At Vanguard, a career in client services provides our crew with an opportunity to see and experience first-hand Vanguard’s unique business model, and how our clients are at the center of everything we do. For this blog, we sat down with crew who recently changed careers to join our Client Services and Operations group and asked them to share more about this personal decision as well as lessons learned and advice for job seekers who might be looking to make a similar move.
What was your former job, and what did you like about it?
For a decade, I was a bartender and server at a country club. From there, I spent four years as a teacher and then pivoted to working in finance, helping public school employees set up their retirement plans. The common thread across these experiences is my affinity for engaging with people on a personal level and providing a service or assistance. – Michael W.
I served as Director of Operations at a small national frozen yogurt franchise. I really enjoyed developing store managers, making operational decisions, and leading at a broader scale. After having spent the previous six years as a store manager at a multinational coffeehouse chain, I valued learning a new industry and new skills as part of a small business team. – Anne Marie C.
What led you to make a career change and pursue an opportunity at Vanguard?
My role as a financial advisor at my prior firm did not offer the type of structure and guidance that helps me thrive. Vanguard is a company that provides reasonable flexibility and solid support. – Michael W.
After about a year, I found myself burned out always being on-call and really longing for a deeper connection to mission and vision. As I started looking for a new opportunity, I really had not considered the financial industry. Once a recruiter reached out from Vanguard’s temporary work force, I did some research and knew that Vanguard was the place for me. I would discover my path once I got my foot in the door. – Anne Marie C.
Can you talk a little bit about what it was like for you to make this move?
Vanguard is my first experience working in an office, which brought its own challenges and opportunities. The first several weeks were spent in a classroom style training on campus, which helped that transition tremendously. – Michael W.
At first, it was overwhelming. I did not have a background in finance and had very little knowledge of investing outside of contributing to my employer sponsored 401(k). Learning a new industry and essentially starting my career over was a big step for me, but I knew in my heart it was the right decision. I’m grateful for the relationships I made early on in my department. They have remained a critical part of my success today. – Anne Marie C.
What are some of the transferrable skills and experiences you’ve carried over from your former job to your current role?
Clear communication with colleagues and time management have helped, along with a desire to help others. Although I am no longer providing financial advice, familiarity with the field has been beneficial. – Michael W.
The skills and experiences I gained in the service industry and prior leadership roles were easily transferrable. Client relationship management, problem solving, and people development were three critical skills that I was able to leverage right away. – Anne Marie C.
How have things changed for you since coming to Vanguard?
I’ve experienced camaraderie and a consistently encouraging environment in the professional workspace. On a more personal note, my role with Vanguard provides a structured schedule, and that affords me the ability to dedicate my time and attention to interests outside of working hours as well. – Michael W.
Professionally and personally, I have thrived. My incredible leaders have given me room to develop, while also seeing my outside business experience as an asset. Because of this, I’ve been able to take advantage of amazing career development opportunities, including leading new teams and programs for my department. I found a company that lives out my personal values and, although the change has caused me stress at times, I know that l am where I am supposed to be. Moreover, I have been able to leverage the industry knowledge I have gleaned at Vanguard to make better financial decisions for my family, which is priceless. – Anne Marie C.
What would you say to someone who is currently considering a career change?
I feel confident telling friends, family, and others that I work for Vanguard. Though my current role is not client-facing, my work positively impacts clients on a daily basis as I support our business operations. More tangibly, Vanguard takes steps to support crew by encouraging career growth and providing excellent benefits. – Michael W.
Don’t count yourself out of opportunities. Find the company you want to work for and start somewhere. You might find yourself surprised at what lies ahead. – Anne Marie C.
Interested in a career in Client Services? Check out our Client Relationship Associate opportunities today!
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Grateful my journey of learning and growth led to a career in sales
Many of our new crew members launch their careers in Client Services, as it provides them an opportunity to see and experience first-hand Vanguard’s unique business model, and how our clients are at the center of everything we do. We recently sat down with crew who have served in our Client Services and Operations group to learn more about what initially attracted them to Vanguard and what keeps them feeling fulfilled in their roles. In this second installment of a three-part series, we highlight the experience of Courtney G.
