Women Leaders Q&A: Rona Ambrose

We connected with several prominent women leaders in Canada to hear their thoughts on women in the workplace, women’s health, and why they support Women for Women’s.

Meet The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Deputy Chairwoman at TD Securities

I am the Deputy Chairwoman at TD Securities. I have a unique role that enables me to work in many different areas across the business, both internally and externally. I thrive on having a diverse range of work to focus on and since TD is a massive company with international reach, there’s no shortage of opportunities! I oversee a team that works with me and adapts as the scope of my work does. TD Securities is a supportive employer that enables me to spend time on passion projects of mine, which almost always involve promoting equal rights for women and girls but also for our veterans. I am the Chair of both the Women’s Economic Council of Canada and the Women’s Economic Council of Alberta, I sit on the board of Plan International Canada, and I work closely with the Veterans Transition Network, which has been instrumental in rescuing our partners who have been trapped in Afghanistan since August 2021. 

How do you think the pandemic has changed the landscape for women in the workforce – particularly at a leadership level?

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced employers to get perspective. Many workplaces have begun to reckon with the inequities that women employees have always (silently!) juggled. As a result, we are seeing companies permanently offer employees flexible work arrangements and more manageable hours. 

That said, as employers reopen offices, we are already seeing the overwhelming majority of those returning to in-person work be men. When given the option, women are choosing to continue working from home. My concern is what this lack of “face time” will mean for promotions and workplace recognitions. Business leaders will have to ensure they don’t overlook the potential a woman employee has because she is working remotely. 

The pandemic has exacerbated many issues that have always existed. Women, regardless of whether they are in a leadership role or not, wear many hats. At any given time, they’re balancing all those responsibilities in addition to their job. Leaders can’t ignore this anymore. Over the past two years, we’ve seen an exodus of women from the workforce. One of the biggest lesson’s employers can learn is that going forward we must be intentional about creating supportive teams and workplaces for all employees, including those in leadership roles.

Tell us about a moment in your personal or professional life that motivated you to speak out for equity for women?

It doesn’t come down to one moment. It has been my mindset my whole life. I spent many years of my childhood living in countries where I saw firsthand the disparity of rights and the economic inequality that women and girls experience just because of their sex. I have made it my life’s mission to stand up and speak out for these injustices whenever and wherever I can. 

How does your company help to create equity for women in the workplace?

TD has made a great effort to ‘walk the walk’. Across the Bank there are employee-led groups like Women in Leadership and the Working Parents Committee, that work to inspire, develop and highlight women and working parents while also building allyship. Long before the Covid-19 pandemic, TD already had flexible workplace policies to better support the realities of family life. 

TD Securities has supported Women’s College Hospital for a long time as well as many other important external organizations that seek to level the playing field and correct health and economic inequities. Genuine efforts like these are some of the reasons why I am proud to work with the TD team and its leadership. If you’re a woman looking to make a career move, TD is a great place to be! 

Why are you raising your voice for women’s health at Women for Women’s?

The truth is women aren’t always great at asking for help. We’re used to managing everything that comes our way. At times, this comes at a real cost to both physical and mental health, and our general well-being. Women for Women’s is an important initiative that calls to attention the health inequities many women face in Canada. Anytime dialogue like this is brought to the forefront more people become educated, inspired, and motivated to evoke positive change. 

To join the movement to revolutionize healthcare with Rona at Women for Women’s, visit: womenforwomens.ca