From dentistry to dividends and how a passion for chicken led the way
You might describe my journey into the financial services industry as nontraditional. Many of my colleagues pursued a four year college degree right after high school and were hired at Vanguard shortly after graduation, but my path was very different. I followed my curiosity and passions through various roles in hospitality and dentistry and supplemented my professional experience with community college coursework, earning my associates degree in mathematics. My story is evidence that there are many pathways into a thriving career at Vanguard.
My Passion for Exceptional Customer Service Began with Chicken
After high school I started working as a customer service team member for a major fast-food restaurant. I was inspired to work for this particular restaurant because of how pleasant all the employees were each time I visited. I would often hear customers rave about how impressed they were with their customer service experience. I knew that if I could develop strong customer service skills, I could take that knowledge with me and apply it in any career path. I learned so much about the value and impact of exceptional customer service and I’ve carried that mindset with me throughout my career journey.
Your smile is one of the first attributes people notice. I’ve always admired how dental professionals can create beautiful smiles and wanted to get hands-on experience in the field. I shadowed at local dental offices in town and soon met a highly respected orthodontist who truly valued customer service. He loved my customer service background and offered on-the-job training. I spent the better part of 10 years working my way through the office, starting with chairside assisting and eventually becoming the office manager. I enjoyed the challenge of starting from square one. I knew nothing about dentistry and while there were tough learning seasons, those seasons helped me become a better dental assistant and had a huge impact on who I am today. The most valuable skill I learned during my time in dentistry was the importance of leadership and how impactful a strong leader can be for a team. I had filled the shoes of my team before, so I knew many of the challenges they faced in our line of work firsthand. From managing unexpected staff shortages to working with challenging patients, I learned how to quickly problem solve in high pressure situations. This was rewarding as I was able to find solutions for our patients and gain trust and respect from my team.
From Dentistry to Dividends
While I loved dentistry and the relationships I built with my patients, there was another industry that piqued my interest – the investment industry. I personally did not grow up with a family that knew much about investing, however the orthodontists I worked with engaged in investing daily. As they spoke about their brokerage accounts and referenced articles from The Wall Street Journal, I became more and more curious about the financial services industry, specifically investments. I knew I wanted to learn more but also still work for a reputable company with a positive culture. When I heard about Vanguard and the opportunity to obtain licensing and training, along with the values, I couldn’t say no. After researching the many opportunities that Vanguard offered, I applied to the Client Relationship Associate position serving our Self-Directed clients. Similar to my time in dentistry, I wanted to start at a beginner friendly level and continue to gain more knowledge and experience. I never thought I would be able to begin a career in the financial services industry without having at least a 4-year undergraduate degree. Vanguard was willing to take a chance on me with an associate degree and no previous financial experience. I knew that my customer service background and desire to go above and beyond for clients would be a great asset for Vanguard. I didn’t want to take this chance for granted so once I was hired, I studied hard for my industry exams. Three challenging months later, I obtained my Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) credential, Series 7, and Series 63 licenses. The elation I felt was like no other. I am grateful to have accomplished my goals and am now working as a Retirement Specialist. I am delighted to now serve our clients and help them to retire with confidence.
How I’ve Used My Story to Help Others
There are many people like me who didn’t have an opportunity to obtain a 4-year bachelor’s degree right out of high school who can succeed if given the right opportunity. I am thankful and proud to have referred a few of my previous colleagues to Vanguard and will continue to advocate for anyone else looking for an opportunity to grow. My advice to others who are thinking of taking the leap from one field to another but are afraid – jump. Until you spread your wings you will have no idea how far you can fly.
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