Leverage your connections within TD’s diverse communities
VP, Chief of Staff, Head of Collections, Mount Laurel, NJ
Growing up with a unique blend of cultures shaped Hiroshani’s background and nurtured her appreciation for her heritage. Born in Sri Lanka, and raised in Bahrain, Hiroshani attended boarding school in England and college in Toronto, Canada. “My unique experience living and working in different countries, have influenced how I value my roots while embracing and appreciating all cultures. I am comfortable bringing my whole self to work at TD, where I can embrace my culture along with the rich diversity of my colleagues. My passion for justice, equality, diversity & inclusion is what drives my support for education initiatives which help dispel ignorance and discrimination.”
After college, having launched her career at TD in Toronto, Hiroshani relocated to the United States where she was able to use her Canadian experience to build the Strategic Sourcing function. Having worked for TD for fifteen years, “I’ve learned that when you work for a large organization you must take ownership of your career growth and use all the tools and resources available. At TD, colleagues are happy to support each other, so it’s easy to ask for help and get the support you need to progress your career. There are so many wonderful opportunities throughout the Bank and TD is really invested in developing diverse talent.”
In 2017 Hiroshani was offered the opportunity to attend a leadership program for high potential diverse colleagues. Traveling to Toronto, she spent three days developing her executive presence and communication skills. Hiroshani also met other culturally diverse leaders from Canada and the United States and was able to network with executive leaders from across all lines of business. “It was incredibly inspiring to hear from so many executives of diverse backgrounds. The experience motivated me to get more involved with diversity and inclusion leadership efforts, to give back and help other colleagues advance their careers.”
Hiroshani was also invited to participate in the Urban League of Philadelphia’s Urban Leadership Forum which is an intensive seven-month leadership program including community service contribution to Philadelphia High Schools. She also received valuable training for serving as a board member for non-profits. Leadership training encouraged Hiroshani to recently consider a new career opportunity, as Chief of Staff to the Head of U.S. Collections, which will continue to develop her management skills.
Hiroshani is actively involved with Cultural Employee & Business Groups where she collaborated with peers to launch a professional development program, to help colleagues with resume writing and mock interview workshops. Hiroshani is also proud of an enterprise panel she organized to showcase how employees can bring their whole selves to work, by celebrating and embracing religious beliefs as an element of diversity. The program showcased employees from across the globe celebrating their culture and how their religious requests are accommodated at work while highlighting the commonality across all faiths. “Religion can be a big part of people’s lives and culture and how they bring themselves to work. We wanted to highlight the uniqueness of each religion as well as the similarities across all faiths and TD embraced the idea with resounding support. These are just some of the ways that TD celebrates diversity and educates colleagues in a comfortable space.”
Store Manager Bronx, NY
As Mustafa learned from his Pakistan born parents that Bankers are respected members of the community and treated like one of the family, it’s no wonder he chose a career in banking in 2000. Always looking for ways to give back to the community where he works, Mustafa was thrilled to join TD in 2008 and work in Jackson Heights, the “Little India” section of Queens. As he’d been coming to Jackson Heights since childhood, the community, culture, language, and people were very familiar. “South Asians tend to be very loyal to banks. I developed local community events including financial literacy programs and career development workshops to support our neighbors. In 2016 we started celebrating Diwali and Ramadan with giveaways for the community.”
Pride in his Pakistani roots and love for his community, encouraged Mustafa to become an active member in TD’s Regional Cultural Diversity Business Resource Group (BRG)). Through volunteer activities and networking events, Mustafa’s met many executives who shared helpful career advice. “Through my involvement in the BRG, I was able to lead a fireside chat with our CFO which honed my confidence in public speaking with senior leaders.”
Through his work with the BRG, Mustafa led seminars, collaborated on new initiatives, and launched another Business Resource Group to specifically recognize and support South Asians. Hoping to share lessons learned from his work in New York City, Mustafa traveled to different markets in the TD footprint to promote celebrations and events for the South Asian community. “I was happy to share how promoting cultural awareness of holidays including times of fasting shows support for the community.” Mustafa’s partnered with Diversity and Inclusion and South East Asian Business Resource Group leaders in Canada to discuss best practices. He also worked with TD’s Learning and Development team to consult on training to further promote awareness of the South Asian community.
When traveling to South Asia, Mustafa brings TD swag to give to children in orphanages and schools. He loves watching children’s eyes light up at receiving a small treat from a bank in the United States. When Pakistan was devastated with massive floods, Mustafa reached out to TD leaders who responded with a donation to aid victims. “I was impressed that TD was able to support a global catastrophe.”
