Companies that attain the maximum 100 total points earn the coveted title, “Best Place To Work For LGBTQ Equality”.
The survey criteria is both robust and challenging, and HRC has continued to raise the bar for companies striving to attain the “Best Place…” accolade. Vanguard has participated in the survey for 5 consecutive years, and will continue to engage because it is the global standard for LGBTQ+ awareness and inclusion in the workplace. The survey is just one of the avenues Vanguard uses to benchmark our practices for continued improvement. We also participate in the survey because of you! When any potential crew member (Vanguard employee) learns about our score, they get a glimpse of what it’s like to be a crew member.
Recognition of workplace achievements always feels great, however the awards don’t provide insight into how we are personally impacted. So as I prepared to write this blog, I decided to pulse a few of my LGBTQ+ friends to share what was most relevant to each of them. I am humbled to admit that I did not foresee the large number of examples in their responses! So much so, that my blog evolved into blogs…with a Part I and a Part II. Here are a few of their thoughts:
“Part of the reason I joined Vanguard back in 1998 is that Vanguard had explicit protections for LGBT crew spelled out in their diversity statement even way back then. I was only out to few people at the bank I worked at previously, and there was no mention of LGBTQ+ in their diversity statement. That made me nervous about prospects for advancement if I came out, and that explicit statement was one of the reasons I chose to leave the bank and join Vanguard. Even so, coming out at work was a slow and deliberate process. But, once I got to know Vanguard and saw firsthand how “out” leaders were just as respected and successful, I became more comfortable being my true self.” – Mark O.
“There is so much that has made an impact on me regarding LGBTQ+ inclusion at Vanguard. For example, as an OPEN (Out Professional Engagement Network) Ally Workshop facilitator, I get to share my personal experience as an LGBT crew member with supportive allies. After each session I’m newly energized by the caliber of people that we call crew members. I always make several new connections through these workshops that have proven to be lasting and valuable! Speakers such as Ash Beckham, Amita Gupta, and JoDee Winterhoff have made a lasting impact by bringing LGBTQ+ issues outside the walls of Vanguard to life, and help crew members connect and relate to each other. Finally, the support from Senior Leadership – seeing our former CEO sign a letter voicing opposition to exclusive legislation and “walking the talk” when it comes to inclusion and support was comforting in a challenging time for the community.” – Laura T.
“Two events that I found particularly inspiring (albeit for different reasons) at Vanguard over the past couple of years were when Matthew Shepard’s mother was brought in for OPEN’s guest speaker event, and a Vanguard Day Of Caring community volunteer event that I attended in Philadelphia. I was impressed that Vanguard took the time to bring in such an impactful speaker and by the level of participation at the event – both by LGBT and ally crew. I found her presentation to be moving and inspiring. As a Philly resident, I had never been to the William Way Center, the LGBT community organization that provides service, recreational, educational, and cultural programming. The Day Of Caring event allowed me to understand their mission and feel as though I was making a contribution to the community. As with other volunteer events, I was really impressed by the numbers of both LGBT and ally crew that donated their time.” – Chris D.
As for me, one thing I think is really impressive is our Transgender Guide, which serves as an internal resource for open dialogue and further understanding of transgender issues in the workplace. The intended audience is a broad range of crew, including transgender crew members, their leaders and peers, Human Resources specialists, and client-facing crew. Topics include common terminology, overviews of gender identity and sexual orientation, guidance and tips for managers and allies, and thoughtful considerations for transgender crew members. How cool is that?
(Pictured are members of Vanguard’s 2017 OPEN Crew Resource Group Leadership team)
Meet a leader, be a leader: Inspiring and empowering the next generation
A common bond that many Vanguard crewmembers share is the desire to connect and interact within our local communities. Vanguard encourages its crew to prioritize community outreach through charity work and inspiring the next generation of talent. Susan M., a graphic design manager in International Marketing Services, saw an opportunity to do just this through her daughter’s Girl Scouts troop. “After comparing the Girl Scout organization’s core values with Vanguard’s, I noticed many similarities. I realized that there was an opportunity to help young women take their first step in their journey as a leader by leveraging my talented colleagues.” said Susan.
Sharing our journey
Susan worked closely with the Girl Scouts organization to create the “Meet a Leader, Be a Leader” event. The girls were treated to a panel of talented women from various Vanguard departments, who shared their leadership journeys. The panel included leaders from Investment Management, Marketing & Communications, and International Marketing. In addition, the audience received a step-by-step how-to guide, and, of course, a custom Girl Scouts patch.
