Inspiring Grade 12 students across Canada: RBC Stories of Empowerment

First Book Canada launches virtual series featuring prominent keynote speakers to engage, inspire and interact with students through literacy.

TORONTO (Thursday, May 13th, 2021) – First Book Canada (FBC) in partnership with the RBC Foundation, launched RBC Stories of Empowerment – a virtual event series for grade 12 students at eight secondary schools across Canada. The virtual events will each feature a prominent writer, entrepreneur, or athlete, among other keynote speakers, to share stories and personal experiences about mental health, career planning, workplace readiness and various other topics.

Each speaker comes with a wealth of knowledge, and a published book about their life story. They will talk about facing challenges, coping with stress, dealing with failure and their life journeys to motivate students. To further engage and inspire, each student will receive a copy of the book about their presentation’s speaker.

 “We are thrilled to launch the full RBC Stories of Empowerment series this spring,” Tom Best, Executive Director of First Book Canada said today. “We believe that building confidence and gaining knowledge from speakers and mentors will be invaluable for the participating students. In addition, the students will have access to brand new books that will further boost their confidence and provide important lessons as they embark on the next journey in their lives, whether that is entering post-secondary education, learning a trade or applying for a job.”

“Through RBC Future Launch, our goal is to empower and prepare Canadian youth for the unprecedented changes and opportunities arising in the workforce,” said Tanis Feasby, Vice-President, Brand and Marketing, RBC Wealth Management. “We’re honoured to continue supporting First Book Canada’s Stories of Empowerment Program. We know that first-hand access to hearing distinguished authors share their journeys could help high school students to re-imagine their futures, navigate their mental health, and consider all their career opportunities.”

RBC Future Launch is RBC’s commitment to empowering Canadian youth for the jobs of tomorrow. RBC is dedicating $500 million to help young people access meaningful employment through practical work experience, skills development, networking, and access to mental well-being supports and services. Learn more at:

Speakers set to take part in RBC Stories of Empowerment are:

Hon. David Johnston: Trust: Twenty Ways to Build a Better Country

David Ash Simple Wealth: Six Proven Principles for Financial Freedom

Charlene Bearchild: Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada

Ronald Caplan (Editor): Pearleen Oliver: Canada’s Black Crusader for Civil Rights

Joe and Karen Gold: Two Pieces of Cloth: One Family’s Story of the Holocaust

Naomi Klein with Rebecca Stefoff: How to Change Everything

Adam Shoalts: Beyond the Trees

Jordin Tootoo with Stephen Brunt: All the Way: My Life on Ice

About First Book Canada
Founded in 2009, FBC provides new, high-quality books to children who would otherwise have no books Through a network of over 13,500 members, our work reaches schools, shelters, social service organizations, new-immigrant transition centres and many other programs across Canada that serve kids in need. By building up the home libraries of less-advantaged children, we work to reduce the educational inequities that entrench many Canadians in poverty. First Book Canada was listed amongst the 2020 Top 10 Canadian Impact Charities and Top 10 Impact: Youth Charities, as rated by Charity Intelligence Canada.


Media Contact:

Tom Best, Executive Director,
First Book Canada