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League of their own hero
• Apr 22, 2024

Lisa Holland, who leads the largest family-owned aviation network in the country as the President of Sheltair Aviation, admits that she didn't have a strong female role model in the professional world who inspired her to pursue the prominent leadership role in which she now thrives.

Her experience is the reason she believes it's important for young women to connect with women leaders so that they can see themselves as the heads of businesses in all industries —big and small — including those not typically led by women.

"It allows them to not just ask if they 'can' do it, but instead 'how can I achieve my goals?'" she said.

Lisa has not only dedicated herself to mentoring and empowering women within the company, but also regularly supports Women in Aviation International (WAI) and expanded her impact by hosting Girls in Aviation Day (GIAD) events across the Sheltair network for four years now. Last year, Sheltair brought more than 3,000 young girls and boys to GIAD, fostering growth among the younger generations, and providing opportunities to learn from experts in the aviation industry.

"Hopefully, these events will make an impact and possibly help change someone's direction in life for the better," she said.

In honor of inspiring women like Lisa, TD invited her and a group of 11 other local women business leaders to participate in a special event in the Tampa Bay area in Florida to connect and celebrate during Women's History Month.

Each participant was invited to a baseball clinic and a Toronto Blue Jays spring training game to engage and network with other local business leaders.

"I feel honored to have been included with such an esteemed group of business leaders from the community," Lisa said. "It was obvious how much planning went into making the day special – from the personalized uniform right down to the name above my locker and the catering afterward."

All for One, One for All

Mercedes Taylor, TD Bank's Retail Market Manager for Tampa Bay, refers to herself as a "coach" for the teams she leads.

"As a woman in leadership, I think it's important for us to inspire other women," she said. "And that other young women see women like… well, me!"

In addition to her passion for coaching, mentoring and developing her team, Mercedes takes pride in getting out into the community and helping small business owners realize their growth dreams.

Mercedes said the event was a fantastic opportunity to come together with her peers and celebrate the many ways women contribute to the local business landscape.

She brought her coach mentality to the event, cheering on the group on the field and leading the way for everyone.

"We had ladies and leaders from all walks of life," she said. "And wow, was that fun!"

She added that every month should celebrate women, but during Women's History Month, it was especially important to raise awareness, support one another, and inspire the next generation.

"To see women together playing ball, out in the community supporting one another, that's the best part of it all," she said.

Click to zoom

When reflecting on her role model, Mercedes pauses, then smiles while remembering her mother.

"She's the first woman I saw in leadership," she said. "Even though she was a mom, she was a mentor as well. She gave great feedback, but she also gave support. She cheered when I needed a cheerleader."

Batter Up!

Jenny Spencer, a medical and healthcare facility real estate agent and long-time volunteer with the Junior League of Tampa, officially began her banking relationship with TD in 2019, but she says TD's support of her efforts within the community date back much further.

It was more than a decade ago when Jenny first met Lané Malatesta, TD Bank Lakewood Ranch Store Manager, at a community networking event. Jenny mentioned her work with the Junior League of Tampa and its Girl Empowerment program, Ready to Achieve. At that time, the program needed a new sponsor and Lané jumped at the opportunity to connect TD with the Junior League of Tampa in support of the organization's mission of making Tampa a better place for women, children and families, including programs supporting foster care and financial literacy.

"That's how I got to know Lané and we just built a friendship from there," Jenny said. "TD generously offered us $10,000 to run the program and we were super grateful for that."

The Junior League of Tampa and TD's core values aligned, Lané said, and an amazing local partnership was born. Jenny also was fostering a thriving real estate business, so the duo worked together on meeting her business goals as well.

"What I really liked is she [and TD] had that personal touch," Jenny added. "I'd been part of another bank for a long time, and you don't get the kind of service I was getting with Lané."

Jenny played softball in college and has a daughter who wants to play professional hockey one day. For her, the baseball fantasy camp really showed that "women can do anything they want with the right opportunity."

"And TD created that opportunity for us today," she said.

Scott Daigle, TD Bank Regional Vice President for Tampa Bay, says inclusion and an event like the fantasy camp are simply engrained in the fabric of TD Bank.

"We live it everyday in the way we interact with our teammates and customers, and we bring everyone to the table and make sure everyone has a voice," he said.

Scott added that working with women entrepreneurs is a highlight for him and close to his heart.

"My mom was a business leader in the early 1980s," he said. "She was a really good role model for me. She worked hard and was committed to her craft."

To learn more about the ways TD Bank supports diverse small business owners and hear some of their success stories, click here.

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