During the panel discussion, each leader explained their unique career path and what steps they took to become the leader they are today. This helped to get the girls to think deeper about what qualities they possess. The panel members were sure to highlight some of the less obvious leadership qualities like observation and listening skills. The discussion was interactive, complete with time dedicated to Q&A.
Envisioning their future
Following the panel discussion, the girls were broken into small groups and asked to create a “dream board”. This helped the girls conceptualize and express their dreams and aspirations through images and words—emphasizing the important lesson to the girls that their goals are attainable. Along with creating the boards, the girls were also tasked with looking at their dream jobs at a 360 degree angle: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Throughout the activity, the leaders circulated around the room and asked questions to help the girls envision a logical path towards their goals. One of the women on the panel, Stephanie G., said, “The dream board activity was an amazing way to get the girls thinking about how they could be a leader in the future. There was one girl who aspires to be an author. Another girl talked about being a scientist. And another about photography and traveling the world. I think everyone was smiling by the end of the night.”
A passion for development
When I asked the panel to reflect on the event, their responses spoke volumes about how passionate they are about developing talent and sharing their knowledge and experience. The members of the panel seemed to benefit from the event just as much as the attendees.
Rachel C. also shared her positive thoughts about the event. “Meet a Leader, Be a Leader was an event that I enjoyed both personally and professionally. I was able to stand beside some of my favorite peers and represent female leadership at Vanguard. An event like this one shows that Vanguard cares about the development of young women.”
A surprising career switch inspired me to give back
When I started working at Vanguard, I never dreamed that I would spend my entire career here. Over the last 35 years, my career opportunities expanded as Vanguard grew, and each of my jobs built upon my previous experiences while still allowing me to learn new things. Along my career path, a mentor inspired me to consider a career change within Vanguard’s Information Technology (IT) division – which has then motivated me to encourage others to consider roles within IT, too.
My career in IT
It was six years ago that my mentor suggested that I transition into an IT role. It was a little scary switching to a new division and supporting a whole new type of client. Luckily, this role utilized my business knowledge while allowing my technical skills to grow. I was given a ton of support and it was exciting to learn something new every day! A few years later, I moved into a Data Governance role. Now, I help IT project teams define new data they are building so we can ensure the proper controls are in place to protect our shareholder’s information. I also became the training lead and have taught hundreds of crew members how to use our applications.
How I give back
Since my mentor had helped me discover a role that I had found to be so fulfilling, I wanted to do the same for someone else. I became an active member of one of Vanguard’s Crew Resource Groups, Women’s Initiative for Leadership Success (WILS). I help plan monthly IT events focused on professional development and organize groups of crew members to attend local conferences and external networking events.
For the past two years, I’ve been the Community Outreach Coordinator for IT WILS and have helped organize multiple events that encouraged over 3,000 middle school, high school, and college students to pursue jobs in technology. One example is Girls Exploring Tomorrow’s Technology (GETT), of which Vanguard has been a corporate sponsor for 10 years. It is an amazing event that promotes STEM careers to over 800 middle school and high school girls. We provide hands-on activities to show the girls the skills and knowledge necessary to obtain a career in IT. I’ve also volunteered at my local middle school’s STEM Career Day and supported Techies Days–an event where high school students come to Vanguard to learn about IT careers.
Why it matters
Technology is one of the fastest growing and highest paying careers, but there won’t be enough students graduating from college with Computer Science related degrees to fill all the open jobs. These events enable students to interact with successful women in IT so we can build a pipeline and hopefully help close the gender gap in technology. I love being a role model for students and encouraging them to follow their dreams.
The best part about being a member of WILS is that I get to learn from people all across Vanguard and other companies while giving back to our local communities. It’s been very rewarding to realize that we’re making a difference in the lives of so many children. And we get to have at least as much fun as the kids!
If you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, check out our career opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.
How my time in the Marines shaped my civilian career
Vanguard strives to ensure veterans joining our crew have tools and support to develop new skills and thrive in their careers. As part of National Career Development Month, crew member Amy M. shares her story of moving from military service to a civilian career.
Like most people who served in the United States armed forces, I take a great deal of pride in my military background. I’m always excited to share my experiences as a United States Marine and answer the wide range of questions that tend to surface. I find that many people are interested in learning about my transition from the military to the civilian workforce or the most valuable advice I received. Perhaps my favorite question has become “How has your military experience influenced your civilian career?” because it is – without question – an experience I harken back to every single day as a Vanguard leader.
