Rowena Chan (New '85)Rowena Chan is Vice President, TD Direct Investing at TD Bank Group, responsible for developing and implementing business development strategies across all distribution channels for Direct Investing in Canada.

Rowena joined TD Bank Group in 1988 and has held a series of
increasingly senior roles at the organization. In each of her leadership roles at TD, Rowena focuses on talent and people development to bring out the best from her teams. Prior to joining TD, she worked for the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong.

She is currently a committee member of the TD Corporate Visible Minority
Advisory Council, Serving Diverse Community Council, and TD Chinese
Employee Advisory Council.

Rowena holds a BA from the University of Toronto. Outside of TD,
Rowena spends her personal time with her husband and their two teenage
children. She is passionate about improving the dynamics of workplace equity for visible minorities and women, and enjoys traveling, reading, discovering innovative films and fashion.


Describe yourself in 50 words or less.

I am a family-oriented people-person who enjoys having fun but is also extremely driven, focused and persevering when pursuing goals.


Why did you choose New College (be honest) and what were your expectations?

I had heard from friends that New College would be best suited to my international background because of its open and accepting environment, but I truthfully began university with the expectation that I would simply meet new friends and live in a typical dorm environment.


What was New College like when you came? 

It is undeniable that New College exceeded all of my academic and social expectations. Its liberal attitude towards the multi-faceted student population fostered an open-minded environment where people were always receptive. New College became a place where I felt completely free to explore my passions and interests. Moreover, in the college, I met a truly unique and diverse group of people with whom I shared most of my formative university experiences. Our daily conversations during mealtimes and after class spanned various topics and increased my worldview. I think it’s safe to say that my interactions with my peers were as educational as the classes I took at the university.


How did your academic and social experience at the University/College prepare you for life and your career?

As a visa student, my interactions with the numerous people at New College from different countries and backgrounds allowed me the opportunity to share cultural experiences and broadened my perspective. These students taught me that there isn’t one dominant culture in the world; you can feel you belong anywhere as long as you allow yourself to learn from every new person that you meet. My time at New College caused me to finally open my eyes and realize that this world is becoming a dynamic global society. I can thankfully cite my social experience at the University for shaping my perspective and positively changing how I embraced and interacted with others in my career.


Tell us about some of the lessons you learned and how valuable they are today?

I learned to take pride in my own origins, while embracing the differences that exist when coming in contact and exchanging ideas with a different culture. Such exchanges of information can occur in every interaction so it is important to maintain an open-minded attitude in every foreign situation.

As I started studying in Canada by myself since I was sixteen, my experiences here have allowed me to both develop my academic capabilities and independence. With just the right amount of guidance from my university and my peers, I received strong training on what constitutes good decision-making and learned about my own strengths and talents.


What are your major accomplishments and who had the most influence on your Career?

My major accomplishment thus far in my career is the impact I have made on people’s lives through any training and guidance that I have provided. Whether I was able to have a positive influence in talent development by helping people maximize their potential or by being even the slightest role model for visible-minority women, I aimed to emphasize the importance of knowing how to interact with others in a team, how to problem solve, and most importantly, the necessity of motivation, determination, and humanity in reaching goals.

There has not been one individual person who had the most influence on my career; rather, there are sponsors and mentors who throughout it all have helped identify my potential and stretch my capabilities.  The mentors that influenced me the most are those that instill confidence in me and lead by example, with high integrity.