Mastering the Transition: From Sales Success to Banking Leadership

Top 10 D&I Trailblazers to Follow in 2024

It’s a lot more than the pinstripe suit, mahogany desk, ringing phones, clicking keyboards, and bustling corridors of the banking world. Andy Bregenzer, the EVP and Regional President at TD Bank, cuts a different figure. His leadership is a breath of fresh air, an approach that transcends the traditional trappings of corporate success, guided by a deep sense of purpose and a genuine commitment to making a difference. Driven by purpose and a desire to make a real impact, he prioritizes not just results but the well-being of his team—he understands that the journey matters as much as the destination.

This stalwart professional’s one-word bio? ‘Authentic’. From his corner office to casual Fridays, authenticity is his signature style. He is comfortable in his own skin. He walks the walk, talks the talk, and lives his truth – in relationships and crushing career goals. This genuine approach lights up the room, earning him respect and inspiring others to ditch the facade and chase their dreams with honesty as their compass.

In this exclusive interview, Andy shares insightful glimpses into his leadership philosophy, his transformative impact on TD’s growth trajectory, and his vision for the future. Join us as we delve into the mind of a visionary leader who dares to challenge the status quo and inspires others to do the same.

Success: A Journey, not a Trophy

Andy defines success not by singular achievements but by continuously pursuing well-defined goals. He believes in the importance of celebrating milestones along the way, acknowledging that these “process objectives” represent progress and fuel further growth. This perspective resonates with anyone who has ever strived for a long-term goal, understanding that the journey itself is a valuable teacher.

D&I Leadership: A Personal Expedition

Andy’s upbringing in a multicultural family instilled in him a deep appreciation for diversity and inclusion (D&I). He recognizes the transformative potential of diverse perspectives and experiences, a realization deeply ingrained in both his personal and professional realms. His transition into D&I leadership wasn’t merely a professional duty but a profound calling shaped by his upbringing and early life encounters. He acknowledges that “I realized it was more than a personal interest –it was my duty to recognize and amplify the voices of underrepresented colleagues and communities.” He sees that his responsibility extends beyond advocacy. He strives to bring a wealth of different perspectives to TD Bank, solidifying its foundation and fostering a more inclusive work environment.

Staying Ahead of the Curve in a Competitive Landscape

Given the ever-evolving nature of the banking sector, staying abreast of industry trends is paramount. At TD Bank, they are not just keeping pace. They are redefining what it means to serve their customers.

Andy, a key leader at TD, emphasizes the industry’s lightning-fast change. From cutting-edge digital tools to a deeper understanding of customer needs, TD is constantly evolving to empower its teams to provide exceptional support. Knowing that each customer has a different financial transformation, the organization offers a diverse range of banking options, ensuring a perfect fit for everyone wherever they are in their financial lives.

Innovation is at the heart of TD’s mission. They are developing groundbreaking products and services and fostering solid connections within the communities the organization serves. By listening actively to local needs, they fine-tune their offerings and provide the most relevant support for individuals and organizations.

Beyond the digital realm, TD remains dedicated to its extensive branch network. Its 1,100+ locations across the East Coast are more than just places to conduct transactions. They’re vibrant hubs where customers can receive personalized guidance and consultations, including tailored advice for small businesses and wealth management. These branches even transform into community centers, hosting gatherings, local events, and educational presentations. TD Bank is committed to being more than just a financial institution – it’s a trusted partner, actively engaged in building a brighter future for the communities they call ‘home’.

Contribution to Redefining the Industry through DEI

Andy’s leadership has been instrumental in redefining the financial industry through prioritizing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives at TD. Their innovative approach directly connects C-Suite members and seven focus areas, including Black Experiences Network, Multicultural, Indigenous Peoples, LGBTQ2+, Veterans, and Women at TD. This ensures that DEI progress aligns with the overall business strategy, with each leader held accountable for achieving specific goals. The success of this approach is evident in TD’s frequent recognition on national and regional diversity lists by organizations like the Human Rights Campaign and the National Organization on Disability.

Leading with Integrity and Transparency

This doyen of finance cultivates a culture of integrity within his team by establishing a foundation of clear expectations. He meticulously outlines the “what,” “why,” and “how” of projects, ensuring everyone grasps the goals, their significance, and the execution plan. Furthermore, Andy prioritizes transparency and empathy in his leadership style while fostering an ethos of mutual accountability. Team members are expected to not only deliver results but also to support one another thoughtfully.

