When working in finance isn’t only for finance majors

Whenever people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my response was always, “I want to help people live a better life.” I had grown up as a competitive dancer, and was very accident prone, which meant I spent a lot of time in physical therapy. I would watch the therapists make such strides in people’s ability to move and began to think that is what I want to be–and ultimately led to obtaining my degree in kinesiology. So how in the world did I end up in finance?

My road to Vanguard began right after college graduation, when I was having an internal battle on what I wanted to do now that I was in the “real world.” I had told myself for some time that the only way I could help people live a better life was by becoming a professional in the medical field. But a friend proved that notion wrong when they introduced me to Vanguard. To say I was hesitant to join the finance industry is an understatement. Much of my college education was focused on classes like organic chemistry and biomechanics. But my friend assured me that my passion to help people live a better life directly aligned with Vanguard’s mission. With his support along with my family, I took a giant leap of faith, and I couldn’t be happier that I did.

After my first week, I began to feel a sense of calmness and knew that a life-long career with Vanguard was in my future—and then came the licensing program. I had done a bit of studying prior to starting but I had no idea how big of a milestone obtaining my Series 7 and 63 securities licenses was. The nerves quickly came back as I began rereading the 600+ page book, where many of the terms seemed like another language. While there were many moments where I questioned if I could do it, I was always met with support from my leader, coaches, trainers, and peers. I couldn’t believe that I had only been a part of Vanguard for a few weeks, and so many people were invested in my success.

Fast forward 5 years later, I am now responsible for onboarding new hires into the Retail division of Vanguard, which you could say has brought my experience full circle. As an onboarding leader I get the opportunity to be the face of Vanguard for so many new crew–helping them acclimate to our culture and supporting them through licensing and training. I am their first point of contact, starting from the day they accept their offer and also act as a resource as they prepare for their first day at Vanguard. One of my favorite aspects of my job is getting to meet my crew at the end of their first day on campus. The buildup of excitement over the months finally becomes reality and I am able to spend some time answering questions and sharing insight that can help calm their nerves— something I can certainly relate to. I then get to spend the next few months guiding them through the licensing program where I meet with my crew daily to check in on their progress, recommend study strategies, and celebrate their successes. I always tell my crew that we will be going on a journey together, and while everyone is different, they can rest easy knowing that I will do everything in my power to support them through it. I appreciate that I can use my own experiences to relate to what my crew are going through and can be their cheerleader during the ups and a shoulder to lean on for any downs.

One of the most memorable experiences I have as an onboarding leader is when my first class had their final celebration to launch into their role. This means that their time with me in licensing and training is over and they get to officially begin supporting our clients. I had spent weeks preparing what I wanted to express to them and when I got up in front of the class (tears and all) all I could do was thank them for the journey they had taken me on It’s always a bittersweet day for me as I get to witness crew moving on to their next chapter within their careers, but I am always so thankful to be a part of it.

To say I love my job is an understatement… I get to be by my crew’s side as they face these exciting challenges, learn and grow in the industry, and eventually embark on a new path as they launch into their job.

-Annsley R.

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