The Toronto Dominion Bank (TD) together with its subsidiaries, implemented its North American Supplier Diversity program in 2011, shortly after the Canadian based bank’s expansion into the U.S. Although TD’s supplier diversity program is relatively new compared to other U.S. supplier diversity programs, it is an active, vital component of the bank’s business. As supplier diversity is relatively new in the Canadian business landscape, TD (one of Canada's largest banking institutions and parent of TD Bank, N.A. America’s Most Convenient Bank®) was one of the trailblazers of supplier diversity programs in its “home” country. The LGBT business community has been a part of the TD supplier diversity program since its inception, with TD helping to lead the way in the banking industry by incorporating LGBTA non-discrimination language directly into its U.S. vendor contracts.
After building its program, TD quickly appreciated the importance that supplier diversity has on the company itself and the economy at large. As TD’s Deborah Grossman, VP, Manager, Procurement Corporate Responsibility, Strategic Sourcing Group, explains, “Supplier diversity is a means of giving back to the community by providing diverse business owners an opportunity to compete for business. This allows TD to assist minority, woman, LGBT, disabled and veteran owned businesses to boost the economy in each of their respective communities.”
VP, Manager, Procurement Corporate Responsibility,
Strategic Corporate Group
For example, diverse businesses provide valuable benefits back to the community at large -- namely jobs, wealth, disposable income, taxes and charitable contribution to name a few. When diverse-owned businesses win opportunities, they create jobs to service their clients, which increases employment rates within their communities. Since it is common for diverse businesses to hire from within their own communities, they are more likely to hire employees who are also diverse.
Likewise, there is a “trickle” effect of income to other small businesses, particularly diverse-owned businesses, as the suppliers outsource goods and services. This outsourcing process pours additional money back into the economy, thereby creating additional jobs and the ability to spend money within the business owner’s community. Thus, when large businesses spend money with diverse suppliers, a multiplier effect is created, allowing an exponential amount of money that was initially spent to be redirected back to the economy in the form of taxes, home purchases, groceries, etc. “Naturally, as people gain wealth or start and grow businesses, we hope that they will come to TD as our customers, but that is not our primary objective. By engaging diversely owned businesses, we gain the benefit of working with suppliers who have creative solutions and innovative products that help us become a stronger, more competitive bank which benefits our customers and employees,” says Debi.
TD regularly sponsors Pride week events in New York City and even had rainbows painted around its ATMs in the City during Pride. TD is proud of its 100% rating on the HRC Corporate Equality Index, especially because it provided its employees with partner benefits long before marriage equality was recognized in the United States. As Debi explains, “Because both our employee and supplier bases are diverse, we are able to relate to and represent the communities we serve.”
When asked about TD’s relationship with NGLCC, Debi does not hold back:
The NGLCC’s International Business & Leadership Conference is a great event every year. Anyone who has not attended the annual conference should be certain to attend next year in Los Angeles. While it is, of course, a great opportunity for LGBTBEs to meet with representatives from corporate partners, it is a tremendous opportunity for them to network amongst themselves, particularly because many diverse-owned businesses seek to do work with other diverse owned businesses. Don’t just hang your certification on the wall. You have to attend events, be present, and build the relationships. One of the best investments an LGBTBE can make is to attend the annual NGLCC conference.
Debi has worked in supplier diversity since 2000. With a background in utilities, pharmaceutical, cable, and telecommunication companies, and as a former owner of a certified diverse company that consulted with diverse-owned businesses on business development and strategies for building relationships with Fortune 500 companies, Debi is a tremendous advocate for LGBTBEs because she understands both the corporate side and the business owner side.
For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of meeting Debi, please feel to reach out to her at Deborah.Grossman@td.com with any questions concerning doing business with TD or how to leverage your NGLCC LGBTBE certification.
Written by Robert F. Finkelstein, Esq.,
NGLCCNY Supplier Diversity Chair.
Rob is a partner at Finkelstein Platt LLP, a general practice law firm certified by NGLCC as an LGBTBE, with practice areas including commercial litigation, construction law, general business law, and employment law. Rob can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.