At Vanguard, we do our best to live up to our mission of “taking a stand for all investors”. Between our carefully chosen products, services, and hard-working crew, our clients have the best chance for success with their investments! But during my time here, I’ve seen Vanguard support a different type of investing – investing in their crew. At Vanguard, you can be part of an environment that inspires continual learning–and not just with encouraging words. There is action behind those words!
Trying new things
Some days, I get to act as a mad scientist – piecing together a Frankenstein-like application with new technologies and programming languages. What I’m creating may not always go into production, but the time and freedom to spend a few paid hours to get my feet wet on something new is a beautiful thing. It helps me learn and is just one of the ways Vanguard has invested in me!
For more physical interactions, Vanguard also brings in vendors who spend a few days with groups to teach a desired skill. The invitation for these trainings are spread far and wide. It’s similar to having a college professor and study group. The great thing about this is you’re given time during the week or throughout the day to participate in these trainings. You don’t have to stay an extra 40 hours to get your day-to-day duties complete, which helps maintain work/life balance.
Another major opportunity I received with Vanguard is the chance to go to conferences. Our peers and leaders make sure our work is covered so we as employees have the opportunity to learn and grow during a fun experience.
Vanguard understands that educating and giving opportunities to employees helps us create the best products for our clients. Learning new skills also keeps crew engaged, which makes us want to do more for clients. I knew coming out of college that information technology was a glorious yet dangerous field to be in. This field is forever changing. So what is now desired in IT may not be in the next 2 years. Lucky for me, the resources and time that are required and desired for me to flourish in IT are easily accessible at Vanguard.
If you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, check out our opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.
A lifetime of opportunities to lead, grow, and impact others
It was 1999. I was just finishing up my college degree, and was stuck at a crossroad, trying to decide where I wanted my career to go. I knew I wanted to be involved in a company with a rich culture, strong leaders, sound values, and growth opportunities galore – easy enough, right? When I came up dry with opportunities, my mentor recommended I look into Vanguard.
Finding a core purpose at Vanguard
My first few years at Vanguard were spent solving investment puzzles for shareholders who had encountered account-related issues. Working as a Resolution Associate in the Service Recovery organization gave me the opportunity to support clients with account-related issues. I could see the purpose in my work, as well as the positive impact I made on each client. And, I learned to embody Vanguard’s core purpose:To take a stand for all investors, to treat them fairly, and to give them the best chance for investment success. It was fascinating to research each issue and get to the root of the problem. Even more thrilling was the opportunity to offer solutions for our clients.
While I loved working in Service Recovery, I decided to explore new horizons, and research different career options at Vanguard. One path I hadn’t expected to find myself in was leadership. When one of my leader’s noticed my passion for continuous improvement and knack for supporting professional development among my peers, they suggested I pursue a role in people leadership. What a great opportunity this was – Vanguard was investing in me, so that I in turn could invest in others. If you are exploring a role at Vanguard, read on to learn what differentiates our people, and why I chose to spend nearly two decades as a Vanguard leader.
First, leadership at Vanguard isn’t something you do for a title or recognition. Rather, leadership is about serving the needs of investors and enriching the development of your team. While exploring career opportunities, delve deep into the values of the organization; their mission and purpose should align with your beliefs. At Vanguard, our core values are centered on ‘doing the right thing’ in every decision we make. It’s the primary reason why I am both a long-term investor and a long-time crew member. Truly successful leaders nurture and develop a growth mindset to create value and continually improve the organization and their teams. In my experience, these leadership elements enable you to leave a lasting legacy for the benefit of others.
A return to my roots
After spending 15 years working in a variety of leadership roles in our Retail, Financial Advisor Services, and Office of the General Counsel divisions, I have now returned to my roots as the leader of the Service Recovery organization in which I began my career. In my foundational years at Vanguard I learned how to embrace Vanguard’s core purpose. In my latter years, I learned how to lead and serve others within a global community that continually invests in the long-term value we bring to both shareholders and crew. These are the core reasons why I have dedicated my career to Vanguard. My hope is that you too find a role that enables you to grow and to leave a positive mark on the lives of those who come across your path.
If you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, check out our career opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to do the actual investing at one of the world’s largest investment firms?