Assistant Vice President, U.S. Employee Services & Programs Mount Laurel, NJ
Lilibeth proudly describes herself as a dynamic combination of big personality, passion and ambition who relishes being a resource for the Latinx community. Whether she’s sharing accessible resources to families in need, mentoring those who need career advice, or helping jobseekers with mock interviews, Lilibeth likes to be hands on and get to know the people in her community. “The Latinx culture comes together to help others in need and one of the biggest things I can offer is hope.”
Prior to joining TD almost six years ago, Lilibeth worked as the HR Director of Operations for a Latino-based human services non-profit organization. This experience strengthened Lilibeth’s passion for helping multicultural colleagues advance in the workplace. “I’m always searching for ways to support marginalized communities, create environments where people feel comfortable to share stories about their culture, and realize their voice is important and deserves to be heard. At TD, I’m able to do my job and support my community. I’m able to create visibility for the Latinx community and show who we are and how we contribute.”
While Lilibeth is a busy Human Resources leader who takes pride in her work, she also enjoys sharing her passion for community service with her colleagues. “I encourage my team to think about how we can do more service in our community. This always results in lots of positivity and good feelings. It also helps people find meaningful activities and challenges beyond their day-to-day job. “I think of TD as a community minded bank that uses the grass roots efforts of employees to do good.” Lilibeth’s savvy career advice for her mentees is to “seize the moment and take a chance; invest in your career development; network and nurture relationships; learn all you can about your organization; make time to do good for your community and volunteer!”
Lilibeth has led and championed dynamic U.S. Diversity and Inclusion strategies, programs, and events to empower employee development, mentorship, talent management, and community engagement. She serves as the community organizations and professional chapters liaison while engaging senior leadership support. Lilibeth is also TD’s Co-Chair, Metro Pennsylvania & NJ Cultural Diversity Business Resource Group and Ready Commitment Ambassador. Outside of work, Lilibeth is a board member engaged in supporting the community. Previously, she was an Advisory Board Member for La Salle University Academic Discovery Program which focused on recruitment and strategic initiatives for diverse students. In addition, she served as Vice President of Diversity for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Society of Human Resource Management. Currently, Lilibeth is a Corporate Relations Liaison with Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) Philadelphia Chapter.
Store Manager, Greenwich Avenue, New York, NY
When he joined TD, Ravi didn’t realize the part-time Customer Service Representative job that paid the bills while he was in college would turn into a steppingstone to launch his career in banking. “Working in customer service piqued my interest in banking but I really loved the inclusive TD culture and leadership framework. I found TD’s shared commitments impactful. I take pride in ‘thinking like a customer;’ acting like an owner;’ ‘executing with speed and impact;’ innovating with purpose;’ and developing our colleagues.”
Following his graduation from Queens College, Ravi shifted his original goal of becoming a Graphic Designer. Pursuing leadership training at TD, Ravi became a Store Supervisor in diverse Regal Park in Long Island City, New York. “Opening a new store is always exciting but when you launch in an emerging market and need to build your reputation, you need to knock on doors, make contacts, get to know people and prove your value.” As a first generation, Guianese American whose parents migrated to the U.S. in the 1970’s, Ravi credits the diverse melting pot culture of his Queens, New York home with helping him to embrace all cultures. “Appreciating people’s diverse stories helps you relate and find common ground. When I listen to people’s stories and share my own, it builds trust.”
Ravi’s hands on approach to business and desire to be active in the community helped the Regal Park location thrive and earned him a promotion to Assistant Store Manager. With a successful reputation and willingness to do whatever it takes, Ravi was asked to open another new store, this time in New York City’s Fulton and Pearl Financial District location. Forming strong partnerships with bank leaders, Ravi was instrumental in building the location from the ground up.
“I’ve always enjoyed good relationships with my managers and shared my career goal of becoming a Store Manager. Having clear goals and taking advice of TD leaders helped me make my career goal a reality. I’ve also been fortunate to mentor colleagues in the nuances of opening a successful new location.” Four years ago, Ravi was promoted to Store Manager for the Greenwich Avenue store and takes pride in getting to know customers, colleagues, and community. “I spend a lot of time with my team, and I appreciate their hard work and dedication. I appreciate the challenges that occur daily and the enthusiasm and commitment they bring to work.” Ravi is a hands-on leader who is not above jumping in as a Teller when it gets busy.
