I grew up in the Midwest, specifically Detroit, Michigan. Until I accepted the offer to join Vanguard, I had never lived anywhere else. I always had the benefit of a big, close-knit network of family and dear friends, who supported me during my academic and professional journeys. When moving day arrived, I remember backing my car out of my mom’s driveway, tearfully waving good-bye, and thinking, “Who in the world is going to help me unpack all of this stuff?” It was my first realization that I was on my own.
My first few days at Vanguard were so wonderful, that I had little time to spend on my anxieties about the transition. Everyone was so welcoming and willing to answer absolutely any question. My new leader took great care to encourage me to take my time learning the ropes. Regarding her expectations of me as a new manager in her organization, she said, “Just go out there and be yourself. People will see what I see and they’ll know you’re here to make things better. You’ll figure out the rest.” It was in that moment, when I was encouraged to just be me, that knew I had made the right decision.