Career paths often begin with the decisions people make in their youth. Choices of high-school courses, university stream, and extracurricular activities can have an impact on one’s future career direction and leadership potential. To ensure more women achieve leadership positions in the business and financial sectors, organizations like TD are encouraging young women and girls to make sound educational decisions, acquire business skills, and aim high.

Female leadership representation — removing barriers

Historically, male-dominated finance and business occupations have lacked female representation in senior leadership positions. Organizational, cultural, and work-life balance challenges have posed barriers to women’s advancement in these sectors. Working full time and caring for a family may have left little time to pursue professional development goals, such as an MBA degree or professional accreditation.

Recognizing the value of women in advancing its business, TD has been working to remove these barriers by providing all colleagues an opportunity for work-life fit to support all aspects of their lives. Representation of women in the senior leadership group has increased 1.7x since 2005. In a progressive and inclusive corporate culture that values diversity, offers encouragement, and provides world-class training, women at TD can take ownership of their careers, showcase their talents, and achieve their full potential in a variety of career paths and advancement opportunities. Many of these are in non-traditional, male-dominated aspects of finance banking and business, such as actuarial, investment portfolio management, and securities analysis. 

Unique networking opportunities

A key driver in TD’s development of women leaders is access to unique and inclusive networking opportunities. TD’s Women in Leadership (WIL) initiative, launched in 2005 as part of the bank’s Inclusion and Diversity Leadership Council, comprises more than 13,000 members across Canada and the U.S. In addition to providing opportunities for connecting, mentoring, and training, WIL offers exposure to inspiring leaders, engagement through community blogs, and the chance to attend various sponsored events both internally and externally.

Lean In Canada, a community of professional women sponsored by TD, was inspired by Sheryl Strandberg’s book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. Lean In Canada aims to connect women of all industries and ages in a community where they can get career advice and support, celebrate one another’s successes and ambitions, and learn about employment opportunities. “Our whole mission is to empower women to build purposeful and fulfilling careers,” says Christina Rupsingh, Marketing Manager at TD and Co-Founder and Director of Lean in Canada. Sponsorship from TD and other organizations has enabled Lean In Canada to keep its prices affordable to members, present high-profile speakers, and grow from a local chapter of 20 women to a national community of 5,000 in four years.

By replacing systemic barriers with innovative support systems, TD is empowering today’s young women to become the financial and business leaders of tomorrow.