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• Mar. 7, 2024

Kayra Çopur was in middle school when her mother pulled her aside to show her a photo that she says marked the end of her childhood.

Çopur, Business Intelligence Lead at TD, was close with her mother growing up. Every day after school, Çopur visited her mother, a human resources executive, in the office building of an agricultural firm in Turkey. That office became the personal playground of a kindergartener running from office to office.

But in her innocence, Çopur never realized how unique her mother was. That changed when she first saw that photo.

"Look," Çopur remembers her mother saying, as she pointed at herself in a crowd of more than 70 executives representing two companies, "there's no other woman in that photo."

"A switch turned on," Çopur said. "For the first time, I started to see the difference between how men and women are seen in the workforce."

Inspired by her mom, who continues to press upon her the importance of women in the workforce, Çopur is forging her own career path — one where she's using her skills to support women in need.

Çopur is one of dozens of women at TD who volunteer through TD Mindpower, an initiative which enables TD colleagues to use their data and analytics skills to help charities and non-profit organizations.

When she saw an opportunity to co-lead a project for Toronto-based Times Change Women's Employment Service – a not-for-profit that helps women find meaningful employment – Çopur knew she had to jump on it.

"I'm more satisfied doing my day-to-day because I also have the opportunity to volunteer," she said. "It's even more meaningful to me that I can volunteer with an organization that supports women in the workforce."

What is TD Mindpower?

Since its founding in 2018, TD Mindpower: Analytics for Social Good has provided TD colleagues an avenue to apply their data and analytics expertise to help not-for-profit organizations across the Bank's footprint in Canada and the United States.

There are roughly 13 projects currently on the go with TD colleagues lending their data and analytics skills to non-profits. As of July 2023, TD colleagues have helped 52 charitable organizations in 14 different cities in Canada and the U.S., discover new insights and solve challenges for their communities through TD Mindpower.

In 2023, the TD Women in Data and Analytics team, a TD community of women and allies that champion career development for women at the Bank and externally, started to work with TD Mindpower to identify how they could use their data skillsets to help non-profits that support women.

Together, they selected a volunteer team of 10 women and three men to complete data projects on behalf of the identified charitable organizations. Each volunteer had voiced a desire to work on projects to help support women in the community.

"This year's International Women's Day theme is about inspiring inclusion — and the TD Mindpower initiative is doing just that," said Christine Morris, Senior Executive Vice President, Transformation, Enablement and Customer Experience at TD and Chair of the Bank's Women at TD area of focus.

“The important work being supported by our volunteers through TD Mindpower is a great demonstration of how each of us can have an impact and use our skillsets for the greater good in our communities. I'm so inspired by the work of our TD colleagues who are continuing to help move the dial for all women, both in the workplace and outside."

Çopur's team is helping Times Change understand how to use a new database to document data about their programs for their funders and stakeholders. Times Change will be able to better track how many women have found jobs after receiving assistance, their demographics, and the success rate of their workshops.

Katie Didyk, communications specialist/manager at Times Change, said the TD Mindpower volunteer team's work is going to help Times Change improve its programs and secure new funding more quickly.

"Our data management practice is enabling us to make better decisions and more accurately gauge our impact," Didyk said. "What the TD Mindpower volunteer team has done is set us up for potential new funding opportunities and streams based on this data we can now extrapolate."

Bringing data and analytics to life

Just like at Times Change, YWCA Toronto is looking to improve and centralize how it collects data in order to analyze it, identify gaps in programming and elevate its service offerings. YWCA advocates for and provides an array of programs and services for women, girls and gender-diverse people fleeing violence, including securing housing, finding jobs, enhancing skills, and developing confidence.

TD data scientist Joy Wei, who co-led the first phase of the project, said the TD Mindpower volunteers are working on a multiple step project to help create a tool to allow YWCA staff to better collect and analyze data. A key goal of the project is knowledge transfer so that staff can be self-sufficient when it comes to using their data and analytics solution.

"The ultimate goal is to build a data warehouse from multiple departments and pull reports from there," Wei said. "It's so rewarding for me to see how we can help our communities outside of TD too."

With the TD Mindpower volunteer team's help, YWCA Toronto is looking forward to being able to conduct better data analysis so that it can communicate its social impact and identify gaps and opportunities in its programs.

"Working with the TD Mindpower volunteer team has provided us with an amazing amount of data expertise to help improve our data infrastructure," said Jeannette Manguiat, Director of Human Resources and Administration and Julia Horel, Manager of Administration at YWCA Toronto.

Wei and Çopur, who have volunteered on multiple TD Mindpower projects, said their volunteer work enhances their roles at TD.

But ultimately for Çopur, it's about giving back while building a career with meaning, just like her mom did.

The photo of her mother was taken 40 years ago. Every time it resurfaces at home or on social media, Çopur feels bittersweet. Her mother should never have been the only woman on that executive team.

But that's also what makes her mother's story so inspiring to her. Çopur's mother first joined her employer as an executive assistant after graduating university and at a company where the only women on staff were in administrative roles. Çopur's mother fought against the odds to become an executive.

She earned her place in that photo.

"It's such a powerful reminder to me that she was able to stand up, strong," Çopur said.

Through the TD Mindpower initiative, Çopur is helping women in need find their footing so that they can do the same.

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