Member Spotlight - Bharati Sethiya - Lean in Canada

Tell us a bit about what you do, and what do you enjoy most about it?

I am a Tech Lead at TD Bank on the Channels mobile team. I have loved programming since I was first introduced to it in high school. I have participated in many tech jams and hackathons and won the Grand Champion award at the Google Android FireBase Hackathon at AnDevCon, Boston. My mantra for success is “Value your team and be a team player – a successful team leads to your own personal success”. Outside of work, I am a mom of four-year–old son and enjoy spending my time with friends and family.

In the digital age, what I enjoy most is the everyday challenge to keep myself up to date with the latest technology.

How does your workplace promote an inclusive environment?

Over the past decade we have made fantastic progress in inclusion and diversity at TD and we have a lot to be proud of.

The Women in Leadership (WIL) Committee has been on a Listening Tour to gather feedback from colleagues across the bank. What we heard most often is that we have a great culture and tremendous engagement, but what people really want is more guidance on how they could reach their full potential at TD.

With this in mind, we set out to create a strategy that addresses the priorities and evolving expectations of all women and champions women’s success at the bank. The new WIL strategy is rooted in our mission to become the Bank of Choice for Women. This mission will be brought to life through three Shared Commitments:

  • To sustainably increase the leadership representation of women from all backgrounds and communities
  • To propel success for women across all stages of their career, and
  • To champion forward-thinking workplace programs that work for all TD colleagues

To help ensure more women have the opportunity to reach leadership levels at TD, the Senior Executive Team has set a goal and a concrete action plan to achieve at least 40% female executive representation in Canada by 2020.

How are you leaning in?

To be bold and to drive change, the very first step I took was to invest in myself. I was lucky this year to have a mentor, who has actively been guiding me to shape my career and be successful. This is my first experience as a mentee and to have someone with whom I can discuss my challenges with no judgement was phenomenal.

At TD, I have been actively involved in campus recruitment events. I have given presentations at McMaster and Queens University recently. The push for women in technology/leadership at

TD is something that I share with a lot of pride. Discussion with the next generation about how different it is to work in IT sector at a financial institute like TD just opens up new horizons. The perception of bank like environment in the minds of most women change to a completely different picture when I talk about the open work-culture we have here at TD.

These days I am preparing for an Android App Development workshop for WWC (Women Who Code) to introduce mobile development to women who are beginning their careers in IT.

What attracted you to Lean In Canada?

I was introduced to Lean In Canada by my mentor Sladjana Jovanovic, VP Technology at TD Bank. I was told that it is a great networking opportunity and when I attended my first event, I realized it was much more than that. The workshops are amazing and the energy & vibe in all their events is superb.

What was one thing that most resonated with you from the last event you attended?

I recently attended the workshop on effective negotiation. There were a lot of takeaways and the most important one for me was when I realized that I really lacked negotiation skills. The live simulation was like an eye-opener to me. The fact that effective negotiation at the right opportunity and at the right time is a must to grow, is what resonated most with me.

If you were to recommend Lean In Canada to anyone, what would you say?

If you want to take a good break at the end of the day, attend workshops that will help shape your career and be part of networking events that are not just about exchanging business cards, but would help you connect with like-minded people, then Lean In Canada is the place for you.

Tell us about the best ‘mentorship moment’ or networking opportunity so far in your career.

My best networking opportunity was with J. Kelly Hoey at Connect 2017. She is a smart lady

and her talk was truly an inspiration. She gifted me her awesome book “build your dream

network”, which I am reading these days.

Name one notable woman (or women) you think deserves a shout out – and what would you like us to know about her?

Ursula Golas, AVP TECH SOLTNS – DELIVERY at TD. I met her for the first time at the Lean In Canada workshop and if I were to define her in one word, I would say “Vibrant”. She is so full of energy and excitement. In the short informal talk, we had about career and life at TD, she sensed that there was fear in me when it came to picking up new challenges. Not only did she encourage me, but made me think from a different perspective. It’s true we all have a lot of potential and sometimes, we need the right boast to realize our strengths and go for our dreams.

She was just like that true charm.

Lastly, what is your favourite quote/song that you live by?

 If not now, then when? If not you, then who?” – Robin Sharma



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