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Header Rozak
• Jul. 4, 2024

Growing up, Daniel Rozak just wanted to help people.

When he was a kid, Rozak's mother would encourage him to look out for others, and to protect those who were weaker and could not protect themselves. It was advice that would stick with him for the rest of his life.

As a young gay man coming of age in the 1980s, Rozak was deeply affected by the onset of the AIDS epidemic, and how the disease ravaged the 2LSGBTQ+ community. He lost friends to AIDS. He also lost straight friends who were afraid of getting AIDS from him because he was gay. The stigma was that strong.

"It's hard to describe to someone outside the community what those dark years in the 1980s were like for members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, especially gay men, gay men of colour, and the transgender community," said Rozak, who works at TD in a Senior Manager role where he is responsible for leading the Community Events and Execution Team.

"We were the very definition of a marginalized people. We didn't know much about HIV or AIDS, and it felt like no one was interested in helping us. We had to look to one another for support. Now, here we are 40 years later, and while there have been medical advancements in controlling the disease, it's still rampant, and there is no cure."

Seeing the devastating effects the disease was having on his friends and those in the community, Rozak decided to dedicate much of his life to supporting people suffering from HIV and AIDS and raising awareness of the disease.

Now, in his role at TD, Rozak is helping to guide the Bank's efforts to support the 2SLGBTQ+ community, and people living with HIV and AIDS, through the TD Ready Commitment – the Bank's global corporate citizenship platform.

An unlikely path

Rozak began his career working at the now-defunct Canadian department store chain, Eaton's, but soon found himself in the event planning and management field. He worked for a number of organizations, including helping out at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

He joined TD in 2010 as part of a plan to build an experiential marketing team.

“Our team would look for ways to create unique and memorable experiences for our customers by hosting events, setting up pop-ups, and engaging with the community. We wanted to showcase how TD is committed to its colleagues, customers, and communities,” Rozak said.

"We executed everything from ice cream trucks that toured coast to coast, to hosting high-value customers at concerts with iconic Canadian artists like Jann Arden and Kim Mitchell.”

At first, Rozak was hesitant about joining a bank, as he wasn't sure that the culture would be as accepting of him being gay as he had found the retail industry. But shortly after joining TD, he realized he had found an organization that was accepting of who he was, and that he could bring his whole self to work.

“The culture at TD pleasantly surprised me," he said. "I have been embraced for who I am from all levels. I was able to immediately get working on various diversity events across Canada and my team welcomed me and my years of experience."

It wasn't long before Rozak made his way to the TD Corporate Citizenship team, where he managed a number of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) events, including Black History Month and Asian Heritage Month campaigns, and took on a community granting mandate.

"There is no better feeling than directing the Bank's funding towards resources that are working to help save lives," he said. "Because that’s what is happening. I am very proud to be part of this group,"

Rozak also consults on the Bank's marketing to the 2SLGBTQ+ community, from the language used to how the Pride flag is displayed in communications and marketing materials. His vast knowledge of the community and his own life experiences allow Rozak to share his expertise and produce well-informed and impactful work. Having strong relationships with teams in Human Resources, Marketing and Corporate and Public Affairs (CAPA) enables Rozak to guide and support programs that help educate colleagues as well as strive to provide authentic support to the 2SLGBTQ+ community.

"How we as an organization talk to communities is very important," he said. "There are so many nuances within all cultures. It's important for the success of the Bank that we continue to put people in positions that understand the communities they work with, especially if they are making decisions on how the Bank can support them."

Ongoing efforts to help those affected by HIV and AIDS today

Rozak has been instrumental in advocating for maintaining the Bank's financial support for two crucial organizations in Toronto that support people living with HIV and AIDS: the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT), through their event SNAP; and Casey House, which is a hospital and hospice in Toronto for people living with HIV and AIDS, through sponsoring the organization's Art with Heart event.

When Rozak speaks at events within the 2SLGBTQ+ community on behalf of TD, he continues to advocate for support in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

"While there have been medications and other therapies that have been developed, the reality is that infection rates are up due to a lack of education, lack of mental health support, and other factors," he said.

"This disease is not gone, and the drugs that can help prevent it are not foolproof or readily available to the masses. There is so much more work to be done, from education to research, to social work."

Rozak said he is proud to work for an organization like TD that not only supports the Pride movement, but also supports HIV and AIDS programs.

"TD is unique, and we demonstrate a true commitment to the community, being there for the darker times as well as the celebratory ones," he said. "The fight against HIV and AIDS isn't the kind of social issue that many organizations would want to be associated with when it comes to their support of the 2SLGBTQ+ community."

Rozak was recently honoured at the ACT Together Towards Zero brunch, where he received the Together Towards Zero Award for his extensive advocacy work to support those impacted by HIV and AIDS in Toronto. The name of the award is a nod to the goal of zero new transmissions of HIV and AIDS.

"This award means so much to me, especially because it is an award that gets decided by the community, my peers," he said.

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