TD Bank's Steve Garibell is just getting started.
It's been almost a year since he was named as TD's business development officer for its LGBTQ2+ initiatives. His role entails both working with businesses and enterprises owned by members of the community and making sure TD is a top employer of LGBTQ+ professionals.
Steve works in New York, the home to the largest LGBTQ2+ community in the U.S., with more than 750,000 people.
When Steve was first started in his role, no other major U.S. bank had a similar type of position for the LGBTQ2+ community, and the position continues to be unmatched by other banks. It's this focus that makes TD unique in the marketplace. TD has made significant strides both in its relationship with businesses and attracting employees, but there is still a lot of opportunity to serve the LGBTQ2+ community, according to Steve.
"The sheer need is so much greater than I expected," he said.
Steve welcomed the recent decision by TD Bank CEO Greg Braca to sign the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge to cultivate a workplace where diverse perspectives and experiences are welcomed and respected.
"I live in a very welcoming area, and I am lucky enough to work for forward-looking company," he said as a member of the LGBTQ2+ community. "But I work with a lot of clients who are scared. Those outside of metro areas have a lot to worry about, including getting fired from a job because they are gay. That's why this pledge is so important. "
TD Survey reflects concerns for workplace equality and finances within the LGBTQ2+ community
TD Bank's workplace and financial equality survey, issued Tuesday, June 4,
found that 22% of millennial LGBTQ2+ workers believe that being out to more senior staff or supervisors at work will hurt their career advancement. As a member of the LGBTQ2+ community, Garibell notes that his experience at TD has reflected the opposite, which helps make the bank an appealing place for LGBTQ2+ job seekers.
"I have had the luxury of working in multiple roles, in multiple divisions of the bank and in multiple markets," said Steve, who has been at TD since 2012."In all areas, the leadership had the same values and made me comfortable being my full self at work."
While millennial workers are equally likely as older generations to be out in the workplace, less than one-third of millennial workers see senior management members who are out as LGBTQ2+ community members, according to the survey.
The survey found that only half of millennial LGBTQ2+ workers rate their current financial situation positively, with 60 percent of respondents admitting to having less than three months of emergency savings. This presents another opportunity for TD to help by educating members of the community.
"We've been trying to make a greater connection with the millennial generation, and I think that we have great opportunity to be the financial institution that bridges the gap," he said.
Older members of LGBTQ2+ community also face challenges; helping business get certifications
Steve noted there is a significant need in helping older LGBTQ2+ community members both as employees and customers with such topics as planning for retirement. Some community members don't have family members and others may not have the resources to remain in expensive metro areas. Therefore, they may be forced to move to an area that is not as open to LGBTQ2+ community members.
In terms of business and community development, Steve has focused on LGBTQ2+ markets and neighborhoods. He is a member of the Certification Committee, of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce that verifies that participating enterprises are LGBTQ2+-owned and operated. This certification helps open up opportunities to win corporate contracts.
"There is so much out there, we can help small businesses and enterprises in the LBGTQ2+ community," he said. "We want to be used as a resource."
Steve is looking forward to his second year in his role and will keep reaching for his dream of full inclusion for the LGBTQ2+ community. And he has the perfect partner.
"TD wants to make equality important internally and externally by creating opportunities," he said. "The bank is a bridge to make that happen. "
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