Ravi advises job seekers to be curious and open to new opportunities. Look for mentors and people who will advise you and share your goals while listening to their suggestions. “TD is a growth company with so many opportunities for different careers. Your career is not limited at TD, you have wonderful options to grow your career. You should become a member of business resources groups for areas that interest you. Through my involvement in TD’s Regional Cultural Diversity Business Resource Group, I’ve also Co-Led a South Asian Leadership group and used my marketing skills to promote events. As new chapters of our group have opened throughout the TD footprint, I get to meet new people and help them spread their passion for our culture.”
Project Manager,Wilmington, DE
Growing up on a farm in a small village in India, Jay developed a passion for nature, and experienced firsthand the strains of living in difficult circumstances.
Every spring and summer, the wells that supplied water to each home in his town ran dry. Without phones or cars, villagers walked for miles to purchase water from a vendor.
“We really struggled getting water even to drink,” said Jay. Even so, his mother managed to provide water when thirsty strangers knocked on the door, a lesson in the art of giving.
“That’s how I grew up,” he said. These and other early experiences spurred Jay in 2015 to establish the nonprofit Charity Crossing Inc., a volunteer organization dedicated to meeting the basic needs, primarily food and clothing — of people in need in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and India. It also pursues environmentally friendly endeavors.
“Charity Crossing’s mission is to provide basic needs to the homeless and low-income communities, promote volunteerism and giving, and help Mother Nature by reducing waste going to landfills,” he said.
Charity Crossing, with 100 to 150 active volunteers, has helped at least 75,000 people and provided $398,149 in donations. It has donated more than 250,000 gently used clothing, and household items, partly by partnering with retailers to redistribute unsold merchandise that otherwise would head to landfills. The organization has also sponsored numerous volunteer events, including an Autism walk, school supply and holiday gift drives, a prom dress giveaway, personal hygiene kit distribution, and disaster relief efforts.
When the pandemic hit last year, “we never closed our door,” Jay said. In 2020, Charity Crossing served 11,000 meals and distributed 40,000 cloth masks, 16,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, and 10,000 socks to homeless people and low-income families.
In India, Jay leads a project that has planted 60,855 trees in two years. To provide pandemic relief, the organization recently arranged for 20,000 meals for distribution to the homeless and low-income families by providing financing to nonprofit volunteer networks in India.
Seeing the positive impact that Charity Crossing has made has resulted in additional donors and volunteers joining hands to help drive the food distribution initiative.
To keep costs lower and more effectively serve those in need, the group partners with other organizations locally and in India to distribute food, clothing, and household items.
“We don’t do everything ourselves, as we believe in teamwork, we work with other organizations to serve more people,” Jay said.
“Jay is a force in the charity and volunteer world and a great brand ambassador for TD. He brings his passion to work and encourages us all to participate in helping our communities,” said Laura Chadbourne, Portfolio Director, and Jay’s manager. “His commitment to others is reflected in how he manages day-to-day projects and serves as a foundation for his success – here and at Charity Crossing”
Jay’s project management know-how plays an important role at Charity Crossing. His TD Bank projects are “matrixed” efforts that involve working with executives and people who don’t report directly to him; those skills help him provide a fun, heart-warming experience for volunteers, specifically those who are younger.
Jay’s childhood experiences inspire him with this charity work. His paternal grandmother, a single mom who raised four children, labored in the fields, and would cook dishes from plants that she cleared away and brought home, he said. The family started to cook meals for people, which increased their income and helped Jay’s father obtain his engineering degree. His father, the family’s first graduate, in turn helped other relatives.
Growing up on his maternal grandparents’ farm, Jay helped with chores and would walk to and from school. “That’s when I fell in love with mother nature, trees, animals,” he said. His family later moved to Chennai, a metropolitan city where they struggled financially; with only two shirts and two pairs of pants his entire high school freshman year, Jay learned the importance of food and clothing.
“Many of the children these days have no idea of these things,” said Jay, a father of two daughters who volunteer with the organization. “My kids who are growing up in the suburbs, they have very little exposure to that other side of life.”
An advocate for the power of community service, Jay successfully urged Delaware legislators to pass a resolution recognizing April as “Volunteer Month” in the state this year. And in 2020, he was bestowed an honor few Americans receive. President Donald Trump awarded Jay with the President’s Call to Service Award for his 4,000+ hours of extraordinary service. It is the highest level of the President’s Volunteer Service Award.
