By Lincoln DePradine
Jamaica-born Al Ramsay, hired by TD Bank in 2005 and a member of its “wealth leadership team’’, has been widely recognized for his outreach efforts to traditionally marginalized communities, including Canadians of African descent.
However, Ramsay believes one of his greatest accomplishments has been his role in TD’s recent launch of a new initiative called the “Black Customer Experience Strategy’’.
“This is one of the proudest moments in my career so far,’’ Ramsay said in a comment on social media. “Our full-time dedicated team’s mandate is to act as the key liaison between TD and the Black community.’’
Ramsay, on being employed by TD, was given the title of associate vice president for sales and strategy, and head of LGBTQ2+ business development. His primary assignment was to enhance diversity and design a strategy to better connect the bank with the needs of underrepresented members of the LGBTQ2+ and Black communities across Canada.
His mandate now has been expanded to include responsibility for spearheading the Black Customer Experience Strategy.
“I’m truly honoured to assume this historic mandate,’’ said Ramsay. “We have learned much from our community and professional organizational relationships about how we can better promote diversity and inclusion and where to provide more support. We know that there is always more work to be done; but, we are committed to helping remove barriers that Black communities have traditionally faced – whether that be access to wealth management, financial advice or support for entrepreneurs.’’
TD’s launch of the Black Customer Experience Strategy follows years of research and data collection.
The bank said it also was influenced into launching the new initiative after two events last year. One was the cop-killing in the United States of George Floyd; the other was the passing of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a Black woman who fell to her death from a balcony while police were in her apartment on the 24th floor of a building in Toronto.
The two incidents, said the bank, “forced long-overdue conversations about racism, unconscious bias and inequities into the open and helped to accelerate diversity and inclusion initiatives at TD. This also prompted the bank to have more frank and transparent conversations about anti-Black racism, and to commit to increasing the presentation of Black executives by 2022.’’
Over the years, TD has partnered with organizations such as the Black Business & Professional Association and Black Hxouse – a Toronto-based program assisting Black, Indigenous and People of Colour.
The community partnership has included a TD $10 million donation to the Black Opportunity Fund, whose mission is to raise and mobilize the world’s largest permanent pool of capital to allocate grants and other financial resources to Black-focused, Black-led and Black-serving community organizations.
According to Ramsay, now that the Black Customer Experience Strategy has been launched, TD will need to “further drill down on the existing diversity among Black and other underrepresented communities and the specific challenges they face, taking into account the role that intersectionality plays. This nuanced approach will better inform future efforts to help create greater inclusion and support for customers from all communities’’, he said.
“There is no homogenous Black community,’’ Ramsay added. “If our Black Customer Experience Strategy is to succeed in supporting more Black entrepreneurs and communities in an authentic and meaningful way, then the approach that we need to take is one that prioritizes these different needs, however nuanced or unique they may be.’’