In this blog, we sit down with Kelly M. and Elisha V., two crew members who serve different areas of the Vanguard business and received a professional development opportunity through one of our employee resource groups. Kelly is a Senior Research Associate in our Fixed Income Group, where she analyzes municipal bonds and works with the trading and portfolio management teams. Elisha is an IT Delivery Manager within our 401(k) Institutional Systems division, where she leads IT teams across our Pennsylvania and North Carolina offices. This is their story:
When thinking about where you want to launch or continue your career, you can be assured that at Vanguard, an emphasis is placed on professional development. Combined, we have been at Vanguard for nearly twenty years. During our tenure, we have both received support in various ways to help further advance our skill set. There is one development opportunity that we pursued, however, that stands out from all the rest. Through the Women’s Initiative for Leadership Success (WILS), one of our five Crew Resource Groups, we applied and were selected to participate in an advanced leadership development program for women. In addition to collaborating with female talent from across the enterprise and having a dedicated leadership coach consultant, the program presented us with several frameworks and tools that prepared us to handle a number of scenarios that we could potentially face throughout our careers. Examples include shaping the way we make decisions, preparing and executing courageous conversations with crew, reframing the dialogue of our inner critic, and recognizing unconscious biases.
The experience couldn’t have come at a better time in our professions. Elisha had just started a new managerial position and Kelly, who had always been an individual contributor, aspired to obtain a formal leadership role. Although we support different business areas in unique fields, we are both women within male-dominated industries. We were both successful within our careers at this point and were excited to learn ways in which we could enhance our skills and achieve professional goals going forward. We also quickly realized during the program that what got us here would not get us there, with there being where we envisioned our careers going and how we saw ourselves reaching our full potential. This specific program changed our perspectives on what that means and gave us the resources to clearly define who we are and what we stand for.
Identifying the direction we wanted to steer our careers, in addition to using learnings centered on how to plan and execute courageous conversations, continue to stand out as key takeaways from the program. We had the chance to practice these exchanges, and the more we practiced, the more we realized how impactful it was when developing others. Moreover, taking on courageous conversations is so imperative to improving a challenging situation, and we are now better equipped to handle them. Lastly, we received helpful reminders that something as simple as making the invisible, visible, can be a powerful mind shift that will lead you to a more successful outcome.
The advanced leadership development program for women has provided us with more than either of us expected. We are more prepared and confident in navigating our careers for having taken part in this initiative. Again, this is just one example of the many development opportunities offered at Vanguard.
More about the authors:
Kelly joined Vanguard directly out of college in 2007 and has been working in the Investment Management Group for the past three years. Kelly graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.
Elisha has been at Vanguard since 2012. She launched her career as a developer and shortly after moved into a technical lead role. Following these experiences, she transitioned to a project management position that gave her the opportunity to be a technical relationship manager for a large 401(k) client and now as a delivery manager, supporting cross-divisional capabilities and relationships for Vanguard Advice for Institutional. Prior to joining Vanguard, Elisha worked at various startups and financial companies also within the engineering and technology capacity for four years.
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National Intern Day – Recognizing our 2019 summer Vanguard interns
To celebrate National Intern Day, we wanted to recognize some of the interns who have been participating in our College to Corporate (C2C) and MBA Internship Programs. Students from across the country joined us in our Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Arizona offices for an immersive 10 week program. During this time, they became part of a Vanguard team and supported projects and initiatives throughout the company. We asked interns from programs across the business to share what they’ve worked on and what they have taken away from this experience.
Arizona Intern Expo
C2C Advice – Allison F. (AZ)
My internship with Vanguard has been filled with research projects, financial advisor role plays, exploration of the company, hours of advisor shadowing, and asking about a million questions! As I’ve worked to use my time at Vanguard to the fullest, I’ve come to value curiosity more than I would have ever expected. My curiosity has driven me to connect with people and resources at Vanguard to learn more about opportunities to contribute as a fiduciary within the financial planning industry and to develop new skills such as client relationship management, market knowledge, and behavioral coaching. This connection to new knowledge and fresh perspectives has been energizing and extremely rewarding, and has opened my mind to lessons I won’t soon forget.