For me, my military experience has been a critical success factor (both personally and professionally) and over time, I’ve come to realize just how much it has enriched and influenced my leadership journey. The experience has enabled me to espouse the strong virtues of both military and Vanguard leadership philosophies: valuing core purpose and shared vision, exhibiting moral courage, understanding the true concept of “team”, and demonstrating the strategic agility to achieve results.
Leadership development is a vital component of military training. A fabric of the culture and core to service men and women alike, 14 distinct leadership traits are instilled into Marines and translated into the lives we lead as citizens. I believe they parallel Vanguard’s core leadership values and I continue to hold these principles in high regard and seek to practice them daily in my leadership journey. Below are just a few of the leadership traits that have become part of my DNA as a Vanguard leader.
Dependability: Counted on always.
Whether in battle or in our communities, Marines develop solutions – not excuses. As warriors and as citizens, Marines can always be counted on.
Integrity: The cornerstone of character.
Nothing you can learn about leadership is as important as earning the trust of your Marines. To lead Marines is to follow principles, acting with honor when all eyes are on you, or when no one is watching. Great leaders must first be great men and women, accountable to the mission and those who follow.
Initiative: Every Marine is a leader.
When there’s a job to do, no Marine waits to be told what to do. Whether on the front lines or the home front, Marines look for ways to improve the situation at hand.
Unselfishness: Team before self. There are few endeavors as selfless as becoming a United States Marine. This team-first mentality becomes part of every Marine’s DNA, from the battlefield they serve on, to the communities they serve in.
Knowledge: Know more today than yesterday.
Without knowledge, judgment is reduced to intuition; decision-making becomes nothing more than a guess. On the battlefield or in the business world, those who are constantly learning and seeking self-improvement find the most success.
Enthusiasm: Motivation is contagious.
There’s no such thing as an ordinary mission for Marines – anything worth doing is worth giving it your all. To carry out a task in the Marine Corps is to motivate everyone to believe in it, thereby increasing the likelihood of mission success.
What life experiences have influenced your career? As we approach the end of the year, what will you reflect upon and how will you align your personal values with your talents and career interests as you think about the year ahead?
Our internal networking group, VetsConnect, strives to create a sense of community for active duty, veteran, and civilian crew members. If you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, check out our career opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.
Achieving success at Vanguard, regardless of obstacles
From as far back as I can remember, I was warned about growing up and facing the “real world.” As if it were a scary mythical place one could never be fully prepared for. The two things I did know about this so-called “real world” was I needed to earn an income and create a life for myself. Now, let me tell you my Vanguard story.
So, there I was, a recent college graduate, with a degree, ready to take the leap into a career…
This same exact scenario plays out for thousands of graduates each year but, here comes the plot twist. Unlike a lot of other graduates trying to enter the workplace for the first time, I am differently abled. I have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy to be exact, which forced me into a wheelchair after eighth grade.
I always held the belief that if I believed in myself, worked hard and displayed my strengths that eventually others would believe in me. After graduation it was time to make some believers. The first opportunity I received was as a contracted processor at Vanguard. I worked very hard which, eventually led to full-time employment at Vanguard.
This year marks my 9th year as a Vanguard crew member. Since starting at Vanguard I have been promoted from processing to Quality Assurance. I have enjoyed much success at work and in my personal life thanks to the support provided by Vanguard.
Their willingness to provide me accommodations has allowed me to focus on my work, without spending energy worrying about my personal needs.
Their efforts to create a healthy work/life balance means I am not concerned about having time for important doctor’s visits. Vanguard even supports my interest in promoting diversity within the workplace. Recently, with the assistance of our Diversity Advancement Committee and the Culture & Inclusion groups, I helped coordinate a diversity panel discussion around the workplace and the differently abled. Vanguard only sees my abilities.
If you ever lived differently abled or know someone that has, you will find out that there are some inherent advantages. Many differently abled workers are already masters at coordinating schedules, whether it be with care providers, transportation, or doctors’ appointments. We’re used to experiencing challenges that require problem-solving and adapting. We have been doing so our whole lives. Differently abled workers provide perspectives that promote empathy and a greater sense of inclusion among their peers. Masters at coordination, skilled problems solvers, the ability to promote inclusion in a team setting, and commitment; sounds like a crew member to me.
If you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, check out our career opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.
