Jul 4, 2018
Cementing the power of connected communities: Meet Kari Scarlett, manager of community banking, Prairie Region
They come to work each day to strengthen our relationships with customers and communities.
In this four-part series, we introduce you to some of the dynamic people at TD who are the key players behind our winning customer experience.
Kari Scarlett drives to work each morning knowing she is helping to create stronger and more connected communities.
As a manager of community banking for the Prairie Region based in Calgary, Scarlett works closely with non-profit organizations to grant sponsorships, donations and other forms of support for programs and services that benefit the diverse needs of local communities.
Scarlett began her journey with TD more than five years ago as branch manager, after being Executive Director of Kids Up Front Foundation, a charity that works with underserved children and youth. Her current role is the perfect culmination of her retail banking and non-profit experience.
These days it is Scarlett's job to identify ways to bring TD's The Ready Commitment to life.
"Witnessing the ripple effect of our partnership with community organizations and the impact it has on our customers and their loved ones is motivating and inspiring," said Scarlett.
At last year's Calgary Pride Block Party, a family with a young teen that was questioning their gender identity mentioned in conversation that they were hoping to find counselling and mentorship so that their child could explore their gender identity in a safe and positive environment.
Scarlett helped introduce the family to the Skipping Stone Foundation, a non-profit supported by TD that helps transgender and gender diverse youth access anything from mental health support and transition-related medical services, to peer discussion groups and creative workshops.
"The youth was connected that night to a teenager from the foundation who could act as a mentor," said Scarlett, adding that on the surface it just looked like two kids chatting in the corner at a party.
"But in reality that was a pivotal moment in this young person's life; finding support and knowing they're not alone."
It's moments like this that bring the work alive. Scarlett said after the event that she and the other organizers shared a tearful, joyful moment.
"The family was so grateful for the introduction. For a moment we really felt the importance of what we do and were honoured to promote this foundation in the community. "
In 2017, TD supported more than 250 community partners in the Prairie Region with funding grants, sponsorships and volunteer support.
"As someone who takes our role in the community very seriously, the questions I constantly ask myself when we look to establish these relationships are, 'how can we find community partners that best serve the needs of our customers?' And 'what type of support would help them thrive in the long-term?'" said Scarlett, adding that there are many ways to strengthen communities and to partner with organizations in addition to donations, including making introductions to other community groups to help them grow.
"Support ranges from giving someone free admission to arts and culture events they normally can't access or connecting a youth with someone who can mentor them as they explore questions about gender," she said.
Scarlett said TD is proud to work with another program that enables young Indigenous women to examine their history (which is sometimes fraught with abuse and violence) using theatre as an outlet.
"We know we do good work, but we don't always share the personal stories attached to that work. As bankers we love to talk statistics, like how many trees we planted, or the total amount of money donated, but when we dig a bit deeper and see the impact on a person, or a family, it can make us stand tall and be very proud to work for TD," she said.
"I have the best job, absolutely."