Women in Leadership Council leads efforts to reach goal
The celebration of Women's History Month first began in the mid-1980s to commemorate the contributions of women in all aspects of society. TD Bank has made it a priority to ensure that there will be many more opportunities and achievements in the future to celebrate.
Our enterprise Women in Leadership Council of 16,000, in the U.S. and Canada, has played a key role in reaching this goal since it was created in 2008 in the U.S.
Marla Willner, TD's Head of Corporate and Specialty Banking, and Kellee Rivers, TD's Head of Commercial Business Programs & Support, are excited about leading AMCB's WIL efforts this year to help support these goals.
"The purpose of WIL is to find the best ways to create opportunities and an environment where women can do their best work here at TD," said Marla, who is based in New York City.
Kellee considers her new role on WIL as a reflection of TD's strong commitment to making the workplace truly diverse and inclusive to all and to provide opportunities that she hoped for when she joined TD nearly 20 years ago.
"Being at TD highlights the importance of Women's History Month, which celebrates that women have made so many strides," said Kellee, who is based in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. "The month also gives us an opportunity to remember the women that didn't have opportunities to live their dreams or see their potential. It's important to reflect on them too, and I know I owe it to these women to do the best I can."
Marla noted the changes she has seen with women and men since she first started her career in banking.
"There has been a generational and cultural shift," said Marla, who has been at TD for nearly 17 years in total. She cited examples such as a focus on work-life balance as an issue increasingly important to both men and women.
TD's celebration of Women's History Month is a key part of our Diversity & Inclusion theme for 2020, "The Power of Our Stories," which highlights the efforts of our colleagues and customers and celebrates our partnerships.
Seeking all career opportunities to grow and seating more at the table
Among the many key issues that WIL will tackle this year is continuing to find ways to provide support to encourage women to seek all career growth opportunities. The Gender Insights Reports published by LinkedIn last year found that women are 16% less likely to apply for a job after viewing a listing than men, and overall, women apply to 20% fewer jobs than men.
"We want to make sure women at TD have the full support and encouragement to feel comfortable to reach out for that stretch assignment that will help their careers," Marla said. "This is very important to TD. We will be planning events and meetings, both large and small to both listen and make sure that we are doing everything we can."
WIL is excited about the potential of bringing a new WIL ally program currently being piloted in Canada. This program encourages broadening the audience for discussions and ideas as to how to keep making TD an even more inclusive Bank.
"We must invite men to the table to talk about advancement of women," Kellee said. "If you get people with the same opinion talking, your progress is limited. Unless you get people to the table with differing opinions, you can't break down barriers. We need different opinions to promote our understanding of each other."
WIL is focused on hearing voices of employees at all levels of the Bank. Kellee who started as a Data Entry Manager, fully understands that the issues that can often impact women can take different forms, depending on the level of the employee.
"I understand what it's like to pick up a sick child when you're an hourly worker and you lose pay or have to take a day off," she explained. "That's why it's so important to talk about these issues. We have to engage all employees at every level and make sure we get out of our bubble."
One example she cited was planning events that would not require travel to attend so that all employees could participate. Our Black History Month Summit was recently simulcast via the web across the U.S. footprint and in Canada for the second year in a row.