Vanguard is always looking for people who are bright, collaborative, and, of course, focused on our clients. But recruiting new crew can be a challenge – there are so many available jobs in our industry and we always want someone who fits into our culture. Sometimes we have to think outside the box to find those who believe in our mission.
Recently, we found many of these like-minded individuals while volunteering in our community. Since charitable work is a big part of our culture, it made sense that we would find others there who share our values of client-first, teamwork, inclusion, and integrity. We also discovered that these events gave us an opportunity to answer questions about life at Vanguard and how to join our crew, while still making a difference. Thus, the College Community Outreach (CCO) program was born.
The program is a recruiting initiative, a volunteer program, a networking opportunity, and a coaching session all rolled into one. Vanguard’s University Relations team, in partnership with VetsConnect (our internal military network), invite motivated college students to join us at community service events with a goal of improving our community and learning more about Vanguard. While volunteering, students are able to discuss our culture and career options, and speak directly with hiring managers and HR professionals. And the program isn’t just for potential crew, it also allows current crew to develop leadership, project management, and relationship skills.
Robert G., an Operations Associate in our Retail Investor Group, shares how the program helped him secure a position at Vanguard. “The many volunteer projects afforded me the opportunity to meet with some of Vanguard’s crew. I was able to talk with them and get to know them on a personal level, hearing their stories as they reflected on their time at Vanguard.”
Another benefit is those seeking employment with Vanguard not only learn about our culture, but can also better prepare for an interview. Due to his service in the navy, Robert is passionate about veteran’s programs and was able to meet Vanguard crew volunteering at the Veterans Multi Service Center (VMSC) in Philadelphia. Robert explains, “In my previous career in the Navy, volunteering for projects was a frequent undertaking. After hearing about crew experiences, I was able to reflect upon my time in the Navy and figure out a way to apply my experiences and talents during my interviews.” After being hired fulltime, Robert will be supported in his continuing efforts with VMSC and other organizations by his leaders, peers, and VetsConnect. And maybe one day he’ll be the one sharing his experiences while searching for the next new crew member.
Recently, Vanguard crew sat down to discuss the Latino experience and what it means to be Latino in America. What they discovered is that the question can’t be answered – but it should be explored.
Latinos have similarities, but are not one in the same. Our various countries of origin, religions, cultures, and socio-economic statuses all make it impossible to come up with one typical Latino experience. Vanguard crew discussed this very topic during an event hosted by our Hispanic/Latino Organization for Leadership and Advancement (HOLA). This event, titled Voces (Spanish for ‘Voices’), is a crew led dialogue program that promotes conversation regarding the Hispanic/Latino community in an inclusive environment where crew members are encouraged to share their stories and experiences. At the first event, crew watched a TED Talk about the Latino experience in America and then discussed their reactions to the presentation. It really enabled crew to open up about perceptions and misconceptions, and educate our fellow crew members on how to embrace our differences. This was all while realizing, as discussed in the TED Talk, that what bonded us together was the fact that we are perceived as being one homogenous group.
During other Voces gatherings, crew members shared their personal experiences on immigration: immigrating from an early age, immigrating from a later age, their reasons for immigrating, their experiences adapting to a new country, culture and language, and what it felt like being undocumented. We also discussed the Mother Tongue, which many assume to be Spanish, but is not always the case. Several crew members discussed how not learning Spanish impacted their feelings of belonging, and shared reasons why their parents did not teach them the language.
While conversations such as these are beneficial, HOLA hosts some lighter activities. One example was Sweet Memories, a gathering where crew brought in their favorite dessert, then shared the country of origin, the recipe, and the story behind it. We had tons of desserts – tembleque, Mexican wedding cookies, pastelillos de guayaba y queso. We learned about the typical desserts from places such as: Puerto Rico, Colombia, Mexico, Bolivia, and Venezuela, just to name a few. As crew learned about the dessert from everyone’s country of origin, they discovered a little more about each other, as well.
Perhaps these events answer one question about being Latino in America. Wherever you come from, whatever your experience, whatever you bring, it is something to celebrate.
At Vanguard, our crew are dedicated to improving and supporting our communities. We volunteer with local organizations, hold food drives, and harvest a community garden for food banks. But how many of us truly know what it’s like to be in need? For those of us who have never experienced serious hunger or been unable to pay the rent, we may not understand the harsh realities of living in poverty. Exposing ourselves to these conditions, even in a simulated environment, can inspire us to have an even greater impact in helping our neighbors in need. This summer, approximately 30 crew members did just that when they participated in a poverty simulation in Charlotte.
