Executive Summary: Women play key leadership roles for TD in Atlantic Canada
Posted on January 02, 2024 | Sponsored Content | 0 Comments
Greater representation of women in senior roles of private enterprise is not just a question of equality; it’s a matter of competitive advantage. By almost every measure, companies that make gender diversity a top priority outperform those that don’t. An analysis by McKinsey & Company (Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters, May 19, 2020) found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25 per cent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile.
Unfortunately, according to some recent estimates, women still comprise only a modest percentage of business CEOs in Canada, including the Atlantic provinces. Law firm Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt’s 2021 Diversity, Disclosure Practices Report found, for example, that the proportion of women executive officers in this country increased only slightly to 18.2 per cent, from 17 per cent in 2020.
What’s more, while female-founded companies continue to outperform the broader market, women entrepreneurs continue to face systemic barriers within the venture capital ecosystem, according to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (WES Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative, March 5, 2023). “Globally, women-led start-ups received just 2.3 per cent of venture capital funding in 2020,” it reported. “In 2021, Canadian women accounted for 19.4 per cent of partners at venture capital firms.”
“I am priveleged to be part of an organisation like TD that encourages the advancement of women, both internally and externally, among our existing amazing women clients and future ones.”
At TD Bank Group (TD), we’re tackling these problems head on. For one thing, we’re leading by example. As our publicly available 2022 Environmental, Social and Governance Report makes clear, women at TD currently hold 40 per cent of all vice-president (or higher) level positions, and we’re on schedule to boost that to 45 per cent, or more, by 2025. For another, our accredited Women in Enterprise (WE) program – developed by women for women, piloted in 2020 – is a first for the Canadian banking industry. It is helping TD business bankers to better understand what women business owners need to help close the gaps and succeed on their own terms.
Here are stories of three TD women executives who are blazing trails for women across Atlantic Canada.
“Building confidence as a leader takes time,” says Isabelle Ménard. “You can’t always please every single person; it’s got to be for the greater good of the team.”
Following 14 years of international commercial banking experience, Ménard joined TD’s team in 2010. Since then, she’s held roles leading the Financial Restructuring Group for Eastern Canada, in commercial risk management, and as a District Vice-President for the down-town Montreal commercial banking center.
Under her leadership, the district delivered excellent results while operating in a fiercely competitive market. Her passion for legendary customer service, instilling in her teams a will to win, and developing talent proved pivotal and led her to key positions as Vice-President, Commercial Credit Risk Management in Toronto and Region Read, Quebec and Atlantic for Private Wealth Management.
Ménard – a graduate of McGill and Queens Universities – has been Senior Vice President, Quebec & Atlantic Commercial Banking District and Commercial National Accounts (CNA) Quebec since November 1, 2022, and was recently invited to join the by-invitation-only International Women’s Forum.
She says, “I am privileged to be part of an organisation like TD that encourages the advancement of women, both internally and externally, among our existing amazing women clients and future ones. One of the most important programs is WE. Women are in so many different situations; they have to adapt and be flexible at so many different levels. I would say never give up, and persevere. You’ll figure it out. When you’re leading a team, at some point, you have to be decisive. Having the best information and resources at your disposal is key to creating success. That’s my priority.”
Vautour also makes no bones about her priorities. It’s simple, she says: “My goal is simply to put a spotlight on Atlantic Canada’s amazing women entrepreneurs.”
To that end, she notes: “We are expanding our network of WE bankers across Canada, including the Atlantic region. WE bankers receive training to better understand the barriers and biases that women face in accessing financing. This accreditation empowers TD bankers to establish the much-needed relationship of trust for women in business.”
Vautour comes by her passion for business and entrepreneurship naturally. A graduate of Université de Moncton (Bachelor Business Administration in Accounting and Finance, 1995; Master Business Administration, 2009), she is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CMA, 2015). As a 25-year veteran of the banking industry, her wide-ranging experience encompasses personal, auto, equipment finance (specializing in fisheries), where she worked with TD Commercial Banking Centres throughout Atlantic Canada.
I like to think that the various roles I’ve held – banking, financing, sales and marketing, human resources – have prepared me to help make tangible differences for women in enterprise in Atlantic Canada.”
She’s also served on the boards of directors of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Moncton (director and treasurer, 2019-22) and the Heavy Civil Association of Newfoundland & Labrador (director, 2018-22). “I like to think that the various roles I’ve held – banking, financing, sales and marketing, human resources – have prepared me to help make tangible differences for women in enterprise in Atlantic Canada,” she says. “These experiences allow me to focus on women-owned and women-led businesses within the Atlantic region, providing useful support and opportunities geared to their potential.”
In fact, says Krystal Van Westerop, “When we think about our process for the WE program, we are hesitant to do anything that doesn’t actually remove barriers for women. It’s crucial to us that we’re doing it, not just saying it.”
Van Westerop – who was just appointed TD’s District Vice-President for Newfoundland and Labrador, becoming the first woman in that role – certainly knows a few things about goals-setting and productivity. A graduate of the University of Ottawa (Bachelor of Commerce, 2007, she’s been with TD Business Banking for 16 years, performing many diverse roles in commercial banking locations throughout Ontario; the Commercial National Accounts group, covering both the automotive and food and beverage industries; and risk adjudication. As a volunteer, Krystal has been the National Chair for the volunteer network within Business Banking at TD which includes150 employees across the country. She was acting Vice-Chair of the Vaughan Chamber of Commerce Women’s Committee (2019-23), working to support local women entrepreneurs. Currently, she’s a member of the Women Enterprise Organizations of Canada’s (WEOC) Loan Advisory Committee.
When we think about our process for the WE program, we are hesitant to do anything that doesn’t actually remove barriers for women.”
—Krystal Van Westerop
In her previous role, Krystal lead TD Business Banking’s strategy around women-owned and women-led businesses by collaborating internally and externally with WE focused organizations to support WE and by educating stakeholders and colleagues on the WE program.
“I have had the great opportunity to lead the women’s segment of Business Banking at TD,” she says. “We are working to grow the footprint nationally with WE accredited bankers across the country to support women in enterprise in Canada. We went from 17 accredited WE bankers in the 2020 pilot in Quebec to now almost 200 across the country. So, absolutely, not only am I passionate about career advancement and success for women and all diverse communities, I believe there’s a real-world business case for supporting these activities.”
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