Life Before TD Bank

Andy’s career path wasn’t a straight line to the top. It began with a successful foray into sales. However, his ambition wasn’t limited to just racking up numbers. He challenged the status quo, mainly regarding an incentive structure that disincentivized top performers—this thirst for knowledge and a nudge from inspiring professors during his M.B.A. in Finance with the initial goal of reforming the system from within. During his studies, exposure to the world of banking through professors, guest lecturers, and peers shifted his focus. Upon graduation, he entered the banking industry through an Executive Associate Program at a regional bank. This program provided a comprehensive understanding of various banking facets, ultimately leading him to a career in commercial banking.

Greatest Recognition as a Leader

While awards and titles are nice, Andy’s greatest leadership recognition isn’t a plaque on the wall. He finds it in the loyalty and trust of his team and colleagues. He believes a true leader inspires followership, and that’s exactly what he’s built. This dedication to fostering a strong team and building trust with stakeholders is what truly motivates him and fuels his success in a demanding industry.

“I believe leaders and institutions can all have their moment in the sun at a point in time,” He says. “But those who continue to make an impact and thrive are the ones who recognize that they need to evolve and transform themselves and their businesses and bring others along with them on that journey.”

Influencing the Next Generation

This experienced executive proposes influencing the younger generation by demonstrating what success means, sharing their journeys, and explaining the skills needed for future achievement. Andy sees the Gen-Next as a source of inspiration and encourages learning from their fresh ideas and passion. This two-way exchange ensures continuous growth and adaptation for both leaders and aspirers.

A Day in the Life of Andy, EVP, Regional President at TD

Andy, as the EVP and Regional President of Metro New York at TD, shoulders the responsibility of overseeing all banking operations and community engagement across a vast area encompassing New York State, Northern New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut. His domain covers a wide range of financial services, including consumer banking, small business banking, commercial banking, lending, deposits, and treasury management, and he even collaborates on local wealth management and government banking, all delivered through a network of more than 320 stores. TD empowers its Regional Presidents with a high degree of autonomy, vesting them with the decision-making authority akin to a “mini-CEO.”

A typical day for Andy is a whirlwind of physical and virtual meetings that delve into an array of topics. These meetings could range from strategizing store operations and ensuring strict adherence to governance and controls to staying abreast of customer experience updates and investing in employee development. He might also be engaged in crucial deal discussions for a commercial loan opportunity or a routine call with his HR partners. Given his position, attending client meetings and dinners and participating in various non-profit events as a speaker or attendee is all part and parcel of his regular schedule.

The Balancing Act: Why Disconnecting to Reconnect is the Ultimate Power Move?

Forget the hustle. Forget the grind. Forget burning the candle at both ends. Andy’s formula for work-life balance isn’t about constant busyness. It’s about strategic disconnection. The ultimate power move is disengaging from the never-ending work cycle to recharge and refocus. He underscores that it allows one to step away from the daily toil and permits them to come back with renewed focus, increased creativity, and a whole lot more impact. But it’s not just about taking a mental break – it’s about tactically redirecting one’s energy toward the things that bring them purpose and joy outside of work.

He emphasizes discipline as the key. Just like any winning mantra, this approach requires a balance of rigor (setting boundaries) and cadence (making disconnection a regular habit). By prioritizing recharge time, one becomes a more effective and impactful leader.

This astute exec nurtures strong team connections by leading with humility and purpose. He underlines that accountability begins with ourselves before we hold others to the same standard. He says, “We need to be our best for each other.”

The Future of TD Bank: Local Roots, National Reach

As TD Bank continues to progress, the EVP sees a future defined by expansion, innovation, and community engagement. By leveraging its strengths as a “locally engaged bank,” the financial institution will strengthen its national presence. This dual commitment ensures TD Bank remains a relevant and valuable partner for its customers, colleagues, and communities nationwide.

Personal Aspiration

Driven by a passion to make a daily impact at the highest level, Andy aspires to consistently deliver value for his organization, team, and colleagues. He prioritizes fostering strong relationships with both existing and new while continuously striving for self-improvement to become the ‘best version’ of himself in every aspect. Ultimately, he seeks to continue to ascend in the industry, solidifying his position as a respected figure.

Message to Aspiring Leaders

Andy emphasizes three key qualities for aspiring leaders: courage, commitment, and consistency. He believes strong leaders are also good listeners, prioritizing understanding over simply voicing their own opinions. This venerable leader advocates leading with empathy and humility, focusing on creating value for everyone involved. He stresses the importance of lifelong learning and a strong work ethic, regardless of role, the industry, or the macro environment. His message is clear: “Kindness and a strong work ethic never go out of style.”