At only 26, new graduate Stephanie Snyder’s career with TD Bank Group has already taken her full circle.
She grew up on a dairy farm in New Hamburg, Ont., and did an internship in the TD Agriculture Services department in 2004 while completing her business administration degree at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Snyder’s experience so far is a great example of how two industries can work together to form a really interesting career – in her case, agriculture and business (sometimes called – you guessed it – agribusiness).
“As a dairy producer and a banker, I’m proud to say I work for a bank that knows my business.”
—Stephanie Snyder, account manager, TD Agriculture Services
However, she also travelled across Canada to work as a customer service representative and customer relations co-ordinator at TD branches in Waterloo, Toronto and Calgary, until late 2009 when she returned to her hometown to become an account manager in Agriculture Services.
Check out her Q&A below where she discusses her job, what it was like to start her career with TD Agriculture Services, and the advice she has for students who are thinking about working in agriculture.
Q.What do you do on a day-to-day basis in your job as an account manager?
A. In a nut shell, I lend money to farmers. I come up with solutions to support the financial part of their farming operation. I ensure that the way we lend clients money helps them be successful and also mitigates potential risks for them and the bank.
On a daily basis, I take phone calls and e-mails from farmers, business partners and internal partners. The best part of my day is when I turn off my computer and go on the road to visit clients or prospects on their farms and see their operations. It’s exciting to meet with a prospect and tell them I can help them achieve their goals, mitigate the risks in their operation and save them money!
Another great part of my job is attending industry events and trade shows. These events are imperative to make connections and network within the industry. Getting known in the industry and having a touch point with every possible person is the biggest challenge – but it’s also the most fun to try to overcome!
Q.What made you choose to start your career with TD?
A. I was the recipient of a TD 4-H scholarship when I graduated from high school. I stayed in touch with the TD executives I met when my scholarship was presented and, as the summer after first year approached, I contacted them for a job. I figured if TD was supporting a great organization like 4-H, then it was a company I wanted to learn more about!
This first internship started my career with TD and I’ve been with them all the way through two degrees, a move to Alberta and, now, right back to where I started almost seven years ago.
Q.What was the onboarding process like when you first started at TD?
A. In my current role, I started as an associate and worked through the associate program. I was paired up with an experienced account manager and worked side by side with this person. I took some group courses to introduce me to the fundamentals and systems, and then came back to my mentor to practice these skills on the job. I had great support from my mentor, manager and fellow associates.
Q.How do you keep up to date on everything you need to know?
A. You know the saying, ‘No news is good news?’ Well, that doesn’t apply to my job!
If I don’t keep up daily with the latest agriculture and financial news, then I’m out of the loop.
I get daily e-mails with the most recent news and start my day by reading through these. I want to know as soon as possible about news that may affect my clients.
Stephanie says TD is an agriculture advocate, as demonstrated by the bank’s support of the industry –
for example, the TD Canada Trust Agricultural Services Youth Leadership Congress at the Royal Winter Fair, where she represented TD alongside her fellow employees in 2010.
I also stay in touch with the industry via industry association newsletters and newspapers (i.e., the Ontario Farmer, Milk Producer, etc.), and local and provincial meetings.
Going to visit the ‘old boys’ in the tractor club at the local coffee shop once in a while doesn’t hurt either; they always seem to know what’s going on around town and in the industry!
Q.What surprised you the most about the Canadian agriculture industry once you started working in it?
A. I’m a proud Canadian but never gave enough thought to how foreign markets, weather, politics – you name it – affect us, and this job has really opened my eyes to that.
When milking cows at home, I never stopped to think about how our small farm was part of a much bigger machine working provincially, nationally and worldwide!
What didn’t surprise me, though, was just how much farmers love working with [other] farmers. Business is always a little more enjoyable in agriculture thanks to the amazingly sincere and welcoming people who work on the farms. The dedication, hard work and passion of each one of my clients is inspiring!
Q.What advice would you give to current students who are thinking about starting their careers in the agriculture industry?
A. Get involved in the industry as much as you can. Join associations, attend industry meetings, and get in the loop! If you are from a farm, then you probably already do this to a certain extent, but I challenge you to learn about a sector of the industry you don’t already know.
My family has a dairy farm and commodities business, so I’m fairly current on those industries, but I push myself to learn more about the poultry, beef, hog, and cash crop industries.
Q.What else do we need to know about careers in agriculture or starting your career in agriculture with TD?
A. This is an exciting, innovative and always-changing industry made up of dedicated and passionate people. If you want a challenge, are driven to succeed and enjoy working with great people, you want to be in agriculture. It’s a satisfying feeling to support the people who work hard 365 days a year to provide us with high-quality, low-cost food.
If you want to be in the financial part of the agriculture industry, TD is the best choice – hands down. TD takes a creative and unique approach to finding financing solutions for each and every operation.
They are great agriculture advocates, as demonstrated by their support of the industry – for example, their sponsorship of the 4-H Youth Congress at the Royal Winter Fair.
As a dairy producer and a banker, I’m proud to say I work for a bank that knows my business.
Click here to check out TD Agriculture Services’ profile and learn more about becoming a TD Agriculture Services Associate in Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces.
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