This January, the American Red Cross celebrates National Blood Donor Month and recognizes the lifesaving contribution of blood and platelet donors. Crew member Pete K. shares his story:
Like many of you, my first time donating blood was when a friend asked me to participate in a blood drive. It was easy and painless, and I remember leaving feeling like I’d made some small contribution to the community.
In the years since I’ve become more sensitive to the challenges faced by the Red Cross and other blood collection agencies. The critical need for blood products (whole blood, plasma, platelets) is satisfied by the relatively few who are willing to help through regular donations. The Red Cross reports that while almost 40% of the U.S. population are eligible to donate, less than 10% of that population actually do each year. Contrast that with the fact that every day 36,000 units of red blood cells and 7,000 units of platelets are needed in the U.S., and you have a pretty dire situation. Initially, the main driver for my donations was simply that it’s the right thing to do. But, soon it turned personal.
Why it’s so important to me
My wife, Tammie, went through a particularly tough battle with breast cancer and that struggle really made us appreciate the volunteers that donate blood products. Tammie underwent extensive and intense chemotherapy and radiation treatment – both of which can damage cells in your bone marrow, and are used to manufacture blood and platelets. The effects of these treatments are cumulative, and she became progressively weaker as her regimen progressed. Low blood count leaves patients vulnerable to a variety of infections and even bleeding, so blood donations are critical for recovery. Chances are you have a loved one, or know of someone, with a similar story. I’m happy to say that now, my wife is two years clear of any reoccurrence.
In addition to donating blood, I also donate platelets. I had friends that were doing it, and read that these type of donations are often specifically matched to an individual cancer patient. It felt like an even greater opportunity to help someone in need. Donating platelets is a fairly involved process, and more time consuming, so I typically only manage 4 or 5 of those per year. In between, I participate in blood drives at my church and Vanguard. Can you believe that in 2017, Vanguard crew donated 2,000 pints of blood? Pretty amazing!
Paying it forward
I think the reality is that many of us at some point in our lives will have a similar need, whether due to illness, accident, or scheduled surgery, so I look at donating as “paying it forward” in advance. Vanguard has a culture of crew giving back through community service programs, Volunteer Time Off days, and charitable giving (which includes generous employer matching), all centered on our commitment to what we call the “3 C’s”: clients, crew & community.
I’m grateful to work at a place where my values align with my company’s culture. My wife is pretty grateful too.
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.”
Building financial literacy through My Classroom Economy
During my tenure with Vanguard, I have had the humbling opportunity to return to my alma mater several times to help recruit new talent. This was an incredibly nostalgic experience for me, as the career fair is where I gained my first impressions of Vanguard – where I would spend the next ten years of my career (and counting!). Whenever I am meeting students, explaining who Vanguard is and what we do, a question that I am inevitably asked is, “Why did you accept a job at Vanguard?” This is a great question to have when exploring employer options as it is natural to want to understand a current employee’s motivation for joining a company. That being said, there is a more illuminating question to ask. If you really want to uncover a true sense of the company culture, try asking “What made you stay at Vanguard?”
Why I stay
My answer, at least partly, is my experience with My Classroom Economy. My Classroom Economy, or MyCE for short, is a robust classroom management system that focuses on building financial literacy through experiential learning. The basic idea is that MyCE provides the resources necessary for educators to establish an “economy” in their classroom that is interactive, ongoing, and builds essential financial skills. The economy created in the classroom introduces and reinforces basic financial topics such as receiving a paycheck, saving, and spending. In addition, students get to experience paying rent, buying insurance, and budgeting. The entire program is entirely free to use and totally customizable to each classroom’s needs.
Why it matters to me
This particular outreach from Vanguard into the community is important to me because of the mission and its connection to my own life. My mother was an elementary school teacher for her entire career and I witnessed first-hand the impact that an educator can have on their students outside of traditional school curriculum topics. By engaging with MyCE and giving back to educators, I’m able to help contribute to the effectiveness of teachers across the country.
What I do for MyCE
In addition to providing the materials via our website, Vanguard’s North Carolina campus takes a further step into the community by hosting My Classroom Economy Day with a local school each year. This year, I had the privilege of leading the event and facilitating a field trip to our campus. In September, 80 fifth grade students from Shamrock Gardens Elementary School in Charlotte, NC joined us for a day of fun and learning. Our students picked from several career tracks and earned paychecks by participating in small groups with different areas of our business. They were offered the ability to buy insurance, and those who didn’t had to surrender some of their earned “money” when a natural disaster struck later in the day. They were then able to use their earned money to bid on auction items to take home with them. They also participated in a hands-on activity regarding professional presence that taught lessons about how their actions and words with classmates can have unintended consequences. This keynote event was a culmination of a year of planning by my team of volunteers and left a lasting impression on the students and those of us, nearly 40 in total, who worked to make this day possible.
