The day that the conference finally came, I woke up very early. My solo journey included a flight delay, gate change, lengthy taxi ride, and an even lengthier trek, in not so comfy shoes, from the lobby of my hotel across the skywalk and through the Orange County Convention Center. I decided my first stop would be the Vanguard booth. After some wandering up and down the long aisles of the massive room, I found it. I spotted Lynn C., a Vanguard rep from my interview day, who greeted me with a big smile and a warm hug. Believe me, I really needed that hug. She asked me my t-shirt size and showed me all the new “swag” they had gotten for the conference. I stood around chatting with crew in Vanguard’s Technology Leadership Program about my flight and where I was staying. They invited me to dinner the following night before I went on my own to explore.
Many of the other companies at the conference had displays that were massive and showy. I waited in a few lines, padfolio in hand filled with fresh print outs of my resume. I fielded questions about Java classes and my previous internship, and along the way collected some rather over-the-top giveaways. By late afternoon, my mind was made up. I had already attended numerous talks by Vanguard representatives at my school, in addition to two Explore IT Days at their headquarters. I had spoken with multiple recruiters on the phone, and spent the day on campus interviewing. I knew the company’s core purpose, and I knew about their strong emphasis on crew. But hearing about it and feeling it are two completely different things. At many of the other companies I felt like a number holding a list of my accomplishments and capabilities. But Vanguard cared about me, a person. After only a few hours at the conference, I accepted my offer with Vanguard.