Embracing Diversity Good for the Soul – and Business – says TD Bank CEO

Being on the right side of history is a positive, he argues

By Julian Beltrame, The Canadian Press, HR Reporter

TD Bank chief executive Ed Clark says being a champion of social issues is not something rewarded “just in heaven” but also benefits the bank’s bottom line.

The bank executive, who gave a key speech at the WorldPride Human Rights Conference in Toronto on Wednesday, said TD awoke to diversity issues about a decade ago and has since become a major advocate for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community and sponsor of 42 pride festivals across North America.

In an interview before the speech, Clark said he has not tried to calculate whether his bank’s public advocacy on the issue has won him more customers than it has lost him, but thinks overall it has been good for TD.

“I don’t know and I don’t care, to be honest,” he said. “People are trying to build great institutions that will last 100 years, (so if) somebody says, ‘Well, I’m going to take my money out if you sponsor pride parades,’ you say, ‘Take it out.”’

Over time, creating an institution that is on the right side of history and creates a welcoming, open culture for people of different sexual orientation and ethnic groups is a positive, Clark added.

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