TD Bank, a 2022 Best Company for Multicultural Women, understands the value that women and women of color bring to the table within their organization. From creating safe spaces for women to be unapologetically ambitious to accelerated sponsorship programs, TD Bank places a true emphasis on the importance of women excelling. We recently sat down with them to learn about which of their programs and initiatives help multicultural women thrive at their organization and future plans to help women of color progress even more.
The Carolinas WIL Mentorship Group is open to all women in TD’s North and South Carolina footprint, but due to the demographics of these locations, more than half of the mentors and mentees are women of color. This program runs annual cohorts and, on average, at least one-third of participants move into new roles or are promoted by the end of the six-month session. Monthly sponsorship topics include personal branding, communication, leadership, networking, and more.
The LEAD program, which stands for Leadership, Engagement, Achievement, Development, is an accelerated sponsorship program to develop and advance talented women leaders in the Commercial Bank to achieve legendary results and create a community of thought leaders and influencers. On an annual basis, the program targets six high-performing women in the Commercial Bank and helps them achieve their career goals at TD and the goals of the Commercial Bank. In addition to promoting employee retention and building the commercial executive bench with greater gender balance, this initiative aligns with TD’s goal of supporting women in leadership and promoting diversity throughout all business lines.
WIL Circles—The Circle concept comes from the Lean In organization and is intended to be a space where women can be unapologetically ambitious. It’s a place for women to give voice to their dreams and find the encouragement to start chasing those dreams. It’s a place for sharing ideas, gaining skills, seeking advice, and showing solidarity. Most of all, it’s a place where women help each other become their best selves, and Circles help them get there. While the Circle concept isn’t new, the construct of the program in TD Bank US started in 2019 when the first pilot was kicked off in PA/NJ. One hundred ninety-two participants in that first pilot Circle led to 21 in-person Circles being launched later that year in October 2019. Since the pandemic, Circles have gone virtual, and there are now full Circles Committees across our US footprint. These groups are a great way for women and allies from all backgrounds, career levels, and experiences to get involved. Opportunities include learning new skills, providing knowledge on selected topics, leading sessions, and practicing those skills in a safe environment—allowing participants to be their authentic selves. These safe learning and sharing spaces have been extremely valuable for women, especially for women of color, to know that within these Circle groups they can be their true selves with their peers and colleagues.
In 2021–2022, TD’’ Women in Leadership BRG hosted a series of mini-sessions called Power Bites: 20-minute recordings hosted by TD leaders focused on career development with topics such as allyship, the art of storytelling, personal branding, interviewing skills, resume building, and more. These sessions could be viewed at any time and were short enough to be viewed during an internal break or lunch hour. These sessions were supplemented with an additional one-hour virtual series featuring conversations/panel discussions on topics such as championing change, professional momentum, living intentionally in uncertain times, managing your health, and financial security. Power Bites sessions have been helpful for women of color because they engage women of color as speakers and participants, giving members the ability to visualize themselves in those roles as leaders and mentors. One of the most well-attended sessions engaged a panel of Black women colleagues sharing their experiences in the workplace. The panelists shared how leaders have shown support for them throughout their career and also provided practical ways that managers and colleagues can remove their biases and participate in opportunities for all women.
At many companies, women of color are typically underrepresented in their organizations’ leadership roles. We feel that higher representation of women and women of color can help us better innovate and bring increased diversity of thought and perspectives to the table. It’s also important to help establish role models at the top of an organization so that future leaders can see themselves reflected in their leadership and aspire to fill those positions in the future. We strive to be an organization that fully supports the career journeys of women of color and fully embraces them for their intersectional experience.
FY19 – 23.88% were women of color
FY20 – 26.70% were women of color
As we help more women of color progress within the organization and attain their career aspirations, we’re building a more inclusive culture showing that representation matters. For women colleagues just starting off in their career, there is more hope that they, too, can aspire to these positions because they see other women from their community reaching these new heights. This improves our overall colleague engagement and makes our colleague base richer because of the diversity of thought and overall broader lived experiences. We’re also helping to attract external talent and become the employer of choice because prospective colleagues typically prefer to work for a progressive organization that embraces diversity and inclusion in all facets.
As the war sensitivities for talent continues, the Black Experiences and Women in Leadership BRGs have collaborated on an initiative designed to attract, develop, and retain Black women in leadership roles. The program outlines a plan to attract Black women talent through our diversity internal sourcing team, provide support to current colleagues through a sponsorship program, and develop and retain these leaders through ongoing coaching and opportunities to gain critical experiences for progression.