To find out, we spoke with two principals in Vanguard Equity Investment Group. Mike Buek is head of U.S. trading and Gerry O’Reilly leads a team of index portfolio managers. They gave us an inside look at a day in the life of a Vanguard trader.
Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
What is the role of a trader at Vanguard?
Mike Buek:Our trading desk acts as a combination portfolio manager and trader for Vanguard’s index funds. So we understand the entire investment process. We seek to minimize tracking error to the benchmark while at the same time minimizing the fund’s transaction costs.
We want an index fund to be 100% invested to its benchmark. We monitor any changes to each fund’s benchmark and match them in our trading.
Gerry O’Reilly: At the same time, our traders manage the trade-off between tracking error and impact. We employ proprietary trading strategies to try to minimize the impact our trading has on the overall market.
So if we have a large inflow to a fund on a given day, we have to decide whether we have market impact and still track the benchmark or if we can minimize impact by trading this inflow over multiple days. It’s important to look at each trade relative to the market so we can understand what the market can absorb.
Every trader on the desk employs strategies we’ve developed over the years. For example, we’re fans of using limit orders as a way to minimize impact.
How do you prepare before the market opens in the morning?
Mike Buek:We typically come in around 7, 7:30. We check what the international desks in London and Melbourne have done so far. Then we go right to reconciling each fund to make sure we’re 100% invested. For example, we may have expected to receive $50 million on a given fund the previous day, so that’s what we invested. But then the next morning, it turns out the fund received $55 million. We need to get that $5 million invested as soon as possible. In this case, we’d invest in futures to get the fund fully invested because the market isn’t open yet.
Gerry O’Reilly: Each trader also has to sign off on each of their funds in the morning, saying they agree with each fund’s status. Someone from investment risk also signs off, as well as the desk supervisor. So there are three different sets of eyes looking at the funds each day, making sure the starting line makes sense.
Each fund, based on its size, has a certain tolerance. For example, Total Stock Market Index is an enormous fund. If it starts the day with $10 million in cash, that isn’t a huge deal proportionally. It’s not even a basis point. But $10 million cash in one of our smaller funds could be a huge deal. Our investment risk group monitors those tolerances.
Knowing that you have someone keeping an eye on the performance of the fund and the benchmark is a big source of comfort. As much as we’d like to try to eliminate any potential tracking error, it’s probably unrealistic to think it will always be that way. We closely monitor what little tracking error there is.
Mike Buek: We also look at the performance from yesterday. We’ll look at every fund’s performance versus its index. If there’s anything off, we want to know why. If there’s a reason we knew about and it makes sense that we outperformed by 3/10 of a basis point—and that’s how deep it gets, explaining fractions of a basis point—we investigate so we can adjust and get the fund tracking as close to perfect as we can.
Mike Buek, Principal, Vanguard Equity Investment Group, U.S. Trading
How does the experience change throughout the day?
Gerry O’Reilly:Our data group gets notified of the index changes coming at that day’s close. Once you know an index change is coming, a fund tracking that index has to adjust.
On a given day, you could have 10 to 20 different corporate actions going on, such as a company issuing more shares. Each trader gets assigned a corporate action and takes point on that stock. They will figure out what each fund needs to do to ensure the index weights are correct.
Trading can get really busy when indexes add or remove names. Say, for example, XYZ Company has outgrown a small-cap index and is being added to a mid-cap index. We’d need to mirror that move in the funds tracking those indexes.
How does Vanguard manage the global nature of the market? What specific difficulties come up?
Mike Buek:When we go global, we’re passing trades to Vanguard’s European and Australian-Asian desks to execute. And they pass us trades to execute for their funds. The communication has to be good between the three desks so the traders executing each trade understand the objective.
That’s challenging because of the different hours, but with improved technology and our expanded team, we’re able to make sure our portfolio management is globally consistent.
Gerry O’Reilly:International trading can often involve more markets. In the U.S., we mainly deal with the NYSE and Nasdaq. In other regions, you might have 10, 15 different markets closing at different times with different rules. In Europe, you’re looking at “When’s Norway closing? What about Germany?” You have to make sure you get your orders down in time because if you miss it, you miss it.
