When TD held a virtual event for employees last month, focused on creating safe spaces for Asian colleagues and allies across the organization, it provided a forum for some difficult conversations and gave people an opportunity to share their feelings. More than 2,500 colleagues attended!
When a female colleague wanted to know if her accent might be holding her back in her career or hampering her performance, I told her to embrace her differences and all they represent, and most importantly to be true to herself.
This exchange helped me reflect on the value of helping our colleagues find their voice and use it. Being true to oneself is not only good for us as individuals, but it also makes our entire organization a better place to be.
As a woman of Asian descent, and the Global Chief Marketing Officer for one of North America's largest banks, I have learned the importance of authentic leadership, of owning my own story and the ripple effects it can have on my colleagues and the business.
To be true to oneself is where it begins, and of course corporations also have an important role, to help create an environment where all people are valued, respected and represented.
When I joined TD in 2017, one of the factors that drew me to the bank was our organization's focus on diversity and inclusion. It's something that I believe continues to differentiate the brand of TD. We know that the teams we build internally must reflect the rich diversity of the outside world.
My leadership team and I have committed to helping build strategies that appeal to and include diverse groups of customers, so they feel heard and seen and so our marketing messages resonate. Particularly when some of the most important audiences for financial institutions are newcomers to North America, we sought to have the people on the team reflect the communities we seek to serve. And what we want for the people on our team is for them to be able to bring their true selves to work.
The latest results from our diverse community tracking indicates that TD now leads in brand consideration and primary financial institution share amongst key diverse communities including the South Asian and Chinese communities.
In my experience, for brands to succeed and endure, it's not enough to project an image of strength in the marketplace; customers need to feel as though that brand is an accurate representation of the experience they have with the company, and they expect the company's values to align with their values.
We exist in an age of near endless choices, where switching brand allegiances can be as simple as downloading a different app on your phone.
In the past, it may have been enough for many brands to ensure that their marketing photos were reflective of a diverse client base, highlighting people of all backgrounds. While this is an important first step in communicating values to clients and prospective customers – I believe that this is just the first step in providing the experience of true inclusion.
I am proud of TD’s journey so far, of our continued focus on taking action and of the changes we continue to make as part of our commitment to embrace and celebrate the differences of our people.
At its best, great marketing can reflect society, but it can also help shape culture. And to shape culture in a positive way, one that is representative of the communities we serve, I strongly believe that the teams we build must be reflective of the outside world's rich diversity.
Every day, we make promises to our customers, communities and colleagues at TD, about who we are as an organization and what we can be. We are committed to doing everything we can to keep those promises.