Dec 5, 2018
Setting the scene: Meet Martha MacInnis, Head of Retail Design & Experience
TD is proud to employ more than 85,000 individuals across North America and around the world, many of them in unique roles that aren't often associated with financial institutions.
In the latest iteration of our 'Meet TD' series, we introduce you to some of the people working at TD in creative roles that add new depths and dimensions to our culture.
There are many jobs within financial institutions that require an aptitude for numbers, procedures, or servicing transactions for customers.
But for Martha MacInnis, a good day's work doesn’t usually depend on figures and spreadsheets, but rather focuses on “experience.”
Walk into any TD branch in North America, and there’s a good chance that MacInnis designed the space, right down to the layout of the offices and placement of the art, so that it feels just right.
"You sort of start by envisioning this tiny version of yourself in the environment and then try to understand what the space will feel like from a customer's perspective," said MacInnis, TD's head of Retail Design & Experience for North America.
"In the past, the attention was mostly on what the space would look like physically—paint colours, materials, style of furniture. Those are still important but now there is significant focus on the experience. I ask myself how the people occupying the space will interact with it on a daily basis and how it will serve their needs."
Over the last 10 years, MacInnis (who is based in New Jersey) has designed a number of physical spaces for TD, including unique offices and corporate space, in addition to retail branches frequented by customers.
And as you might expect, she spent her childhood designing room layouts on graph paper and her artistic inclinations were encouraged by her mother and grandmother (who were also both artistic), but she never pictured herself working for a bank.
"When you're in school, the discussion around where you can take your career is often focused on leadership opportunities at architectural firms rather than on broader opportunities with organizations outside the design world such as retailers or banks," said MacInnis, who got her start working for a firm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania designing corporate spaces after graduating from design school.
Eventually, she was given an opportunity to work with TD as a client which led to another opportunity for her to bring her talents to the bank full time.
"Before joining, I thought working here [at TD] was just for banking professionals,” she said. “However, I've learned there are creative opportunities to pursue your dreams and utilize your skills far beyond the architectural world."
When it comes to designing retail areas like branches, MacInnis says she wants customers and employees to feel as though the space is inviting and comfortable. Well before any construction begins, space efficiency, the use of technology, and environmental sustainability factors are also considered.
For MacInnis, balancing the needs of customers and the requirements of the bank, while designing spaces that are efficient, flexible and adaptable can be challenging, but rewarding.
"As technology and the way people bank changes, it can be challenging to predict just how banking will look even five years from now or what the needs of customers will be," said MacInnis.
"This is why it's important to have spaces that can be easily adapted as the way customers interact with us changes."
MacInnis said that in many branches across North America, customers may choose the setting where they wish to have conversations with their financial advisor. Environments range from very small and casual spaces to semi-private booths—such as those seen in restaurants—that are equipped with technology designed to facilitate conversations with customers.
A view of the TD Cube at 161 Bay Street in Toronto where, inside, a boardroom and graphic digital art take centre stage.
One of MacInnis' favourite examples of her work is the recently renovated branch at 161 Bay Street in Toronto, Canada. The space includes SMART ATMs, an oversized digital screen to display new media art, as well as a large TD Cube—an iconic symbol of the bank's brand—that doubles as a boardroom.
"We want to give customers the best experience possible so allowing them to choose where they feel the most comfortable having financial conversations makes sense," said MacInnis, adding that rapidly changing technology creates the added challenge to keep evolving spaces to incorporate things like computers and other devices into them.
"It's what keeps me on my toes," said MacInnis. "It's my job to create places where people will feel a sense of community and feel comfortable having some of the most important financial conversations of their lives."