TD Bank recognizes National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) this October to honor the contributions that people with disabilities make to our nation's workplaces and economy. In 2023, TD Bank was recognized as a leader in disability inclusion by Disability:IN, DiversityInc, Forbes, and, most recently, National Organization on Disability for outstanding progress to break down the barriers to inclusion.
After years of job hopping, which included working an overnight shift far from his home, Manny Finale was ready to find a better opportunity. He wanted consistent full-time work that would give him the chance to use his many talents.
But since he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a condition on the autism spectrum which can cause difficulty with social interactions, he needed help. That’s when his parents reached out to The de Moya Foundation in Miami, Florida, a nonprofit committed to creating employment opportunities for young adults with disabilities.
TD has been an active supporter and financial contributor of The de Moya Foundation for years. Lileana “Lily” de Moya, who runs the foundation, reached out to TD Regional leadership in Miami. She told them they were trying to match their candidates with employers for job opportunities, so they connected Lily with Paul Raun, TD Bank Store Manager in Dade County, who was more than happy to get involved. Lily's work with The de Moya Foundation was honored by TD Bank as a 2022 #TDThanksYou recipient.
"As a purpose-driven organization, we are focused on delivering legendary experiences for our customers, and it all starts with our employees feeling included and engaged in meaningful work," said Casey Crist, TD Bank's Regional Vice President for Miami-Dade County. "Our inclusive culture ensures all employees are seen, included, appreciated, and supported. Our leaders are working hard to make sure everyone has the opportunity to leverage their unique skillsets and continue to develop to be the best at what they do – both inside and outside of TD."
The right support
While Paul educated himself on Manny's needs and how to be a successful manager for a colleague with a disability, The de Moya Foundation set Manny up with Rocio Perez, a social worker and former special education teacher, to help him prepare for the interview. Manny received pre-training sessions, participated in mock interviews and had a discussion about the type of job that would be the best fit career wise.
“We talked about maintaining open communication, making sure his social skills were good, and that he felt confident. It's an intensive training from our end to make sure that this match is successful,” said Rocio.
Once Manny was ready, Paul brought him into the office where they enjoyed talking together for almost two hours. Initially, the store intended to hire Manny as an intern.
But during the interview process, “Manny's skills and abilities shined through,” said Paul. “We knew he was more than capable of being hired as a bank teller.”
Stepping up to the job
During Manny’s first few weeks of employment, Rocio assisted Manny every day. She sat with him during his training sessions and made sure he was comfortable. Once she saw that he was progressing and fitting in well, she took a step back, eventually decreasing her time in the store. “Right now, I'm coming in once a week, but of course it’s an ongoing support,” said Rocio. “Anybody at TD, including Manny, can reach me if there are any issues.”
Due to the smooth transition, Manny is doing great. He loves helping customers and making sure they are cared for in an efficient manner. His goal is to keep the traffic flowing around the branch.
“There have been times when I think to myself, okay, this customer's been waiting a while,” said Manny. “I don't want them to be lounging around too long in the lobby. Seeing customers being tended to is my favorite part of the job. At TD, they tell employees to think like a customer, and I ramp it up to an 11.”
“You can see his confidence as he talks to the customers when they come in,” said Rocio. “He's not afraid to ask for help if he doesn't understand something. A skill he should be commended for one hundred percent.”
“The important thing to remember is that anybody with a unique ability can contribute to society. It’s important not to overlook someone with a disability. You never know what they can do.”
A future with no limits
Manny has been employed at TD for over seven months now. He was hired as Bank Teller I, and Paul explained that the next step would be Bank Teller II. Paul, Manny and Rocio set quarterly goals and build a career trajectory that prepares Manny for further growth.
“In the future, Manny will be able to switch over to some of the other job functions that we have in the store,” said Paul. “We're giving Manny the opportunity to have a career and to be confident about what he's doing. At the same time, we’re removing biases that might have existed before. For me, that’s the most important thing, aside from having someone like Manny around who makes me proud. My commitment from day one has been to give him every opportunity to flourish and build a lasting career at TD."