I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me. There I was, a college senior, in the midst of the “Decade of Decision” and I had been stumped. Less than one year from that moment, I would graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and begin a new stage of life. Yet the number of forks in the road ahead was truly dizzying! Should I go straight into a graduate program? What about work experience? Should I pay my dues at a Big 4 accounting firm? Did I even want to work in accounting? In short, I wondered how to bridge the gap between being a recent college graduate and becoming a successful professional.
With so many options to choose from, I was grateful for the recommendations of wise mentors who had successfully sailed the seas ahead that I too would soon face. As I was looking into graduate programs, one mentor explained that graduate school could be much more meaningful after a few years of work experience at an industry leading company that shared my personal values. He also encouraged me to show some initiative and attend a career fair at a larger university nearby. His counsel was full of good intentions, so a classmate and I packed our bags. (Who doesn’t love a good road trip?) That career fair helped me connect with my current employer: Vanguard.
From the moment I shook hands with my recruiter, I felt a sense of meaning behind Vanguard’s mission—to take a stand for all investors, to treat them fairly, and to give them the best chance for investment success. Finding a company with a strong purpose was important to me. Before Vanguard, I had the opportunity to volunteer as a service missionary for two years in Chile, where because of our strong core purpose and values, we were able to truly make a difference. At Vanguard, my position in our Retail Investor Group provides an opportunity where I see that purpose come to life in my daily interactions with clients. I find it very satisfying to apply the skills from my college days and accounting background as I explain complex topics related to investing. Helping clients in situations where they need guidance has proved to be my career sweet spot. I also developed a passion for teamwork during my college basketball career. My time at Vanguard has taught me that the only thing better than helping people reach their financial goals is to do it alongside peers and leaders that you really admire.
Gaining work experience is a top priority during this stage of my life, but it certainly isn’t the only focus! I enjoy spending time with my family, seeing new parts of the world, and volunteering in my community. Finding a balance between these different priorities wasn’t a new task, but I wondered what the balance would feel like once I graduated from college. Some career alternatives required a commitment to long hours at work, but Vanguard seemed to mirror my values with a focus on work-life balance. The time I spend at work is extremely engaging, but it’s my work at home that demands the best of me. Pair that work week with a generous paid-time-off package and finding that elusive balance becomes reality. I was also fortunate to qualify for paternity leave in June of 2018 after the birth of my daughter. That time helped me support my wife as we welcomed our little girl to the world.
Opportunities to Advance My Career
One thing I love about Vanguard is the variety of career paths available for crew (nautical theme intended) including Financial Advisor, Team Leader, and more. Networking is strongly encouraged, and time is provided for attending a variety of career-focused events like department overviews. A recent example was put on by our Hispanic/Latino Organization for Leadership and Advancement (HOLA) group and focused on the skills required to become a successful specialist. Every month, I take time to sit down with my leader who takes an active interest in helping me prepare for my next career move. I’ve discovered that my favorite moments include time to cultivate meaningful relationships with Vanguard’s clients, so I plan to expand on that in the years ahead. I’m also excited to pursue the Certified Financial Planner ™ (CFP ®) designation as I serve clients in more substantial ways.
Working at Vanguard has been essential to my professional growth in these years following my graduation. The purpose behind my work, balance between my other interests, and opportunities for additional development have made this a rewarding decision. If you find yourself in a similar situation like me in your final years in college, know that you’re not alone! In the information age, “analysis paralysis” can be a real obstacle. The encouraging thing is that you can make a great decision even if your information is incomplete. As you evaluate the different paths ahead, be sure to lean on the advice of mentors. Do your best to research options that are most important to you, like matching your personal values and doing work that you find meaningful. Once you have that figured out, trust that with some hard work and the right opportunities, you can turn any path into a rewarding career. The most important part of this stage of life is to keep moving forward. As you do, you’ll be amazed at how naturally you progress from recent graduate to successful professional.
Why I Got Rid Of My Five Year Plan
Vanguard crew member Lauren reflects on why she tossed out her five year plan and instead focused on building a career within a company and industry she grew to love.
Inclusion – It’s More Than a Policy Hear from crew about their thoughts on LGBTQ+ inclusion at Vanguard, and learn about the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index—and how we stacked up.
My family and friends often ask me to explain what it means to work as an investment analyst in the Investment Strategy Group at Vanguard. I answer by saying that my job is to develop thought leadership. Now, if you’re not sure what the phrase thought leadership means, you’re not alone. When I first joined Vanguard, I didn’t understand what it meant either. Essentially, within my role, thought leadership means investment research that aims to go beyond what’s already been published within the industry or showcases a differentiated opinion. This research helps Vanguard answer key topical questions: What is the value of financial advice? How should investors be thinking through decision-making in retirement? What is Vanguard’s outlook for the economy and the capital markets? Answering these questions by way of research helps Vanguard continue to educate our clients and crew—and helps further establish Vanguard as a leading investment management firm.
