Thursday, August 8, 2019

Corporate Spotlight: TD Bank


Corporate Spotlight: TD Bank

This month we are pleased to shine a spotlight on one of our outstanding corporate partners, TD Bank, which goes out of its way to support the work of nglccNY and uplift the LGBT owned businesses in our network. It is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., with more than 27,000 employees and deep roots in the community dating back more than 150 years.TD Bank offers a wide range of consumer, small business and commercial lending and deposit products and services at its more than 1,200 locations along the East Coast. Steven Garibell is Vice President of LGBTQ2+ Business Development at TD Bank and nglccNY Media & Communications Chair Cindi Creager recently spoke with him to learn more about his role at TD Bank and why the company is so committed to working with the chamber.



Cindi:
Tell me a little bit about who you are, your title and your position at TD Bank.

Steven:
I run our LGBTQ2+ Business Development Group, which currently is the only role of this type at TD in the U.S. My position is also unique in U.S. banking.

Traditionally, financial institutions have looked at customer segments based on product needs – do you need a loan of a certain dollar amount or a specific type of account?  In developing this position, the bank took a different view and  said, "Let's look at a community." And every community enters their financial life at a different time and there are different challenges for each community. When we take a look at the LGBT community, I would say we've lacked some of the professionals that the community needed to help us through certain milestones. And a lot of times it was because we weren't comfortable with the person sitting on the other side of the table.

In my position, I have the goal of helping to make us the employer of choice and the bank of choice in the community. We do that by understanding our customers and their needs so we can have really good conversations and create a plan for their businesses. That includes making sure we discuss cash flow strategies, planning for retirement, planning for home buying, and having kids. These are all the milestones that we should be celebrating just as much as our straight counterparts do.

Cindi:
Give me an example of how your role plays out on a day to day basis.

Steven:
A big part of it is working with organizations like yours. I sit on the certification committee for national, and we have a lot of employees that are involved and ambassadors, and members. My days are about going out in the community and connecting with them. With the number of LGBT-owned businesses in the U.S., NY is really our starting ground.  As a financial institution, TD believes we can add the most value by working with small business owners. It involves helping them find ways to manage their cash flows, whether that's through access to capital, better products and services such as those that will help them collect money from their customers faster or send their payments out quicker. Above all it's about connecting. Connecting with the community and helping them achieve financial success.

Cindi:
How does your work impact the company?

Steven:
There are many different ways that my work impacts the company. One is having colleagues who feel comfortable being their true selves at work; helping them self identify and be open and out at work. It helps them with their career path. When someone looks at my title and sees LGBTQ+ in it, it's eye opening to them and it helps to start a conversation. They realize, “I can actually have a career being who I am.” It helps our company meet suppliers and achieve our supplier diversity goals because we want our customers and our colleagues to mirror each other. I’m helping to connect our customers, colleagues, and communities together so that we can be the bank and employer of choice for the community.

Cindi:
Wonderful. And why has TD chosen to work with nglccNY and help us to advance our work?

Steven:
Connecting communities is so important for us. One of the best ways to connect community is to work with organizations like yours. TD has found that this gives us many different ways to help including getting employees involved through volunteer work such as being ambassadors. I get to volunteer time and sit on the certification committee and really help those businesses get ready so they can go and get contracts.

We have a group of employees who do site visits in our metro New York area to meet with business owners and we're expanding to other areas. So, all of these things help our employees feel connected to the community.

We are a big proponent of small business and finding ways to offer them financial advice. By working with organizations like yours, we're able to provide the right financial tools to help those small businesses succeed.


Cindi:
We’re grateful to you for all of your support. Now let’s switch gears a bit and talk about Pride. How was Pride season for you this year?

Steven:
TD had the honor of being the sponsor of World Pride in Toronto in 2014 and we took World Pride in 2014 and in 2019 as a way to help engage our employees a little bit more. We organized a three-day summit for employees across North America that focused on talking about our customers, colleagues and our communities and how we can, as LGBT employees, go and help connect to communities. We had outside organizations come in to speak as well. The New York City Historic Project came and did a great piece on LGBT history, and Carl Siciliano talked about his organization (The Ali Forney Center) and the impact it has on the community. We learned a lot about Trans Rights and how we as an organization can really help our customers in that space.

It was just a great time for our employees to see our senior executives, work with them, understand our common goals and how we can make a bigger impact. We love pride festivals because they're a great time to celebrate, but I feel like  companies must always ask how can we continue that support? We sponsored 83 Pride Festivals throughout North America this year and helped 160 LGBT non-profit organizations, so Pride is really important for us. But we also focus on what we do after Pride to work with organizations and have an even greater impact. We're not just giving money. We're really making sure that we're helping organizations find ways to succeed.

Cindi:
What's ahead in the coming year? What programs are you working on?



Steven:
We’re working to continue the momentum we started with nglccNY. TD is taking what we've done in New York City and working to bring that to more of your affiliates. We’re also building out my role. There’s such a great connection having someone out in the field. It’s not just marketing to the pink dollar, but really helping us learn how to spend it, save it and use it to manage cash flows of our businesses. We’re looking at finding ways to expand, and I hope to hire a team. That’s where we are right now, taking all things we learned at our summit and WorldPride and making sure that our employees are living our framework every day in the community and making an impact.

Cindi
Is there anything else you want to add?

Steven:
Our community is a great one because there's so much intersectionality. When a corporation is looking at doing the right thing, supporting the LGBTQ community is where we should start. There's still so much work left to do. Having strong corporate partnerships is very important. Volunteering is important. Money only goes a certain way. The power of knowledge and giving of one’s time is worth millions to organizations.


Cindi Creager is the Media & Communications Chair of the nglccNY Executive Committee and co-owner of CreagerCole Communications LLC, a New York City-based public relations firm experienced in LGBTQI issues.

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