The other obvious difference is currency. U.S. investors are giving us dollars, which we have to convert into local currency when we buy international stocks. So in addition to the equity trade, our teams need to address the currency piece in order to keep the cost of the trade to a minimum.
Without getting proprietary, what would you say sets Vanguard’s trading desk apart?
Gerry O’Reilly: At a high level, one of the things that differentiates our desk is the level of experience. Mike has 30 years at Vanguard, and most of that is on the trading desk. I’m at 25 years and almost 23 on the desk. I’d say the average tenure for our traders is probably 12 to 13 years.
On this desk, we have people who specialize in different areas. When we get information from the street from our brokers about what’s going on with a name, we can funnel that to the appropriate person to address that information.
You learn from experience. None of us are set in our ways. You have to be willing to change and learn from past experience.
All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.
If you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, check out our career opportunities atwww.vanguardjobs.com.
After reflecting on this question, a few things come to mind:
From day one, I was fully aware that I had a very basic understanding of the financial industry. I was hired alongside people with advanced degrees and years of experience. But I needn’t have worried – Vanguard offers a thorough training program, allowing me and my peers to work on our financial acumen skillsets, and eventually talk confidently to clients about their portfolios. If Vanguard can take someone like me and make them financially literate, I know they can do the same for you.
Although I only had one formal mentor growing up, I’ve had many great examples in my life who have inspired me to become who I am today. Since starting at Vanguard, I’m continually impressed with the responses I get from my fellow crew, some of whom are much higher up the chain of command than I, yet still take the time to answer my questions and counsel me on my career development. My own leader meets with me regularly to discuss my career aspirations and is the type of leader I want to become one day. It feels great to work at a place that has so much support, opportunity, and interest in my professional future.
Nearly one year later
Now as I write this, sitting at my desk here in Vanguard’s Scottsdale office, I am so thankful that I was determined in my endeavor to get hired by Vanguard. Because of the work and effort I put in, I have a job that provides for me and my family, I am an employee of an institution I trust, and I have a stellar team of peers who support me and drive Vanguard’s values forward.
So, yes. It was worth it.
If you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, check out career opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.
What is important to you? Is it your career? Your family? Personal hobbies? For me, my best days are when I am able to dedicate time to both work and home. With so much going on in my life, there’s a reason I’ve chosen to make Vanguard my (professional) home for more than a decade – balance. My role with Vanguard offers me the ability to balance my personal needs with professional expectations, because of the mutual understanding that there are priorities from both sides.
For example, my wife has been very understanding on the late nights when I have things to finish at the office. My supervisor is understanding when I have to call off work because my three year old is sick. There have also been occasions when both my supervisor and my wife are understanding that I requested a day off to play golf or go snowboarding. So, how am I able to feel productive and still have a personal life? It takes a blend of many different values…
I remember going for a run around campus during my first summer at Vanguard. I was returning to my building when I came across a parking lot with a basketball court. As it turns out, Vanguard has recess! Every day that it’s warm and the court is dry, 8-20 crew members meet to play some pickup basketball. After that fateful run, I changed my lunchtime routine so I could join the others on the court. Every day, I feel like I’m in 3rd grade heading out to play with my friends. It’s such a great way to relieve stress and clear my head, and it’s amazing how something as small as just having a basketball court on campus has an impact towards someone’s wellbeing. Vanguard understands that.
I was three years into my career when my wife gave birth to our first son. My supervisor at the time helped me plan to take a week of PTO starting the day that my wife went into labor. Not only was I encouraged to take the time, but everything went smoothly while I was out. Four years later, we had another son, and I took another week of PTO. Two years after that, things had changed – Vanguard was now offering paternity leave. I was able to take six weeks to spend with my family – a time that made a world of difference in getting my family settled.
In my experience, Vanguard is an extremely flexible company to work for. But first, you must learn how to do your job and do it well. Once you have established yourself as a productive crew member, then look to gain flexibility in the work place. Which brings us to…
I was lucky to get my first job with Vanguard. I was hired in 2008 during the economic recession and jobs in the financial industry were difficult to come by. It was a competitive time and I knew I had to work very hard to distinguish myself as a top performer. This feeling of constant focus on performance is something it took time to get used to. I had worked a few jobs since college, but none that had long term career possibilities. That was not the case.
