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Advancing Women's Leadership

Ready to Embrace Equity? It Starts with Embracing Intersectionality

graphic illustration of diverse women
Sponsored by:
graphic illustration of diverse women
Sponsored by:

Christine Morris

Senior Executive Vice President of Transformation, Enablement, and Customer Experience & Enterprise Chair, Women at TD

Grace Lawani 

Compliance Business Oversight Manager, TD

Diana Lee

Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion, TD Bank Group

Recognizing intersectionality and forging gender equity are ingrained in TD’s workplace culture, as told by three of its inspiring women leaders.

This International Women’s Day (IWD) — as we celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness about discrimination, and take action to drive gender parity — activists around the world, from global brands to grassroots groups, are focusing on this year’s IWD theme: #EmbraceEquity.

Equity is notably different from equality. It’s time to recognize that equal opportunities aren’t enough, because people start from different places — and true inclusion and belonging require equitable action and a deep understanding of intersectionality. 

This work is happening at all levels of society, including in the workplace and at organizations like TD Bank Group (TD), a Canadian multinational banking and financial institution. When it comes to supporting diversity, equity and inclusion, including gender equity, we all need to be part of the solution — allies included.

Understanding intersectionality 

Intersectionality, a term coined by civil rights advocate and scholar Kimberle Crenshaw, refers to the interconnected nature of social identities such as race, gender, and sexual orientation and how they can overlap and impact people’s experiences, including different layers of discrimination and inequality.

“Intersectionality to me is recognizing that people’s social identities can overlap and acknowledging that everyone has their own unique experience,” says Grace Lawani, Compliance Business Oversight Manager at TD. “I don’t fit into a particular box, so sometimes we have to create these boxes ourselves. For instance, I identify as Black, as a woman, and as a newcomer to Canada, and so my experience is unique to myself.”

TD’s leadership team understands the importance of recognizing intersectionality and has created a workplace culture that strongly embraces diversity. “TD wants you to bring your true, authentic self to work,” says Lawani. It’s a win-win situation, she notes — employees are able to define themselves and to thrive in an accepting and diverse culture while TD benefits by having colleagues who are able to show up as the best versions of themselves.

Fostering inclusive workplaces

“At TD, we believe in the power of diverse and inclusive teams, and that inclusive workplaces ultimately bring the best out of everyone. Representation matters. Our aim is for our colleagues and customers to see themselves reflected at TD, including within senior leadership levels.” says Diana Lee, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at TD. “Both equity and intersectionality are vital to diversity and inclusion efforts.”

As a leader, Lee has always been an advocate of the Women at TD area of focus and network. She also recognizes that it’s just a piece of the puzzle, intersecting with TD’s broader diversity and inclusion efforts, including those focused on Black Experiences, Visibile Minorities/Minorities, Indigenous Peoples, People with Disabilities/Individuals with Disabilities, the 2SLGBTQ+ community, and Veterans.  

“We’ve established programs and training to promote understanding of equity and intersectionality, and emphasize the importance of accountability and active allyship,” says Lee. “Ultimately, training and awareness are the first steps — it’s vital that our actions drive inclusion and equity, and that’s our focus at TD.”  

Influencing positive change 

For Christine Morris, Senior Executive Vice President of Transformation, Enablement, and Customer Experience at TD and Enterprise Chair of Women at TD, championing change within the organization began as a natural result of her personal story — but evolved as her learning and understanding of intersectionality expanded.

“The role of Enterprise Chair of Women at TD means a lot to me,” she says. “When I first came in as Chair, I wanted to make sure I could make a meaningful impact. A large part of the role is being a leader in the space, setting an example in how I work and interact with colleagues, and ensuring that I’m supporting other women as they navigate their own journeys. The more I worked in the portfolio, the more I realized that everyone has a differing experience, person to person, woman to woman. Even though my experiences might not be the same as everyone else’s, I see this as an opportunity to broaden my responsibility to community members and be an active ally.”

Having grown and evolved in her own role, Morris’ focus is on supporting women across TD and at all levels.

A history of success and support 

Across TD, embracing equity is part of the bank’s DNA. From understanding intersectionality to promoting positive change in the organization to making sure everyone has a seat at the table, the organization is leading the way in creating a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace.

We strive to embed diversity and inclusion, which are core to the TD culture, across all dimensions of our business.

Diana Lee

“Organizations, including TD, have a responsibility to create a work environment where all colleagues can bring their best selves to work and perform at their peak,” says Morris. “If organizations neglect to recognize this, employees can fall into exclusion and diverse perspectives and opinions can be missed. Diversity of perspectives, experiences, and opinions only makes a business better.” 

To learn more about how TD is embracing equity, visit td.com.

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