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• Mar 7, 2019

Purpose and Promise is a series featuring stories that bring The Ready Commitment to life #TheReadyCommitment.

TD Bank Senior Relationship Manager Gisele Kloeckner may have learned some of the most important lessons for her banking career growing up on a farm in Hyde Park, a small town in northern Vermont.

"We all helped on the farm. We were taught to work first and play later," said Gisele, a commercial lender in Burlington, VT.

Gisele has been instrumental in helping to provide critically needed affordable housing units in Vermont, according to many of her colleagues. In December, Gisele was named an Innovation and Impact Housing Hero by the Vermont Housing Finance Agency.

The agency cited her achievement in overseeing, on behalf of TD Bank, more than $400 million of credit toward the development and rehabilitation of affordable housing, impacting more than 1,000 homes.

While it can be quite difficult to build affordable housing units with strict zoning laws and oftentimes community opposition, Gisele credits her customers, not-for-profit housing developers, for their hard work in getting these projects completed.

"My customers go to the meetings, they are always involved to make sure any issues have been resolved. I think everyone deserves safe, affordable housing. Affordable housing projects improve the communities and I find most are pleased with the end results," she explained. Although she does have empathy for those who don't want changes in their towns.

That humbleness and giving credit to others is typical of Gisele, according to William Mackinnon, TD Bank Regional Commercial Manager in Burlington and Gisele's manager.

"She never talks about her own accomplishments," said Francine Yanulavich, TD Bank Field Marketing Manager for Vermont and upstate New York. "She's ambitious in a way that personally drives her." Other colleagues cited her ability to make personal connections with customers and lending agencies for her success throughout her 30-year career at TD Bank.

Helping others to have a better life is positive all the way around

Gisele's passion is helping to provide affordable housing, which she says is a huge need in Vermont, a state which has good jobs, but not a lot of options for those who can't afford high rent.

Affordable housing can often help revitalize downtowns. She recalled one affordable housing project in Montpelier, VT where there is a three-story building that houses a hardware store. The second and third floors had been vacant for nearly 80 years. The effort to renovate and create affordable housing in the upper two floors was quite successful.

Besides Gisele's amazing work in her professional role, she has also been an avid volunteer throughout her life. She volunteers with Lund Family Center and the Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS). She has tutored at the King Street Center. She is also a longtime member of the Vermont Community Loan Fund Loan Monitoring Committee.

"A lot of folks aren't comfortable putting themselves out as a volunteer, but it's good," Gisele said. "All in all, helping others to have a better life is positive all the way around."

Want to learn more about Our Communities?
Rebuilding Together - A Salute to our Customers, Communities and Colleagues
A Statement on Recent Events from Bharat Masrani, President & CEO, TD Bank Group
TD Charitable Foundation Awards $3.75 Million in Grants to Non-Profits Helping to Create Affordable Rental Housing

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