I embraced this pressure and strived to be a distinguished crew member at Vanguard. In order to do that, I had to hold myself to a high standard. Sometimes that includes working late or coming in early. Sometimes I have to skip basketball during lunch. Sometimes I can’t make it to yoga class in the morning. I have missed dinner at the in-laws (not the worst thing). I know that the more I put into my work, the more I achieve. Finding balance during both the busy times and lulls at work is my goal.
Flash back to 2012. I felt ready for a promotion after having spent a few years in my position and receiving positive feedback. I knew that I would get my chance if I was just patient. After discussing opportunities with my supervisor, I learned that management would not be backfilling the position that could lead to a promotion for me. After I had this information, I knew it was time to seek other opportunities at Vanguard.
I went from Vanguard’s Institutional Investor Group to Vanguard’s Financial Advisor Services. The new department was definitely a change of pace: I had to learn a whole new system, new processes, and different terms. Once I was up to speed, I used this as an opportunity to develop myself professionally. I took on extra responsibility. I established new connections and kept in touch with my current network.
Luckily my patience paid off. Not long after I left my old department, the management team opened the position that I wanted. I had been ready for this promotion for years, but I did not let that stop me from preparing for the interview process. I knew what people had done in the past in that role and knew what I wanted to change going forward. I am currently still working in that position and consistently find new challenges and ways to grow within the department.
So what do I want you to take away from my story? First off, good things come to those who work hard. Also, it is important to balance your hard work with times of relaxation. Balancing relaxation with hard work does not always go according to plan and it is important to be flexible when things are not going your way. Patience pays off: when the right opportunity comes along, it will feel like things were just meant to be.
Why I didn’t give up on my dream of working at Vanguard
“Thank you for coming in to interview with Vanguard, unfortunately…”
I didn’t get the job.
I felt like my world was over.
This was me in 2016: I was approaching my last semester of college and had no job lined up. I had also just found out my wife was pregnant. Needless to say, it was a very challenging and frightening time. And even though being declined for a job feels lousy, I knew immediately I would apply again.
You’re probably thinking, why reapply at a company that rejected you? Truthfully, I’ve always been fascinated with Vanguard! I come from a single-parent home with a tough military-widowed mother. My mother did an exceptional job raising three kids, however, I never had a good understanding of how investing works. In college, I would observe personal finance classes and try to glean as much info as I could. The more I researched, the more intrigued I became with the process of choosing investments wisely and setting appropriate goals. I also came to understand how much people trusted in Vanguard and came to really believe in its mission to stand up for ALL investors. I knew that if I had to start my finance career anywhere, I needed to start it at Vanguard.
So I applied again, and again I was called in to interview. This time, I focused on a set of principles to help demonstrate the interests and abilities I felt made me a good fit for the company:
You have to show your passion in both words and actions. During the interview, I discussed starting my own consulting practice to gain more experience in the consulting space. I shared what I learned from taking on such a big endeavor and how it related to the role I desired.
After you’ve shown that you can confidently take initiative, can you endure? While at school I was passionate about business and social impact and found an organization that combined both. By an interesting turn of events, I became the president of the organization. Although I was new, I didn’t let my naïveté slow me down and was able to lead the group through several projects. I shared in my interview how these experiences trained me to face demanding situations successfully.
I’m a firm believer that hard work over an extended period of time can yield great results. When I was first turned down by Vanguard, I made sure to keep my skills fresh and gain knowledge: I enrolled in a career prep class to enhance my interviewing skills. I studied everything I could about Vanguard: their products and services, their marketing style, and their culture. I even brought a portfolio of my past projects and an academic manuscript to show that I could dedicate myself to Vanguard and its mission.
A couple weeks after the next round of interviews, I got THE call again:
I was being offered a position in the company! It was a lot of effort and a long wait, but achieving the goal I had worked so hard for is indescribable.
So, was my journey worth it? Has it been everything I hoped it would be? Stay tuned for part two where I’ll share what it’s like to work at Vanguard – and how I feel now that I’m hired.
In honor of Mother’s Day, we’ll be featuring a series of blogs dedicated to working mothers and their experience at Vanguard. In this blog, Stephanie H. shares about returning to work after being a stay-at-home mom for many years.
