As part of our 'A day in the life' series, we are celebrating special TD employees who have gone above and beyond to serve our customers, communities, and colleagues throughout the pandemic. In our latest instalment of the series, we introduce you to Catherine Paradis-Therrien, Senior Manager, Product Group Product Owner for Analytics and Reporting in the Everyday Advice Journey for Canadian Personal Banking, whose decade and a half long career at TD has primarily focused on leading Data and Analytics teams across the Bank. The Montreal native started a new role in March 2020—just one week before the pandemic hit—but it wasn't long before a "life-changing opportunity" to assist the TD Ready Advice Centre at TD came her way.
It was March of 2020, and Catherine Paradis-Therrien was excited to begin a new role at TD, leading a team of data scientists and researchers focused on making banking better for Canadian TD customers.
Like millions of other Canadians, Paradis-Therrien's life was about to be turned upside down by COVID-19 just one week later, but it wasn’t long before she found herself staring down a new opportunity to help TD customers navigate the rising financial uncertainty many were feeling as a result of the pandemic.
Although Paradis-Therrien was still navigating the ins and outs of her new role as Senior Manager, Customer Strategy Analytics and Test & Learn for Canadian Personal Banking at TD, she soon found herself volunteering to also head the data and analytics team powering the TD Ready Advice Centre – a newly launched Centre at the time, with a team of TD colleagues dedicated to helping customers navigate the financial impacts of the pandemic.
"My colleagues were working around the clock—all virtually—to offer support to customers who were being hit the hardest during this challenging time," said Paradis-Therrien, stating it was her colleagues' commitment to supporting customers that inspired her to answer the call for help from leaders during a team call.
"This was my chance to contribute as well."
Digging deep into data to help customers
For 15 years, Paradis-Therrien has been providing teams across the Bank with insightful data and analytics with the goal of providing customers with an improved and more personalized banking experience.
Paradis-Therrien says that while providing information to teams to help improve their products and services for customers is rewarding, a career in data and analytics sometimes means the impact her line of work could have on others tends to be indirect.
"I am always looking to help drive noticeable change that is meaningful for customers," she said.
When an opportunity arose for Paradis-Therrien to experience first-hand the positive influence data and analytics could have, she knew she had to be involved.
As part of her volunteer role, Paradis-Therrien worked closely with advisors at the TD Ready Advice Centre who proactively reached out to customers facing financial hardship due to COVID-19, providing personalized advice and help on a range of topics.
"We needed to create an optimized process so that we could identify which customers could benefit the most from the services and advice being offered as soon as possible," she said, adding that her previous experience working in analytics for a call centre for TD Insurance was valuable.
By working closely with advisors, Paradis-Therrien and her team were able to assess which customers—regardless of age or demographic—were at the highest risk of meeting their financial obligations, such as missing a credit card or mortgage payment. The assessments resulted in the Bank being able to reach out to affected customers more quickly and effectively.
"The feedback that we received from the advisors was that, in many cases, customers recently experienced a loss of income or were unable to work due to lockdown and pandemic restrictions," said Paradis-Therrien.
Making an impact beyond a pandemic
Since the start of the pandemic, TD has been able to help thousands of customers navigate the financial uncertainty brought on by the pandemic. The TD Ready Advice Centre has also been able to help TD customers with investment guidance, for those who accrued savings throughout the pandemic by spending less on things like travel and entertainment.
Paradis-Therrien said the feedback from customers has been overwhelmingly positive.
"Sometimes, people just wanted to talk because on top of financial hardship, some of our customers said they felt very isolated in the pandemic," she said, stating it wasn't uncommon for advisors to have calls with customers who shared stories of how their financial struggles meant being able to afford necessities such as groceries was challenging.
As we move beyond the pandemic, the TD Ready Advice Centre continues proactive outreach to customers who may be experiencing hardship and supporting long term recovery and financial health.
Paradis-Therrien, who volunteered her time for over a year to the TD Ready Advice Centre team, said the project was her most rewarding experience at TD and she's very proud of the work that was accomplished by everyone involved.
"Seeing the impact that the support and advice of our advisors had on our customers is just another reason working with the TD Ready Advice Centre team is an experience I will never forget," she said.