C2C Business – Brianna M. (AZ)
My experience in the C2C Business Internship has given me the incredible chance to develop myself personally and professionally, in an environment where I was able to take risks, challenge myself, and receive regular feedback.
The projects I worked on over the summer were focused on using Visual Management—digital, physical, and interactive—to create transparency for crew around what is taking place in the Senior Manager and Manager meetings. These projects challenged me to create visual content that aligns to Vanguard’s brand and understand what information is most important to crew. I was able to leverage my marketing background to add an outside perspective and successfully create a sustainable framework for the department. This experience gave me the chance to manage several projects, network effectively and create numerous relationships, and develop leadership skills.
I am extremely grateful to have been an intern at Vanguard. It was very easy to immerse myself into the culture here, largely because of the willingness of the many individuals I interacted with, to assist in giving me the best chance for success.
Pennsylvania Corporate Challenge
C2C Corporate Finance and Accounting – Sarah C. (PA)
I am thankful I had the opportunity to intern with the Global Investment Data Management (GIDM) team on the Equity Trading Floor this summer. I was tasked with designing a new role to combine some of the GIDM Index and Reference teams’ tasks to increase efficiency, broaden investment acumen, and free up time to improve the ways that GIDM provides security and index data to the Equity Index Group. Even in ten short weeks here, I have grown professionally and personally. I developed meaningful relationships, learned and implemented project management best practices, and deepened my knowledge of the systems that ensure accurate and timely data for stakeholders. I have made this summer count by remaining open-minded and self-reflective. The approachability of leaders and the focus on development is genuine at Vanguard, which has encouraged me to truly make the most of every experience this summer.
C2C Investment Management – Tom Z. (PA)
This summer I was placed within Vanguard’s Investment Risk team covering the Quantitative Equity Group. Working with my manager, we have managed to strike what I think is the perfect balance of learning new, intellectually challenging things while also helping solve real-world business problems. In this sense, I have made my time at Vanguard count for both my personal development and the betterment of my team. Going from minimal knowledge about quantitative equity risk management to completing and presenting projects that involve creating frameworks for advanced risk analytics (used in regular meetings, ad-hoc analysis, and presentations to the CIO) has been a truly rewarding experience. These projects have not only helped me develop my technical skills in finance, math, and programming, but have also refined my ability to effectively communicate my project concepts, challenges, and ideas. Overall, my experience at Vanguard has offered me an engaging workplace where I can form terrific professional relationships to help hone and apply the skills I learn.
MBA Internship – Nancy M. (PA)
I have spent my summer working with the International Americas team on developing a competitive intelligence framework for the region. I had the opportunity to learn about various North and South American markets and the complexities Vanguard faces in those countries. Coming from a non-finance background, I valued the opportunity to learn about the asset management industry and gain an international perspective of the company. The MBA Leadership Development Internship Program provided access to senior leadership to ask questions about Vanguard’s strategic priorities and crew member development. I’m happy to come out of my internship experience with a better understanding of how Vanguard is able to play a leading role in global finance and how much they value everyone’s voice.
North Carolina Classroom Central
C2C IT – Abby H. (NC)
This summer, I have been on the Mighty dUX team, which is part of the Enterprise Advice pillar. Our team is working to build a batch application that can check a client’s investment portfolio daily and rebalance them as necessary to best help clients meet their investment goals. I joined dUX right before its first major milestone in development, which meant that I had a very short learning period before I began working on issues vital to the team. This helped me develop my ability to think on my feet and be flexible and adaptable. I learned to take on big challenges and to collaborate with my teammates to quickly and efficiently find solutions to problems as they arose. I enjoyed my internship so much this summer that I applied for a full-time position and will join the 2019 TLP Cadre this fall, so I truly believe that I made it count!
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