A Different Interview Experience Before embarking on my career at Vanguard, I was a stay-at-home mom for more than 10 years. It was a bit of a bumpy ride trying to get back into the driver’s seat of my career. I struggled to update my resume. I found myself in interview waiting rooms with people who appeared to be half my age. My own well-meaning mother offered advice from a (thankfully) bygone era of women working in the financial sector, “Don’t share too much about the kids or what you have going on at home. They [your leaders] will not be interested, and you will put yourself at a disadvantage.” But the panel of men and women interviewing me for my role at Vanguard gave me a different impression. They actually asked me about my volunteer experience and the skills I had developed while supporting my daughter’s school and working with a non-profit. One of my interviewers was interested in hearing about two additional college classes I had completed when my youngest went to kindergarten. Another mom I know at Vanguard who left for several years to raise two children, described her experience upon returning to Vanguard, “They embraced my years at home, and all I was able to accomplish. They embraced what I was, and what I wanted to be now. There was no judgement… There was this element of ‘Welcome home, we’re glad you’re back. Where do you want to start?’ It was such a gift.”
Supportive Leaders When I started at Vanguard, I was a single mom with four children. I have always found that my leaders are supportive of my need to put my family first. The department I started in offered me some flexibility options, which I used to stay active in my daughters’ schools, schedule dentist appointments, and run errands. In another role here at Vanguard, I struggled to meet daycare schedules and growing costs. Working with my manager, I was able to shift my schedule enough to cut my daycare costs by a third. Several years later one of my kids was ill, and I needed to drive her to multiple appointments during the week. I took advantage of technology that enabled me to work remotely from home and during doctor visits. There are leaders who have supported me on my journey to balance commitments at home and work, and taken a sincere and active interest in my career development. The treatment and encouragement I have received from these managers has influenced my own leadership style.
Looking Back…and Forward
Whenever I have the opportunity to discuss my experience with a woman grappling with her own decisions concerning motherhood and work-life balance, I have always shared that she will never regret the time she chooses to spend at home with her kids. A friend at Vanguard reflected recently, “I could have been working, but I am so grateful for my time at home. Now my kids watch me and they see dedication, a strong work-ethic. As they see me progress in my career, I am setting an example. [My family] has a different level of respect for my work and my time.” My girls are grown now, and some of my daughters have their own children. Ah, grandchildren. About a year and a half ago, I shared with my manager that I was open to roles in our Arizona office (which is approximately 2,000 miles closer to my kids). A lateral move to my current role and a few more great leaders in between, and I am typing these words from my home in Scottsdale. Vanguard is a great place for moms.
In honor of Mother’s Day, we’re featuring a series of blogs dedicated to working mothers and their experience at Vanguard. In this blog, Schuyler T. discusses working at Vanguard and what happened when her baby came earlier than expected.
I started at Vanguard as a Client Relationship Specialist answering phone calls from our clients. To be honest, I took the job because my Dad informed me that if I wanted to remain living under his roof I would have to get a job. Considering I wasn’t entirely sure if he was kidding or not, I accepted the job and started a few weeks after graduating from Bucknell University. In my mind, I thought this job would satisfy my Dad’s request and allow me the time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life…
Finding the flexibility I needed
Thirteen years later, I am still with Vanguard and have had an opportunity to grow both personally and professionally. Today, I am a Manager who sits on the Talent Acquisition Leadership team, but more importantly, I am the mom to two great kids and the wife to an amazing husband who is also a crew member. I love my job and I wouldn’t trade it for the world, in fact, I would go as far to say I love being a working mom. There is no secret formula to create a balance or even a magic number of how much time should be spent at home vs. work. Instead, it is all about flexibility.
Vanguard has offered me the flexibility that I need to be the best mom to my kids and succeed in my career. Flexibility comes in many shapes and sizes – some weeks I may put more time in at work to finish a project. Other weeks I may need to put in more time at home to be there for my family. Either way, I have never felt that I had to choose between work and family.
“I didn’t have time to come up with elaborate Halloween costumes – a quick search around the house and voila! Halloween costumes and happy kids!”
