I've spent my entire career in the financial services industry and I'm often asked about women in the workplace. I believe that banks have long recognized the importance of a diverse workforce, and over the past several years much work has been done to support the professional development of diverse candidates – particularly women. Given the large number of women in banking, banks must manage their diversity results just like they manage NIAT -- by setting aggressive goals, building strong plans to achieve those goals and finally, by holding managers at every level accountable to achieve those goals.
TD Bank has a thriving Women in Leadership Committee, which I am proud to Chair in the U.S. Together, we do tremendous work to support women in achieving their maximum potential. We've implemented networking and mentoring programs, we've supported emerging leaders through executive development programs, and we've given access to a number of career development tools for women at every level. Our goal is to continue to drive forward-thinking programs that increase engagement and representation of women at all levels, making TD the Bank of choice for women. By focusing on brand and community engagement, workplace practices and policies and leadership in women, we are able to identify beyond gender and create opportunities for mentorship and sponsorship for women who are minorities, veterans, individuals with disabilities, and members of our LGBT community.
“Personally, I am always mindful of paying it forward in honor of those that took the time to invest in me…”
Personally, I am always mindful of paying it forward in honor of those that took the time to invest in me, and I have long been a champion for diversity in the workplace. Through the years, I have spent a significant portion of my time mentoring diverse candidates and several years ago I started a group mentoring program for women in our Commercial Bank. The program was geared towards emerging leaders with a focus on both personal and professional development. During one of those sessions, a female commercial lender was voicing her concerns about lack of visibility because unlike her male counterparts, she didn't golf. Interestingly, when probed why she didn't golf, it wasn't because she didn't like the sport, but rather, she didn't know how to golf. This is when it struck me that I had a significant opportunity to support and develop our female leaders through less conventional means, and I launched our Women in Leadership Golf Outings.
The success of this program has been significant. The program is simple: we offer participants the opportunity to play 9 holes, take a group lesson or just participate in the networking segment. What started out as a one-day group lesson and networking event, for a few women in New Jersey, has turned into monthly summer outings across the entire bank footprint from Maine to Florida! Not only are the events a great deal of fun, they have served as true spring boards for relationship building and cross-selling opportunities across the organization. To further increase the visibility of our women, we recently opened up the networking portion of the event to male leaders in the respective markets and the response has been extremely positive.
"At TD, our network of women is strong and with continued support, I feel like we are destined to do great things."
We've also launched successful programs to support women in technology which include mentoring programs, an executive-led speaker series as well as a weekly publication that discusses issues that women face both personally and professionally. Our technology department also offers an associates program which has representation of both men and women college graduates with a technology degree. Through the program, they complete several rotational assignments before being permanently placed in the company.
At TD, our network of women is strong and with continued strong support, I feel like we are destined to do great things.