"Remarks to Richard Ivey School of Business"
Thank you Dr. (Paul) Davenport.
Good afternoon everyone and thank you Paul for your warm and generous introduction. On behalf of TD Bank Financial Group and my colleagues present in the room this afternoon, Teri and I are delighted to join all of you here today to present the Richard Ivey School of Business with our gift, which will provide deserving students with educational funding for many years to come.
I, of course, have a strong personal connection to Ivey and I proudly place myself among the many enthusiastic ambassadors of the incredible benefits of an Ivey business education for the business community both in Canada and abroad.
To the graduates here today: You can feel confident that your experience here has laid an exceptionally firm foundation for all your future endeavours – both in your personal lives and in your careers
At TD, we understand the financial burden that post-secondary and graduate studies places on many students. We also know that an investment in post-secondary and graduate education pays back significant returns to society.
Because economic circumstances shouldn’t prevent talented individuals from furthering their education and developing to their fullest potential, TD Bank Financial Group is committed to helping support education in Canada. Part of that commitment means supporting The University of Western Ontario and the Richard Ivey School of Business —both renowned for innovative teaching and research and for strong programs of local, regional and international outreach.
We’re proud at TD to support Western, Ivey and their community in a way that will help current and future graduate students reach their goals.
Now, over to you Teri .
Thanks Tim. Actually, we’re not usually a tag-team act for hire, but as an Ivey grad myself, I really wanted to be here today to help announce this special gift and the impact we believe it can have on the future of women business leaders in Canada.
At TD, we truly believe that one of the keys to a rewarding, productive life is access to a high quality education. We also believe that by investing in education NOW, we will help ensure the success of Canada in the future.
Now, while we know that every graduate school in Canada must have students committed to building their own futures AND every graduate school must have great instructors to motivate their students to succeed, we also are very much aware of the need for MBA programs at Canada’s business schools to be more representative of Canada’s female population. To encourage this, it’s important to help remove the financial barriers many women face when considering a business education.
As Dean Stephenson has already mentioned, Ivey has a current female MBA enrollment of 35% -- higher than the national average of 30%. But we truly believe that more needs to be done to ensure that we, as Canadian businesses, are helping to increase the number of women corporate officers in Canada’s business community. In support of this goal, I am very pleased (and know Tim is too) that TD was able to partner with the Richard Ivey School of Business in the creation of the TD Bank Financial Group Women in Management MBA Awards.
At this time, I would like to give you a little history on the creation of these student awards. As Dean Stephenson has already indicated in her remarks, the study released by Catalyst earlier this month indicates that the overall number of women in senior leadership roles in Canadian businesses has risen less than 2% since 2002. Not surprisingly, statistics continue to indicate that women are indeed still significantly underrepresented as directors and corporate officers in business.
But things are beginning to change through increased awareness and ongoing practise
Like many companies, TD has created diversity roles in our own organization to address the need of attracting women and visible minorities to senior company positions. And this is not just a Canadian human resources issue either because industry leaders are finding out that, in a competitive global market, your workforce must be representative of the diverse communities it serves.
Through extensive consultations with women at middle and senior management positions in our own organization, we know that flexible and supportive work environments are important to women with families as they build their careers, but there was also a need for the executive of our organization to implement initiatives to support the promotion of women to senior management positions.
So over the past year, TD Bank Financial Group has initiated mentoring programs, symposiums with question and answer sessions, career panels and formal and informal networking opportunities – all for women.
Additionally, we’ve begun to build stronger relationships with organizations such as the Women’s Executive Network, the Canadian Women’s Foundation, Women in Leadership and other groups to help create opportunities for women both inside our own organization and to support the outreach initiatives of women’s organizations that are committed to breaking down barriers and building the careers of women.
So, when the Richard Ivey School of Business approached TD to consider a partnership opportunity to establish a bursary initiative aimed at making business education more accessible to working women, we considered it a perfect fit. We’re proud to be partnering with one of Canada’s top business schools to provide financial assistance that will create opportunities for dozens of women.
At TD, we believe that a quality business school education plays an important role in sculpting the business leaders of tomorrow, unlocking future opportunities that will enrich our community. Thank you.