After operating from his home for years, he is raising funds for a leased warehouse and a truck so volunteers can pick up more pallets of merchandise donated by retailers.
Driving his efforts is a desire to bring happiness to people. “It warms my heart. I feel healthy. I sleep well. My mind always thinks about new ideas to find ways to help others.”
Vice President, Store Manager,Canal Street, New York, NY
Prior to attending New York University where she would major in Computer Science, Anne needed a summer job and thought banking would be a good option. “I thought banks closed by 3:00 pm so I took a test and got a job as a Teller in a bank in Chinatown in New York City. I was immediately impressed with the professional environment and loved working with customers. I set my sights on getting a desk job at the bank.”
As the fastest Teller at her location, Anne was invited to extend her summer job and continued working part time as she pursued her degree. Following graduation, Anne was offered a role in a Management Training program. Unsure of the right path to launch her career, Anne realized retail banking was a great fit for her people focused personality and she wanted to learn everything about banking. Within six months of graduation Anne was promoted to an Assistant Branch Manager opportunity. When her manager retired four years later, Anne was promoted to Branch Manager.
Anne’s banking career continued to thrive but took a detour following some major life events. Anne paused her career to start a family. She opened a store (which grew to four locations) that helped her blend work with the needs of her family. Anne also got cancer and needed to focus on her health. “Around the time that I was cancer-free and sold my stores, a friend encouraged me to go back to work in banking. I started part-time and quickly got used to the pace of retail banking. While I enjoyed working with customers, I wanted to find a bank with a great work culture. A former colleague referred me to TD and encouraged me to consider an Assistant Store Manager role. Despite a longer commute, I took the job because I was impressed with TD’s inclusive culture.” A few years later, as Anne’s manager retired, Anne was promoted to Store Manager.
How did TD’s culture convince Anne to take a step back to her current role and endure a longer commute? “At other banks I’ve felt like a number, at TD, leadership views you as a whole person and offers support, appreciates dedication and hard work.” Anne feels growing up in an immigrant family shows you’re taught to work hard and put your best foot forward. “Watching your parents struggle can make you question if you can succeed in corporate America because of glass ceilings. It’s common to believe you won’t find success. I’ve found diversity inspiring and with hard work, the sky’s the limit.”
Looking back on her career, Anne is proud to have broken down language barriers between the bank and Chinatown locals and was able to use her expertise in financial literacy to help customers navigate applications, ensuring their banking experiences were successful. During the recent COVID crisis, many of Anne’s small business customers who make up the vast majority of the Chinatown community, lost millions of dollars in revenue from the stay-at-home mandate. Some businesses were forced to close, but many were able to survive thanks to the positive reputation TD held because of Anne’s continued support of small business owners. From helping customers understand the Paycheck Protection Program to providing daily banking essentials during lockdown, Anne ensured the needs of her customers were met. “I’m honored that the community where I grew up was able to trust both TD Bank and I with their finances during a time when peoples livelihood and businesses became threatened.” For her outstanding performance during the pandemic, Anne won TD’s 2020 CEO Leadership Award and the Vision In Action award.
Retail Market President, South Florida
To Felipe, being American means you have a special connection to another country. As a first generation American of Cuban decent, Felipe loves the music, food, and people of his family’s homeland. “Your culture is how you express yourself and your values. It’s how you appreciate the nuances that make your heritage extraordinary.”
The Spanish language is a big part of Felipe’s home life. “My family frequently speak “Spanglish” at home, we love the combination of Spanish and English words and phrases. It’s wonderful to have everyone excited and speaking at the same time combining languages. The rich Spanish language beautifully captures the unique meaning of phrases and words; it’s how your express yourself and connects people in my culture.”
Felipe enjoys learning about other people’s cultures and looks for similarities to identify what unites us. “I don’t label people. I don’t assume that if you’re Hispanic, I know everything about your culture. I’m curious and ask questions about people’s heritage; I give them the opportunity to brag about where they’re from.”
Pride in his Cuban heritage was re-introduced to Felipe after he graduated from high school. “I had blond hair and fair skin and people didn’t notice an accent, so they were surprised I was Cuban. Wanting to fit in, I referred to myself as Phil rather than Felipe. People would ask me where I was from because I didn’t look Cuban. I asked myself ‘what does Cuban look like’? Like all countries, Cuba has descendants from all over the world. I became passionate about helping people learn and appreciate different cultures.”