So as you explore careers on your journey, remember to find ways to uncover a company’s true culture by asking the right questions. You may come to find that the work you do for a company is only half of the reason for starting your career there and the rest may be opportunities like My Classroom Economy. MyCE is just the tip of the iceberg for reasons why my peers and I choose to work for Vanguard.
Want to learn more about My Classroom Economy? Check out these videos! And if you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, check out our career opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.
The giving season is upon us, and many Vanguard crew are making it their mission to give to the less fortunate. In this video, crew speak specifically about one very special campaign and why brightening a child’s holiday means so much to them.
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.
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.
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.
Runners, walkers, and wheelchair participants line up at the starting line. Some in teams with colorful shirts and creative team names, others participating on their own. Some will walk, some will run, some will wheel, and some will cheer. All will make a difference.
This September is Vanguard’s annual Vanguard Gives Back 2017 Campaign’s 5k run and 1-mile walk/wheelchair event. Held on September 9 in Arizona and September 11 in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, the event is part of a broader fundraising campaign that runs from September 11 through September 22.
Crew also look forward to the friendly competition among 5k participants. Once again, awards will recognize top finishers, largest team, best costume, overall spirit, and more.
Why do we participate? For some it’s a way to bond with their team. For others, it’s to get their daily exercise or maintain fitness goals they’ve set for healthy living. But for many, it’s all about giving back.
When it comes to caring about crew, Vanguard is unmatched. With amazing health benefits, on-campus gyms, and even pet insurance, it’s hard to dispute that Vanguard is one the best companies to work for. One of the benefits I want to focus on today is Vanguard’s annual Volunteer Time Off, or VTO day. Every year, crew members get to take a paid day off from work to volunteer, sometimes with their team or on their own with their favorite charity. Many teams organize group activities at non-profits like Cradles to Crayons, while some crew go off on their own to volunteer at a local charity that needs help.
Here at Vanguard our work revolves around the three Cs: Clients, Crew and Community. Our clients differ based on the different divisions at Vanguard, but as crew we are always dedicated to serving these clients in the best way possible. The Retail Investor Group (RIG) is our largest division, serving approximately 7 billion clients and small businesses with over $1 trillion in assets under management (AUM). These clients are individuals who trust Vanguard with their savings because of our low-costs but also the way we treat them in every day interactions.
Karin Risi, the Managing Director of RIG, has been at Vanguard for 20 years. She reports directly to Vanguard’s CEO and has a large team with six different subdivisions in RIG. Each of these business areas work together in creating an engaging and positive environment for our clients.
Last but not least, Vanguard strives to make communities stronger in many different ways through a variety of activities. One unique experience I was able to have through the internship program was being placed on a team within Vanguard Charitable where we specifically analyzed ways to positively influence high impact philanthropy. The goal is to better assist donors in making long term contributions to 501c3 organizations of their choice, whose missions align with the type of impact they hope to make with their charitable donations. Supporting Vanguard Charitable clients and making an impact in the community at the same time was a great experience.
The idea of serving others before self has been ingrained in our culture and is why our third “C”, community, is so important to everyone here at Vanguard.
Tim Birbeck, Chief of Staff for Vanguard’s Information Technology and Security division, didn’t plan to be in IT. He wanted to be a plumber. After all, it was the profession of the main character in his favorite video game. And like his hero, he wanted to chase bad guys, travel new worlds, and save the day. That was, until he learned that he could actually make his own video games, which started a lifelong passion for technology that still exists today. Tim shared this story, among others, with students attending Techies Day at Vanguard – an event designed to expose high school students to technology careers.
“IT is seen as being heads down, but I believe we are the most collaborative field in the world.” Tim told the students. He described Vanguard’s culture as being team oriented, and shared that IT crew have diverse career options – including software development, security, or infrastructure. In his current role, Tim gets to do what interests him the most – he loves gadgets, he likes figuring out how things work, and he has opportunities to polish his skills in non-IT areas, including leadership. In fact, he works closely with senior leaders and has exposure to their expertise and guidance.
The Techies Day event is designed for students at a key moment in their young adult lives – they’re researching continuing education options, exploring fields of study, and contemplating future careers. They are also starting to think about the kind of employer they want four years from now. For most students, that means a place where they are not only permitted to move between roles, but are actually encouraged to seek out other positions, take on new challenges, and enhance current skills. During their time at Vanguard, students had the opportunity to try on different roles with sessions focused on Big Data & Analytics, Enterprise 2.0 (a project aimed at integrating web tools into the workplace), and Security and IT. In these interactive discussions, students completed hands on activities where they got to see how it really felt Student with 360 headsetto be a product owner or engineer. They also heard speakers, visited a Tech Expo, and asked lots of questions.
Most importantly, the students learned that if they choose to come to Vanguard, they too will spend their days building new things, solving problems, and conquering new worlds.