Coming back to work
As a new mom to two, I had 4 months of paid time to spend with my newborn son and help my daughter adjust to being a big sister. This time was invaluable to me and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I was able to enjoy my leave and bond with my family. And guess what? Work didn’t stop, and I didn’t get any emails or phone calls. The only communication I had with my team was me sharing pictures of my adorable (I may be biased) kiddos. After my 4 months of leave, I was ready to come back to work. I knew my kids were in great hands with our childcare provider as their days were filled with learning, socialization, art, and songs. Much more exciting than a day spent with mom. In fact, for a few years every time I shared with my daughter that tomorrow was Saturday, she would sigh and respond with “that’s nice, but I can’t wait for Monday”. Comments like these validate that, just like me, my kids have their own lives too. They have friends and activities at school that they get excited about, just like I have projects and initiatives that I am excited about at Vanguard.
Working full time and being a full time mom is not easy, and it’s definitely not glamourous (so what if my house isn’t perfectly tidy, my garden needs weeding, or we sometimes have pizza for dinner) but I wouldn’t change it for the world. In my opinion, I get the best of both worlds and they complement each other quite nicely. Every day I have the opportunity to challenge myself at work, which keeps me driven and energized, and there are still so many things that I aim to do with my career. I know Vanguard and my family will support me every step of the way.
If you had asked me 5 years ago where I would be today, trading derivatives at one of the world’s biggest asset management firms would probably not have been my first response. In college I was studying international business and politics, and headstrong on becoming a diplomat at the United Nations. My summer going into my senior year of college, I worked an internship at the UN. This experience motivated me to follow a path where I could influence positive changes in the world. I also loved understanding how economies operated around the world. In finding Vanguard, not only was I excited about the possibility to work at one of the biggest asset managers in the world, but also a company that had a philanthropic vibe. I felt that the overlap between values at the United Nations and Vanguard was pleasantly similar.
Learning a “trade”
I applied to the Vanguard Accelerated Development Program (VADP), not knowing where in the organization I wanted to be, but excited about the opportunity to explore different areas of the company. The first step was tackling the Series 7 exam – which helped me gain solid investment knowledge and a better understanding of how our funds and ETFs operate. It was soon after that I realized I wanted to learn more about the investment arm of the organization. After spending a few days shadowing on the trading floor, I knew the fast paced, high impact environment was perfect for me.
My first rotation was on the ETF Capital Markets team, a very male dominated area where there had never been a female on the team before. They covered both fixed income and equity, and spoke to clients about trading – this required deep training and hard work to understand the complex technical knowledge. I spent my days shadowing others on the desk and learning about equity, fixed income, market structure, market participants, and ETFs. I kept a spiral notebook with long lists of questions of the current day’s happenings, and Tom (my first manager on the team) would spend time post market hours explaining the plumbing of the market and theoretical reasoning behind the day’s trades. Although this group required a thorough understanding of many different aspects of investment management, I found I was able to learn these technical skills by partnering with a mentor, and consistently asking questions, finding articles, and taking time to self-study. That included starting the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) exam, which although challenging and time consuming, has been instrumental in helping me with my investment education. As time went on I felt confident in my ETF knowledge and my day-to-day now consisted of taking on my own trades and speaking with clients directly, rather than just shadowing another expert.
Creating the right environment
One thing to note is that there is a lack of females in the investment space, and they have historically shied away from more technical areas. Being the first female to join the Capital Markets team, I worked with my current mentors in deciphering why that is and how we could encourage other females to enter the space. The main themes I came away with were mentorship and confidence. It’s up to females currently in these roles to encourage, mentor, and lead other females and males entering the space. The confidence piece is tough, however, it helped me learn that it’s rare that someone walks into a trading or portfolio management job knowing the right way to hedge a trade. Knowing that I started at the same level as many of my peers reaffirmed that I too was capable and smart.
After I became involved in the ETF industry, I also joined a nonprofit group in the industry called Women in ETFs (WE). In this group, I got to know other women in the industry and attended numerous panels and discussions. Personally I have gained so much from being involved in this organization – the network I developed has helped me to not only understand the ETF ecosystem, but has also provided me with a network to lean on. After going back and forth to the New York chapter many times, I decided to explore developing a Philadelphia chapter. I felt strongly that I could cultivate the same experience for professionals here that I was getting in New York. Many months, discussions, and persuasions later we were able to move forward with the chapter launch in August of 2017. Over the past year I have attended events with experts in the local ETF industry that discussed trading, regulation, and market making. The WE Philadelphia chapter has big plans for incorporating formal mentorship programs, webinars, and more educational events this year.
