leadership experience

Three experiences that paved my path to Vanguard

I recently celebrated my three year anniversary with Vanguard and what a journey it has been! In order to understand how I got here, I think it is best to start at the beginning.

I attended Arizona State University and, like most students, held a variety of jobs and internships to help me figure out what kind of career I wanted. I was getting a degree in Business but wasn’t sure where my skills would fit or what I would be happiest doing. During this time, I had three experiences that helped shape my career path and ultimately led me to Vanguard.

leadership experience

My first opportunity was a leadership internship with a large retail chain that was based in the Phoenix area. I got to spend three months in a retail store shadowing the Store Manager, getting to know the daily operations, and running the store on my own by the end of my time there. This experience opened my eyes to the potential of a career in leadership because I loved working with the team every day and I enjoyed overcoming diverse and frequent challenges. However, I came to the realization that standing on my feet for 9+ hours a day was physically taxing and the long-term career growth in a retail store is limited.

My second adventure was in a commission-based sales position where I sold bridal gowns. I know what you’re thinking: “Wasn’t that job fun and glamorous? Was it just like the shows on television?” After the initial excitement of working in the bridal industry wore off, I was left with the pressure and anxiety of going to work every day knowing that if I didn’t close a sale, I wasn’t going to get paid. There were weeks where I made great money and weeks where I couldn’t pay my bills. I came to the realization that I cared about my clients far too much and I struggled to morally “close the deal” when I sensed hesitation on their end.

My final opportunity before arriving at Vanguard was an internship with another financial services firm. I worked in a branch office helping a few advisors run their books of business. I loved learning about finance and working with clients but I realized that a career as a commission-based advisor wasn’t for me. I saw first-hand the same pressure and anxiety that I had experienced in bridal gown sales and knew my time with this firm had to come to an end.

leadership experienceAfter graduation, I embarked on my journey to find a career I’d enjoy long-term. Thanks to my internship with financial advisors, I knew finance was something I was passionate about, and began my search for financial services firms in the Phoenix area. When I found a job posting for Vanguard, I did some research on the company and the role since I didn’t know anyone there to reach out to. I read great things about the company culture, benefits package, and unifying mission but was hesitant that it would be a good fit for me. Setting aside my fear, I interviewed in March of 2015 for a front line position serving clients by phone and was extended an offer!

My first day at Vanguard was May 11, 2015 and I vividly remember the fear and uncertainty I felt walking onto campus that day. But, I took a deep breath and stepped into a room full of friendly faces for my Corporate Orientation. I knew there was no turning back now!

One year down at Vanguard, I realized that I connected with the mission, loved the people I worked with, and appreciated the client-focused mentality. Not only that, but I became significantly better at managing my own finances because of the extensive training and guidance that Vanguard provided.

I started exploring career development opportunities and the wide variety of career paths that Vanguard offered. I knew I loved working with clients but couldn’t get the pull to leadership off my mind from my internship a few years prior. Like many people, I had to apply for and be declined from a few jobs to eventually land in the exact opportunity I was meant to be in. I went on to spend a year as an Assigned Representative serving high-net-worth clients and getting to run my own book of business. Getting to know my clients, their families, and their goals brought me joy that was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. I laughed, cried, and celebrated with them through all of the major milestones they experienced. However, it was during this time I realized my heart was set on leadership. I was lucky enough to have a great leader who supported me, challenged me, and helped me prepare for my first leadership role at Vanguard.

leadership experienceAfter a stressful few weeks of networking, applying, and interviewing, I became a Team Leader on November 20, 2017. I walked in on that first day with similar feelings to my first day at Vanguard. I hardly knew anyone in this new department and I was worried about gaining my teams’ trust. To my relief, I was welcomed with open arms by a supportive peer group and wonderful team of crew.

One of the most memorable experiences I’ve had as a new leader at Vanguard was attending Leading Crew to Success. This week long training is held in the Pennsylvania office and Vanguard flies leaders from all over the world in to network and learn together. During this week, I spent countless hours getting to know and learning from other leaders from all levels, departments, and countries. We had fireside chats with Senior Staff, engaging discussions on leadership development topics, we competed in fun teambuilding activities, and capped the week off with a “graduation ceremony” with CEO Tim Buckley. This experience opened my eyes to the diverse group of inclusive, engaging, and talented leaders at Vanguard. It was amazing to see that regardless of what department we are in or where we live, we are all working towards the same goal of seeing our crew, clients, and organization succeed.

I have now been in my new role for ten months and, without a doubt, can say that it is my favorite job I have ever had. I face exciting challenges, learn something new every day, and get to work with the most amazing people. I am so grateful for the investment Vanguard has made in my personal and professional development over the last few years and continues to make every day. Currently, with the help of Vanguard’s tuition assistance, I am pursing an MBA in Organizational Leadership to support my long term leadership aspirations. I can honestly say that three years ago I had no idea that I would have ended up here, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

-Rachel H.

If you enjoyed this post, check out more from our #LifeatVanguard BlogAnd if you’re ready for a more rewarding, engaging, meaningful career, search our opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.

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