During the exercise, the group was divided into families and asked how they would make daily decisions based on the limited resources they had. For example, many had to choose between eating a meal and paying a utility bill. The families were represented in a diverse manner – some were unemployed, others had parents in prison, some were deserted by a caregiver. During these discussions, crew experienced, on a small scale, the trade-offs of spending limited income on food, utilities, or education.
Trang P., an Investment Analyst who participated in the exercise, shares how she learned that, “Individuals from resource-constrained families have a lot of responsibilities. They are so preoccupied with getting food, finding a job, and paying bills that what seem to be trivial tasks can end up being a mountain of work.”
Ultimately, our crew walked away from the event with a better understanding of poverty conditions in Charlotte and policies affecting the economically-disadvantaged population. They feel more educated about what the less fortunate face on a daily basis and are confident that they can identify additional ways to support the communities where we live and work.
For all crew, the experience was life changing. Trang went on to say, “I want to be an ambassador who demystifies stereotypes and promotes empathy.”
On August 27th the streets of uptown Charlotte were filled with color, excitement and thousands of people celebrating equality at the Charlotte Pride parade. And for the very first time members of one of Vanguard’s Crew Resource Groups “Out Professional Engagement Network” (OPEN) marched alongside their fellow Charlotteans. Over 60 Vanguard crew, family and friends decorated in red shirts and carrying rainbow flags and umbrellas paraded through uptown – a big moment for OPEN and for Vanguard.
As our group marched we were pleasantly surprised to hear the cheers and Vanguard-isms shouted in our direction. “We Love Vanguard!” and “Take care of my 401K!” just to name a few. Marching on Sunday gave us all a renewed sense of pride in what it means to be Vanguard crew members and more importantly, what it means to be crew members and community leaders that find value in celebrating diversity in its many forms.
Undoubtedly, our presence in Charlotte’s largest annual parade helped to reinforce the Vanguard brand. For investors and crew alike, our presence demonstrates our commitment as we strive to give our clients and crew the best chance for success.
When I started out on my own after college, like so many people I furnished my apartment with items passed down from family members—drinking glasses from my grandmother, dishes from my aunt, lamps from my parents, and a well-used sofa from my older brother. It was a great new adventure as I had my own place and I was now a “wise, all knowing adult.” One day some friends visited and laughed at the lamps. I knew the lamps were older, but they were still cool-looking and in good shape. But my friends were actually joking about the plastic wrap that was on the lamp shades. You know what I am talking about—that protective plastic covering that is on lamps in the store when purchased (and that remained on those lamps all those years). I was perplexed and thought, “EVERYONE has the original plastic wrap on their lamps. At least everyone from where I grew up left the plastic on. What’s wrong with these friends for thinking this was odd?” It was eye opening for me that, in fact, not everyone leaves the plastic wrap on lamp shades. Who knew?!?
I look back on this story with humor and great pride. Those covered lamp shades linked to the history of the people where I grew up in central New York State. The area had been settled by European immigrants who came to the United States to establish a better life for themselves and for their children. They worked hard to make it in the U.S. and experienced the Great Depression. Their past financial struggles gave them an appreciation for preserving and protecting their assets. Those lamp shades were a reflection of the culture and the values of my upbringing.
We all have our unique ways of doing things based on who we are and our previous experiences. Sometimes we may feel that our approach is similar to everyone else, and other times we may feel like the outsider, not fully understanding the norms of the group we are in. The opportunity for this variety of feelings is even more likely at work where we have the incredible opportunity to be around colleagues who come from various backgrounds and experiences. It’s the intertwining and interaction of all of us and all of our backgrounds that help create a diverse and inclusive environment.
For me a key element of inclusion is simply having a conversation and getting to know more about others, and being open to understanding and appreciating different approaches. I ask questions and try to get to know others and their story. I may not always fully understand or even agree, but I always walk away with a better appreciation. And, most often, I find I have more in common with other people than I could have imagined. In times I have felt like the outsider, I have always appreciated when someone took the time to welcome me, get know more about me, or seek my opinion. It was through these actions of others that I felt a greater sense of belonging and comradery.
So, the next time you run into someone with “plastic wrap on their lamp shade,” be curious. Strike up a conversation, and seek to know more about them. If you are like me, you will be amazed by what you learn.
-Ken Oyer (The Vanguard Group, Diversity and Inclusion, PA)