Felipe considers himself very approachable, friendly, and happy to connect with people throughout the bank. “I’ve always found people at TD are interested in my journey and those of my colleagues. There are many Business Resource Groups that allow me to support my gratitude for my culture while gaining exposure to new heritages.” Throughout his career, Felipe’s found it impactful to be agile, flexible, and curious, while always finding ways to diversify his professional experience. “At TD, there’s tremendous appreciation and support for diversity. We offer employees resources to excel and encourage them to seek opportunities to grow their career.”
Carmen Fleetwood Paul
Senior News Writer and Editor, Corporate and Public Affairs, (CAPA), Mount Laurel, NJ
One of the joys of Carmen’s life is doing pet therapy with her golden retriever, Elsa. Visiting nursing homes and schools, they enjoy meeting new people. Recently, the pair were asked to join the hospice program at their local Veterans Administration hospital.
“I had a million excuses for not participating, but the truth was I was afraid of the sadness. I was about to respond via email while sitting in my dining room when I looked at the portrait of my late mother. My beautiful Paraguayan mother – Maria Emilia Valenzuela Fleetwood. I then remembered one of the most important lessons she gave me.”
She had returned to medicine after a 20-year hiatus to raise her family. Her new practice in the mid-1980s was in Jersey City, a place devastated by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It was a time when some healthcare providers quit to avoid treating these patients. The providers that did treat HIV/AIDS patients, did so while wearing full masks and gloves to prevent direct skin contact.
My mother had the burden of telling a young woman that she tested positive for HIV – at that time a virtual death sentence. Not wearing any protective gear, my mother hugged the young woman, and they spoke and cried together for two hours.
I asked my mother why she took the risk. She said simply “no one should be alone at that time. I am from Paraguay, and we don’t leave people when they need us most.”
I knew what I had to do with the request for the hospice program – I wrote my email asking when I could start.
It’s been a difficult time in the Hispanic community with incidents such as the El Paso shooting and immigration debates. The celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month has caused me to consider what my roots mean.
My mother was born in Paraguay and first came to Boston when she received a fellowship at Harvard Medical School. Afterwards, she married my father, whose Virginia family first arrived in the U.S. from England in the late 17th century. She became a proud U.S. citizen after the birth of her three children in New York City, but she also continued to take pride in being from Paraguay. I primarily grew up in suburban New Jersey in a blended household where we celebrated the traditions of both my parents. But few people knew much about Paraguay in my area. It’s a landlocked country in Southern Central South America of about 6 million people. The population is mostly mixed between Spanish and the native Indians – Guarini. The official languages are both Spanish and Guarini. Its most significant imports include the sweetener Stevia and beef.
“In our family, we ate steak regularly (my grandmother believed it was unhealthy not to eat daily), Sopa de Paraguay (a type of cornbread), empanadas, Dulce de leche, and my favorite, Milanese, which is a breaded meat dish. We listened to Paraguayan harp and guitar music.” Carmen’s family was different in that they always had dinners together. “We also took joy in the simplest things, such as going to the supermarket on Saturday as a family. While I admit to being embarrassed by those trips as a teen, they are now treasured memories. It’s something that I live by today. One of the happiest things for me is a simple Sunday barbecue with my husband.”
Carmen has a special affinity in Paraguay between its people and horses. “My grandmother Carmen (whom I am named after) was an excellent side-saddle rider. I’ve carried on the equestrian tradition, but as a dressage rider.”
The poverty level in Paraguay is about 30%, and life is hard. But you may be surprised that the 2016 Gallup Global Emotions Report named it as the happiest country on the globe. I believe it’s because of the soul of the Paraguayan culture – one that accepts the hardship of life and strives to make it better.
Perhaps one of the best illustrations is The Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, an orchestra of Paraguayan children who had to make musical instruments made from scrap materials collected from landfills because of a lack of money. This group went on to playing all over the world with major stars, such as Stevie Wonder, Metallica, and Megadeth.
“I know my mother would be thrilled that I am working for TD, the “Unexpectedly Human” Bank. She believed that reaching out was the most important thing about life after family. She would certainly enjoy the culture of making people a priority – saying that was the Paraguayan way.”
Carmen’s been learning more about the value of reaching out with her volunteer work at the hospice. Visiting people weekly at the end of their lives has been both joyous and sad. “Elsa and I are there for the people when they need a joy that only a dog can bring, whether it’s talking about the dogs they’ve had in the past or just comforting family as their loved one dies. I know this role honors my mother and my Paraguayan roots for which I am so proud.”