(Photo via TD Bank)

TD Bank — International Women’s Day: How Military Service Shaped A Life

Originally published on newscenter.td.com.

TD Bank’s Larissa Wells Marwitz learned how to be bold in face of challenges

Larissa Wells Marwitz joined the U.S. Army Reserve as soon as she was old enough — out of love for country and to gain a broader world view while getting help with college tuition. The move led Larissa, now a TD Bank executive, to a risky deployment in Bosnia and ultimately shaped her life and career well beyond her eight years in the military.

“It really taught me not to be afraid to take on any challenge,” said Larissa, TD Bank, Senior Contact Center Manager in Greenville, South Carolina, who has worked at the Bank for 19 years.

This International Women’s Day on March 8 is important for understanding the struggles women have endured, giving perspective on the huge strides women have made, celebrating the contributions of great women and “giving modern day women inspiration to meet their aspirations,” Larissa said.

TD’s celebration of International Women’s Day – a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women – is a key part of our Diversity & Inclusion theme for 2020, “The Power of Our Story,” which highlights the efforts of our colleagues and customers and celebrates our partnerships.

Larissa cited how the Bank helps female leaders succeed through mentorship programs, panels, networking, sponsorship and work-life balance, and by encouraging male allies to support women.

A Dangerous Deployment

Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Larissa joined the Army Reserve in 1995 when she was assigned to a postal unit. That meant showing up for active duty one weekend a month and, once a year, a two-week assignment to assist with mail at overseas posts.

In 1998, she was

deployed to Bosnia for a nine-month stint at a time when U.S. troops were sent as part of NATO’s Operation Joint Guard to help stabilize the region, which had been rocked by years of war.

“We were actually on a military base in Bosnia, and we weren’t allowed to leave the base because it was a hostile region. On the base, we all carried our rifles with us.” The soldiers were instructed not to veer off sidewalks even on base, she said, “because there were so many land mines that had been buried through the region.”

Ready for Challenges

Military service enabled Larissa to become a “mobile person” as she started a career that, in less than two decades, took her from a job as an entry-level collections representative at a call center in Kansas to her current role leading a 700-employee TD customer contact center in South Carolina. She lives in the area with her husband, Dave, and their “fur baby” dog, Lauddie.

The capacity to take on new and difficult endeavors came into play several times, starting early with a move to Michigan to advance her career at a business that TD acquired years later.

After a 10-year career in Michigan spanning various roles, Larissa moved to Texas to lead a TD Contact Center which had an additional location in Florida. Hesitant at first to leave a high-profile sales career she was devoted to, Larissa was intrigued by the prospect of managing many people at two locations. She became immersed in the new job and enjoyed the people she worked with, which Larissa considers key. “It became a role that I became passionate about and absolutely loved but I almost didn’t do it.”

With the strong foundation from her military career and her inspiration from the women we celebrate on International Women’s Day, she is looking forward to meeting challenges that will come.

“Learning how to get through tough situations with the military really taught me resilience, responsibility and leadership,” she said. “It’s made me ready to face any challenges ahead.”

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