When I began my rotation in the Investment Strategy Group through Vanguard’s leadership development program, I felt fairly intimidated by how much I didn’t know. The group was full of subject-matter-experts who not only conducted research, but frequently acted as ambassadors, discussing and delivering our group’s research in crew trainings, client meetings, and at industry conferences. While I had a background in economics and was passionate about investing, I was unsure about being able to contribute as a new team member within such a tenured department.
What I realized was that being surrounded by such knowledgeable leaders and analysts ensured that my learning curve was essentially vertical. The culture was so collaborative and grounded in intellectual curiosity that I quickly began to build both investment and technical acumen. Throughout various projects, I was able to leverage and maximize my own unique skillset while partnering with other analysts to bring my analytical skills and systems knowledge up to par. I loved the fact that there truly were no bad questions, and everyone was eager to share their experience and knowledge, whether it was over a casual coffee or in the midst of a department-wide town hall.
The content creation process
Shortly after completing my rotation and joining the group permanently, I was aligned to the Advisor’s Alpha research team, which focuses on investor behavior and the value of financial advice. When I began working on my first whitepaper, I collaborated with members of my team and partnered with leaders and practitioners in Vanguard’s client-facing divisions. Our goals were to create differentiated content that would shape the industry conversation and to outline best practices that would give institutional clients the best chance of achieving their mission (i.e. charity, education, retirement).
Creating thought leadership, no matter the topic, often happens in phases. We started off by doing deep dive research, poring through academic studies, industry intelligence, and previously published whitepapers. I really enjoyed the “get smart” phase because it allowed me to get a feel for the broader conversation happening in the industry around institutional advice. Then, we began outlining our approach, performing analysis, and drafting the paper. The writing phase was challenging but rewarding as we iterated through a number of versions and honed in on our structure, language, and visualization. Though it was a long journey, the skills I gained by working through the research process were invaluable.
A foundational skill set
My favorite aspect of working as an investment analyst in this group is that it’s given me broad exposure to numerous investment disciplines across the globe. While I work in Vanguard’s Scottsdale, Arizona office, the Investment Strategy Group is spread across our headquarters in Pennsylvania as well as a number of international offices, allowing us to conduct thought leadership on a global scale. By avidly reading and organically learning from experts in the department, I’ve built a base of knowledge across all of our research specialties including portfolio construction, retirement, and the economy and markets.
In addition to that wide-ranging foundation, I’ve delved deeply into my own research specialty. I realized that a challenging first step to being a thought leader and influencing industry conversation is being well-versed in what’s already been said. By leaning on my team’s experience and conducting research alongside our business partners, I’ve educated myself on the existing dialogue around investor behavior and the value of advice. In the future, I aspire to continue contributing to this dialogue as a developing thought leader (and proudly explaining my job to my friends and family when they ask!)
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This past summer was my 25th work anniversary at Vanguard. When I joined Vanguard 25 years ago, I was fresh out of college. I was driven, eager, and inspired to make a difference in the world. 25 years later, those same traits apply, though instead of being fresh out of college, I’m married, a mother of 3, and a Vanguard veteran. As I reminisce about Vanguard, we had under $130 billion in assets, occupied only three buildings in Malvern, PA, and had a walk-in center for clients in downtown Philadelphia when I started. I am amazed at how quickly the years have flown by, and am grateful to work for a company which aligns with my values and where I have been able to lead the life I want to.
As a math and business double major, I knew early in my undergraduate studies that I would find a career where I could solve problems, learn from others, and connect with people. While I started my career in Client Services, I spent the majority of my tenure working with fixed income securities: from trading, to portfolio management, and now compliance. When I started on the trading desk I had a steep learning curve and was fortunate to have so many leaders invest in my development to learn all aspects of portfolio management. I had the opportunity to conduct competitive analysis when we launched new funds, help build an internally developed trading system, build external relationships, and manage portfolios to ensure we maintained a stable net asset value (NAV) on our municipal money market funds and met compliance regulations. Over the years, my responsibilities grew until I became an assistant portfolio manager.
