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• Mar 8, 2024

Tara John has met many women who have inspired her throughout her life and impressive career in corporate human resources, but she met the one with the most impact the day she was born – her mother.

The mother and daughter have a very close relationship speaking everyday about every topic, both personal and professional. Tara notes her mother not only just builds up her family members, but also her friends and community, a quality that Tara has emulated in her professional and personal life.

"No one celebrates people like my mom," said Tara, who was named last year as Head of Human Resources for TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®. "Growing up, there was never a hesitation in terms of support for what I wanted to achieve every step of the way through my education and professional life. She is always there in my corner - my cheerleader. It just warms my heart."

Tara relishes the opportunity this Women's History Month to honor her mother, her sister, who she is also extremely close to, and all the women in her life who have given her so much support, advice on how to navigate challenges and showed by their actions how to remain true to yourself. Beyond that, she takes the time to both think about and celebrate all women who do the heroic actions each day.

"Just seeing all the things that women do on a day-to-day basis, both large and small," she said. "It puts me in awe and continues to inspire me."

Tara also credits the circle of women closest to her – her best friends from all phases of her life – with helping her to meet challenges, celebrate accomplishments and everything in between. She notes the vital importance in her own personal life and career of having the support of others and how that is critical for everyone to fully achieve their potential.

"For the early part of my career, most of my managers were men. I benefitted from their sponsorship and advocacy and so I feel strongly about the power of allyship," she said. "It's crucial for the men in our lives, whether that is our leaders, colleagues, or family and friends to encourage women to be their very best. It's important to celebrate that."

Tara John and her husband, Richard Tara John and her mother Tara John with family
Tara John and her husband, Richard Tara John and her mother Tara John with family
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Listening is key

Tara has spent over 20 years in the financial services industry in Canada and the United States, serving in both front-line sales and HR roles. Tara joined TD in 2022 as Head of Human Resources for U.S. Commercial Banking, before being promoted to her current position of Head of Human Resources for TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank in 2023.

As Head of HR, Tara has the unique and challenging opportunity to set the People Strategy for AMCB, ensuring that it both aligns to the overarching AMCB business strategy, and that it incorporates the core values that are the tenant of TD's culture. This is critical work as the People Strategy impacts all 28,000 AMCB colleagues, and the success of the Bank as a whole. For 2024, Tara and the entire Human Resources function will be focused on reinvigorating AMCB's culture, strengthening our talent practices, and fostering an inclusive organization.

Throughout Tara's extensive corporate human resources career, she has found the best way to navigate the tough issues was to actively listen to people and understand their perspectives.

"We are here to listen, we want employee feedback and for them to voice their opinions," she said. "We will leverage that as we interact with leaders and design initiatives, programs, and solutions. All of that is the core to make sure we're creating a culture and experience for colleagues to do their best work."

The energy from human connections

Tara considers herself to be both an extrovert by nature and someone who enjoys spending time with others.

"I get tons of energy being around people and connecting with colleagues across all areas of the organization," she said. "It's how I get better at my job. I inherently believe that everyone is good and wants to do their best work. I trust people until they give me a reason not to, it's helped me be the leader that I am."

During her career, she has seen the role of HR evolve from a more administrative role to a true partner in helping businesses achieve their goals. Tara notes many of today's roles probably didn't exist 20 years ago.

"We have to think about bringing in the right talent to help the organization to deliver for today and tomorrow," she explained. "We also have to help the organization think about how what new skill sets are required for the future, looking both at competitors and what customers are seeking."

Among her priorities is continuing to build upon TD's performance in the Diversity and Inclusion area of focus. TD Bank was recognized with the top score of 100 percent in the 2023 Disability Equality Index (DEI) for the ninth consecutive year. "We will continue to evolve and make sure our workplace continues to be more representative of the communities in which we operate," she said.

Tara is very committed to her work, and she also has priorities for her personal life, including taking time for self-care and exercising daily – her Peloton Bike and Tread get frequent use. She also enjoys spending her free time cooking, traveling, reading, and attending live concerts and sporting events.

Her number one priority though is the people in her life.

"My job is big and complex; and like many working women I work hard to find the balance with work and my personal life. There are some days when everything is aligned and some days, not so much", she said. Tara focuses on being present with her husband in the evenings as much as she can, making a point of taking the time to discuss their days. "I connect with my parents and my brother and my sister every single day, and my core girlfriends who've known me my entire life. While my role at TD is a big part of my life and something I have deep pride in, my husband, my family and my friends are most important to me. "

Want to learn more about Women's History Month?
Rose Staram: The Entrepreneurial Journey from Tax Accounting to Event Planning Success
Empowering Women - Dynamic TD Leader has a Passion for Helping Women Reenter the Workforce
TD Bank Names Tara John Head of Human Resources

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