No longer a shadow
After spending two years on the ETF Desk, I was approached about taking a trading role on the derivatives desk in Fixed Income. I was honored by the opportunity to take a step deeper into the heart of our funds and the daily happenings of politics, the fed, and market movements. It’s exciting to work on a desk that has direct impact and trades large amount of notional values. Thinking through trades and risk, staying on top of the markets, and learning how thoughtful decisions can positively impact shareholders has kept me so excited to come into work every day and allowed me to continue to grow as an investment professional.
It has been Vanguard’s openness to teach and mentor that has given me the opportunity to work in such technically challenging roles. If I could say one thing to women and men exploring a career in investments, it’s not to allow what you don’t know to intimidate you. If you are willing to work towards a goal, you can achieve it. You just need the right mentors, the right mindset, and the right company.
If you’re seeking and environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, check out or career opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.
In early 2015, I was suffering. Years of working a desk job and a sedentary lifestyle had taken their toll and my health was worsening. My blood pressure was way too high, and gout attacks frequently made it agonizing to walk. Sleep apnea and acid reflux meant I rarely got a decent night’s rest. At 41, I wasn’t too young to be at risk of a heart attack (or worse). It was time to do something. Lucky for me, Vanguard has an amazing wellness staff here to help – at Vanguard’s fitness center called ShipShape.
Small steps and big changes
I started with baby steps, like joining ShipShape’s six-week group weight-loss challenge and hitting the gym regularly. Encouraged by our specialist, I kept a food diary and changed my eating habits. I walked on the treadmill for a half-hour. I used the stairs instead of the elevator to get to my desk on the third floor. At the gym, the ShipShape team greeted me by name almost immediately, which built up my sense of belonging, as well as the accountability that I needed to make this a habit. They have been with me every step of the way.
Jumping to the next level
As time went on, I gravitated to group exercise classes, where I did things I never thought possible. I lifted a barbell for the first time in my life – then did 800 reps in 45 minutes. I punched and kicked through a cardio workout. I swung a kettlebell. I jumped on a BIG box. And then I did it all again. (At home, I annoyed my kids by threatening living-room burpees. Hey, I’m still a dad.)
The results came almost immediately. I lost a tremendous amount of weight that first year, but just as important, was developing the routine and the commitment to make this a lifestyle change. My family tracked my weekly weigh-ins. I had to buy new clothes! My team at work noticed. People who hadn’t seen me in a while were surprised by my transformation. “You did all this at Vanguard?” more than one person asked me.
It takes a (supportive) village
Make no mistake, this can be hard work, but the ShipShape staff are there to guide you through it. Austin has us pedaling for our lives in Group Cycling (but you don’t notice it, with such a fun soundtrack). Shannon doesn’t skip any of the toughest kickboxing choreography. Brandon and Chelsea sweat it out with us in every class they lead. I can’t argue with the results! There’s nothing more energizing and motivating than pushing yourself to the limit while surrounded by dedicated crew focused on a common goal. I have strengthened my Vanguard network, made new friends, and even found my current job through a workout buddy. And if I haven’t been around in a while, someone notices.
For me, fitness just fits
I have a favorite shirt that I wear to the gym – it has the words MAKE HISTORY emblazoned in big red letters on a gray background. It was a Father’s Day gift from my wife and three children a few years back. This shirt is the symbol of a miracle. I wear it to celebrate how far I’ve traveled on my wellness journey and to remind myself why I so often visit ShipShape. The center is always there for me – I can go before breakfast or at lunchtime, which suits my family’s busy schedule. I know the specialists will greet me with a smile and that I’ll see friends and might try something new. Three years later, my ShipShape family is a significant part of who I am as a Vanguard crew member. I couldn’t be more grateful.
Today, I’m more present and available for my Vanguard team, my peers, and most importantly, my wife and kids. I stay active, and my health has dramatically improved. I find that I contribute more at work and at home. So, what’s next for me? I plan to keep making history.