shaped by a rich tapestry of influences. She’s a singer-songwriter and multi instrumentalist. In 2020, Joy made the prestigious BRITS Rising Star Award shortlist, as well as placing fourth on the BBC Sound Poll, and headlining ‘ones to watch’ lists from YouTube Music, Amazon Music, MTV Push, NME and beyond. Renowned for her live performances, Joy has played Glastonbury, BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend and Later…With Jools Holland, as well as selling out her own headline tours across the UK and Europe.

WOMEN IN FINANCE

Meg Zucker


Meg Zucker is a Managing Director at RBC Capital Markets with more than 25 years of experience in Anti-Money Laundering, Economic Sanctions and Financial Crime. Meg is also the Founder and President of Don’t Hide It, Flaunt it, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that works to advance acceptance, understanding, tolerance and mutual respect for a person’s visible or invisible difference. 

"I’ve discovered that the most joyful state is to not be consumed by external judgment. Being unique, therefore, should trigger feelings of pride rather than shame for anyone. 'The things that make me different make me, me' is a concept that drives us to embrace our differences as a gift."
 

MEG ZUCKER

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I was born with a genetic condition called Ectrodactyly, which is a Greek medical term that literally means ‘missing digits’. Because my parents didn’t treat me any differently from my two brothers, they raised me to be fiercely independent rather than fearful. And so, rather than being overprotective, they encouraged me to pursue my passions. As a result, their approach left me completely empowered. Although I looked so blatantly different from everyone I knew or encountered, because of my parents I always felt completely normal. 

 

I was born in the United States, but shortly after my parents moved our family to countries all around the world. We moved to Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel, and Egypt. Before the end of middle school we returned back to the US. Living abroad shaped me in so many different ways. I was always pushed outside of my comfort zone and frequently met people who would react to my difference with shock and concern my condition might even be contagious. It meant that I was constantly having to brace myself for anything and constantly redefine myself in new environments.

 

Around friends and family I was my social happy-go-lucky self, but in public - especially as a teenager - I would hide my hands in shame. At the time, I felt like being different was the worst part of me. 

Thankfully, my physical difference didn’t thwart my professional ambitions. I developed a passion early on for the field of anti-money laundering, economic sanctions and financial crime and so I became a Wall Street lawyer specializing in these fields.

My work at the Royal Bank of Canada fulfils me immensely. It is amazing when you discover you’re spending your time working in a field that you love where you can also make a positive societal impact. 

 

When I first had my children, two of three born with Ectrodactyly, I thought, "Well, my husband and I will just raise them like my parents raised me, never holding them back from anything.” Raising them has helped me to face my fears and learn to accept that being different is actually a huge gift. Due to my being different, I’ve gained a level of strength and resilience which I may not have otherwise experienced and have worked hard for my children and countless others to achieve the same. 

 

In 2011, I started a blog called Don't Hide it, Flaunt It (DHIFI) which ultimately became a non-profit that provides national Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and empathy programs to students of all ages. DHIFI also offers corporate diversity, equity and inclusion programming in Fortune 500 companies across the U.S. and beyond. Many of DHIFI’s programs are inspired by a theme I developed: 'The things that make me different make me, me!' I am thrilled when I witness other people also transforming from a place of shame to shine. Most importantly, difference has become something to be celebrated.

I believe that the opposite of love is not hate, but fear. I'm convinced that the only barrier between us all is actually fear, and the only real remedy is love, beginning with self-love.