TD's Veterans Summit: 'We are Stronger than Anything That Can Break Us'

Justin Constantine speaking

December 18, 2019 - Diversity & Inclusion New Jersey, New York and PA

Veterans represent huge opportunity in 2020 for TD

TD's Valuing Veterans in the Workforce Summit left 185 attendees with two key takeaways – veterans can significantly empower organizations and the Bank's focus on hiring will intensify in 2020.

Military service gives you "resources you never thought you had. We are stronger than anything that can break us," said keynote speaker Justin Constantine, retired Marine and attorney who works as an inspirational speaker and serves as a liaison between the corporate and military communities. "I know for TD, 2020 will be a great year for hiring vets."

The powerhouse inaugural summit held on November 21, 2019 kicked off with a speech from Andrew Camponelli, TD's Senior Marketing Manager and Veterans Area of Focus (AOF) Lead. He emphasized that TD's veterans' program will be more visible in 2020.

"There are 11 million vets in our footprint," he said. "There is a huge, huge opportunity for talent acquisition and customers. Today is about the start of the dialogue with our veteran community."

Andrew is a strong advocate for the veterans' community at TD, having served 15 years in the U.S. Army as an Aviation Officer /UH-60 Blackhawk Medevac pilot and two tours in Afghanistan and Kuwait/Iraq. He has been at TD for over two years.

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Thanks to all veterans for their service

John Patton, TD's Head of AMCB Diversity and Inclusion, moderated a panel discussion on leadership that highlighted strategies to deepen TD's ties with veterans.

"To all veterans, we thank you for your service," said Girish Ganesan, Head of Talent, TD Bank." We encourage veterans to tell your story, people are genuinely interested. We want people to know that there are opportunities to champion vets at TD."

The request for veterans to tell their story was echoed by Alex Dodd, TD's Lines of Business (LOB) CFO and a U.S. Coast Guard Veteran.

Meredith Rousseau, Senior Vice President, Shared Services, advocated for hiring veterans because they are "both people leaders and extraordinary followers. It's hard to teach and hard to learn in everyday life."

Antoine Tran spoke about his service in Somalia helping distribute aid. The TD Audit Manager and U.S. Army Veteran noted that his military experience has been critical in his career success. He is still a reservist, training 42 days a year.

U.S. Air Force Veterans Eugene Bryant, TD's Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Reporting Senior Manager and Felicia Barnett, TD AML Transaction Manager, spoke about the journey as they transitioned to the civilian job market from the Air Force. The two are co-leads of TD's PA/NJ Veterans Business Resource Group.

The summit included table discussion for attendees to talk about key topics with a veteran sitting with each group to help guide the discussions.

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'I am the luckiest person in this room'

Justin Constantine was the final speaker of the conference. The audience was silent as he spoke about being shot in his left ear on a routine patrol in Iraq. An emergency tracheotomy was performed on the site of the shooting.

As a result of his injuries, Justin is blind in his left eye, lost most of his teeth and the end of his tongue, which has impacted his speech. He cannot run because doctors removed bones from his legs for reconstructing his upper and lower jaws. His first surgery was 19 hours long and he's since had 24 reconstructive surgeries.

However, he has had an incredibly successful career first working with the Department of Justice after his injury and then starting The Constantine Group, which has expanded from motivational and inspirational speaking to many other services. Justin has written two books. He also married the love of his life – Dahlia, whom he met when recovering from his injuries in Walter Reed National Military Center. "I am the luckiest person in this room," he told the audience. "I used the change in my life to better my life and the lives of all those around me.


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