By Allison Barss

As he was building a thriving, 35-year career in finance, alum Robert Hayes (BComm’87) also married a fellow Dal grad with whom he raised triplets — all of whom also graduated from Dal and, like him, became positive contributors to society.


Robert Hayes (BComm’87) is grateful. He’s worked hard and given his time generously to community organizations. But his deepest pride comes from his family, including his 22-year-old triplets, who he’s raised alongside his wife, Jacquie (MBA’01).

Hayes is the Managing Director of the Enterprise Strategic Client Group with RBC in Calgary, a role he says is the best in banking. “It’s very strategic and allows me to work with incredibly successful entrepreneurial clients, while using the skills I’ve learned throughout my career,” he adds. But the road here first included financial sector positions in his native Halifax and then Ontario, plus one very big life curveball: the birth of triplets.

“It was the shock of a lifetime,” he says of the moment the doctor showed Hayes and his wife Jacquie not one, but three tiny, on-screen flutters at an ultrasound appointment. “What are we going to do?” a nervous-but-excited Hayes asked Jacquie. Together, they made it work: “It took a village in those early days, including our moms who took turns flying in, and many local friends and colleagues who lent helping hands.”

Three little Tigers

Although those early months with three babies were a blur, Hayes recalls a time when—as Jacquie worked toward her MBA remotely from Dalhousie—a care package arrived from Dal. It included coffee mugs and three stuffed tigers. “It was such a kind gesture,” says Hayes. “You could say our kids were destined to go to Dal from the very beginning.”

Triplets Hannah (BComm’22), Emily (BComm’22) and Alexander (BComm’22) were born happy and healthy in June 2000. All graduated from Dal’s Faculty of Management, like their parents.

Hayes says he knew from the time he transferred from Dal sciences to commerce that a career in the financial industry—specifically, commercial and corporate banking—intrigued him. “I knew I could apply my new skills to the workforce right away.”

“Dad’s been in business a long time and I’ve always looked up to him,” shares Hannah, who hopes to open her own company. “Growing up, we’ve been around a lot of other successful, business-minded people, too. It’s been inspiring.”

Emily, who’s now exploring her own career in finance, agrees. “The more I talked to dad and his business contacts, the more I realized that going into business can really open doors for you.”

And Alexander adds that the values instilled by their parents extend beyond professional work. “We were raised to know the meaning of dedication, kindness and of course family,” he says. “We were brought up to help make the world a kinder place.” Alexander is now enrolled in the Schulich School of Law at Dal.

Giving back to community

Growing up, the triplets watched their father volunteer with community-based organizations, including at-risk youth centres, and together the family took a trip to Tijuana, Mexico through Homes of Hope, where they helped build homes for those less privileged than themselves.

It’s these values and experiences that Hayes is most proud to offer his kids. “Success in life is about more than just chasing the almighty dollar,” he says. “It’s about helping others and giving back to the community.”

Today, Hayes remains an active community member, currently serving on such boards as Calgary Economic Development, the Calgary Film Centre, and Wood’s Homes, a Calgary-based, not-for-profit children’s mental health organization.

Hayes shares that his greatest hope for his kids is that they will help make the world a better place. “They are well-rounded kids,” he says. “Where they go with their careers remains to be determined, but I know they will be positive, contributors to society. That’s all I can ask for.”