Lindsay Sacknoff, TD Bank | Most Powerful Women: Next
Head of U.S. consumer deposits, products and payments
Every new job has a learning curve, but a coronavirus pandemic elevates the typical challenges to another level entirely.
In February, Lindsay Sacknoff started a new role as head of TD Bank’s consumer products and payments team with plans for her first 30, 60 and 90 days on the job. But the advance planning did not account for a global pandemic.
On day 45, everybody had to clear out of the office to work from home, to better comply with new social distancing recommendations.
Sacknoff, still settling in, soon realized just how much she’d come to rely on visual cues when working with her new team. For example, if she were sitting across the table from a colleague, she might be able to read confusion on that person’s face, something she can’t do over the phone.
So she quickly incorporated some new tactics into her plan.
“I use video chat every opportunity I can to meet with people, and I’ve found it’s been really important. The other thing is to have meetings without an agenda because you miss out on that water-cooler talk,” she said. “It’s really important that you’ve got that listening post so you know what’s going on, what’s going well, and what we need to adjust as we navigate this.”
Previously the head of U.S. contact centers, Sacknoff has long been accustomed to leading large teams of people with wildly diverse backgrounds and interests. In that role, she led more than 2,000 employees across four sites responsible for nearly 20 million annual customer inquiries via phone, email and social media.
Last year she directed a cross-functional team that implemented an array of new technology to improve service. The complex project entailed improving the interactive voice response function, enhancing biometric tools and strengthening digital capabilities.
What TD calls its “Ready for Tomorrow” transformation resulted in a 38% improvement in call wait times, a 9% increase in customer satisfaction and a 13% improvement in employee retention.
The project earned Sacknoff a spot on our second annual Next list. This extension of our Most Powerful Women in Banking program is meant to highlight high-achieving women in the leadership pipeline who are age 40 and under.
Whether employees aspire to climb the corporate ladder or are simply coming into work for a paycheck, they can only bring their best selves to the job when they’re healthy, Sacknoff said.
That’s a major reason she has become a champion for wellness programs in the workplace. TD had just begun to pilot a full-time “wellness council” at each contact center when the pandemic struck. It has now pivoted to digitally delivered options, such as a mindfulness program, through an online resource center that offers information on mental, physical and financial wellness.
To get things done in a large organization, you need the high level of emotional intelligence Lindsay possesses.
Whatever the method of delivery, Sacknoff said it’s important that team leaders do more than simply encourage their employees to use those resources. They need to model their use too.
Employees will feel more comfortable getting help if they are aware of senior leaders doing so, Sacknoff said.
“At first we thought, if we just tell people about the resources, whether they’re online or we had someone visiting our site on a given day, they’ll use it,” she said. “The lesson learned there was, yes, you need to talk about it, but the way you make more change is by creating comfort using it.”
Group head, innovation, technology and shared services
What he says:
“Intelligence, confidence, compassion. Like any true leader with top-level executive potential, Lindsay has never failed to demonstrate these key leadership qualities time and time again,” Rhodes wrote in nominating Sacknoff for the Next list. He also said she possesses both the analytical skills needed to tackle tough problems and the people skills to inspire a team. “To get things done in a large organization, you need the high level of emotional intelligence Lindsay possesses,” he said.