Tell us about your voyage to Vanguard.
My journey to Vanguard started taking shape early on in my career. After graduating from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Accounting, I held roles at both public and private sector firms. I learned to build and manage cash forecast models and to use the information to deliver on better money management tools and recommendations for successful business results. Although I was developing skills that would support continued career success, I did not feel fulfilled in my work. I wasn’t connecting with people and I wanted to use my knowledge to help others.
I took some time off to evaluate my career objectives and began looking for a better job fit. In my search, I came across Vanguard’s mission statement, “To take a stand for all investors … to treat them fairly … and to give them the best chance for investment success.” At the time, the investment industry was somewhat intimidating to me, but I wanted to learn more. I was quickly drawn to Vanguard’s culture and the meaning behind the company’s mission statement. In December, I will be celebrating five years with Vanguard! Not only have I continued to build my investment acumen through internships and by obtaining additional licenses and credentials, but most importantly, I am making a difference in investors’ lives. As my voyage continues, my passion grows, and I look forward to new opportunities to help others towards their goals of investment success.
Why did you choose to launch your career in Client Services?
The reason I chose to launch my career in Client Services is because it felt like the right space for me to have conversations with clients and talk about something we all think about… retirement! I don’t feel like I am much different from my clients who want to make sure they are saving enough for the future, investing in a way that makes sense, and navigating more complex areas once we’ve reached retirement.
What have been the most rewarding aspects of your role?
The most rewarding aspect of my role is sharing with my clients what makes Vanguard unique. The experience many investors have had before coming to Vanguard consists of focusing on returns and reacting to market volatility. What I’ve found satisfying is having that first conversation with a client about Vanguard’s time-tested methodology for investment success. Helping my client see that outside distractors are not where we focus our energy. Our focus is on our client’s financial goals, a balanced portfolio, keeping costs low, and the discipline to make decisions with confidence. I love sharing the holistic approach of creating a plan to live by so that you aren’t just “hoping” for success but “planning” for success.
Another aspect of my role that I find fulfilling is sharing with my clients that we don’t work on commission at Vanguard. I ensure they know that my fiduciary responsibility is to recommend options that are in their best interest.
How has Vanguard supported your professional development and career advancement?
Vanguard is a company that is goal oriented. From our investment methodology to the career development of crew members, setting goals is in our DNA. I remember just over a year ago, I declared my interest to move into a sales role. I wanted to cultivate relationships with my clients that would have a positive impact on their investment journey. However, I lacked the skillset to transition from a client service role into a sales position.
I discussed my interest in sales with my leader who encouraged me to apply to the “Accelerate to Sales and Advice Program,” which I affectionately refer to today as ASAP. What I loved about ASAP was the opportunity to join a cadre of like-minded peers across Vanguard’s domestic sites who shared a desire to enhance their sales acumen and learn about the Miller Heiman (MH) Framework from the ground up. Over the course of twenty-four weeks, we concentrated on four primary areas of MH: Open, Discover, Satisfy and Close. Here, we go beyond the numbers and graphs, and focus on why investing is important in our clients’ lives. As a sales specialist I earn the privilege to open deeper dialogue with investors and uncover their needs and their deeper needs. The deeper needs or the “Need behind the Need” (NBN) are discovery moments where the client begins to recognize, observe and see things differently. They can also be identified as “Positive Defining Moments” (PDMs) which create authentic connections and bring value to the client experience at Vanguard. This client immersed MH approach takes the focus off the seller and redirects it to the client, where it belongs. The conversations that manifest are impacting our clients’ lives and the way they invest.
The ASAP program was thoughtfully constructed and very rewarding for me. Upon successful completion of these four areas, I launched into a senior sales role that I love. It’s been an exciting journey and I’m humbled to be part of a company that values the development and advancement of their employees, which in turn, creates a better, positive client experience. Thanks to the ASAP program, I have found a deeper passion in my work that creates excitement in my role with every client experience.
Interested in a career in Client Services or Sales? Check out our opportunities today!
Please check out our first installment of this series to learn about Don’s experiences within Vanguard’s Client Services and Operations group.
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