Making the decision to take a risk and try something new wasn’t easy. I had been involved with municipal money market and bond funds for 17 years. I knew that if I had learned how to manage portfolios, I could learn other aspects of the business. In my current role in Compliance, I mainly support our fixed income funds. I get to work with global peers, and am in a role where I can leverage my fixed income background and work with investments from a different angle. I have been able to lead large regulatory projects, be an international buddy as new crew joined offices abroad, relocate to Vanguard’s Scottsdale office, build out a global investment training curriculum, and learn what it takes to provide advice on complex regulations. Outside of my day job, I’ve been able to inspire the next generation by helping to recruit talent to Vanguard, leading the Arizona Career Development team (a group of people who help crew figure out career options at Vanguard), and by mentoring and coaching crew. Although I do not currently serve as a formal leader, I’ve been able to inspire crew by listening, asking questions, being available, and sharing tips and lessons I have learned over the years.
And then there is life at home…..
My husband and I had three kids in two years and quickly learned the true concept of zone defense. When my kids were young we both worked full time and my husband’s role had him on the road 70% of the time. I was in the routine of work, being a nursing mom to twin boys, and feeling exhausted from the lack of sleep and chaos of life. As it so happens, I was giving a shareholder a tour of the trading desk, who repeated to me a line I had often heard, “your life is not a dress rehearsal, so make sure you are living it the way you want to. When you are my age and you look back, you will treasure most the legacy you left and impact you have had on your children.” The next day, my ten month old son, Ben, looked up at me with his big brown eyes and gave me a look that said, “Mom, why are you leaving me?” And for me, that was it! I re-evaluated what I wanted and decided I really wanted more time with my kids. But, if possible, I also wanted to continue working and really didn’t want to give up doing something I loved. I am grateful Vanguard and my leader supported me to work three days a week on the trading desk when my kids were little.
As my kids have grown I have been able to lead my daughter’s Girl Scout troop and coach team sports. Since moving to Arizona I’ve continued my involvement in my community by volunteering at a local food bank, becoming a board member of the National Association of Women MBAs, and most recently joining the advisory board of my alma mater, the Le Moyne College Madden School of Business. As to what the future holds, if I can help my three teenagers find their passion and continue to inspire the next generation, what else can I ask for? I am leading the life I want!
Office of the General Counsel, Bring Your Daughter to Work Day 2018
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Vanguard Women Break Down Investment Acumen Myths And Perceptions
In this blog, we recap an event hosted by Vanguard’s crew resource group Women’s Initiative for Leadership Success (WILS) where they had a panel discussion with three female senior leaders in Investment Management to help breakdown investment acumen myths and misconceptions.
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My mom loves to tell anyone who will listen, that from the moment I could crawl, I was running toward something. I was a head strong child, full of energy, always ready to tackle a new adventure. What I couldn’t have known then was that this enthusiastic approach to life would prepare me for what was to come.
While working for a large bank, ready to take on a new phase of my career, a friend of mine encouraged me to check out this place called Vanguard. Boy, am I glad she did! You see, my interview was scheduled when my daughter was just six weeks old. I was told I’d need to come in to the Scottsdale office, and should prepare to spend 4-5 hours on site. Like most moms away from her child for the first time, I sobbed in the car. Doing my best “superman pose” to build confidence, I wiped my running mascara and walked into the building.
I broke all of the rules in that interview. I talked about my daughter. I was candid about why I was pursuing a new career with a new company. There was no posturing or positioning. They got to see the real me. Knowing this was not a “best practice” approach, I was very confident walking out that there was no way they’d hire me. Two days later, I was offered the job! I was thrilled, and singularly focused on launching a career at a company I believed in, never considering what was about to happen next.
Dylan was just a baby when I began my career at Vanguard. She became the light of my life, and taught me what unconditional love can be. She is quite possibly the most charismatic (and strong willed) person I’ve ever met. She is filled with a love for life and adventure. She is also quick to tell you when she wants something, especially when you aren’t delivering. She has an incredible desire to be heard, and always has a story to tell. But as she missed milestone after milestone, I learned what it meant to be a mama bear and a fierce advocate. We were at the end of our rope searching for answers. Dylan had been suffering from seizures, aggressive behaviors, and was severely behind developmentally. After years of searching, we finally found a doctor who agreed that there was a problem and the new chapter in our lives began. We had finally gotten our answer – Neurodegeneration with Brain Iron Accumulation – or NBIA, a life threatening degenerative disease with no treatment or cure.
My priorities shifted again as I balanced what had become a highly demanding career with my role as a mother, an advocate, and a partner to my husband. As the feeling of hopelessness began, I had to push it aside. I became the Chair of the NBIA Disorders Association, where I combined the talents and skills I’d learned as a Vanguard professional along with my uncontrollable desire to help my daughter, and put them to work so that I could make a difference for Dylan and all those affected by an NBIA disorder. I was so focused on my daughter and maintaining my professional momentum that I was distracted from what was going on with my own health. Something was very, very wrong.
Change is rarely easy, but I knew now was the time to take the leap into a formal leadership role and also prioritize taking care of my health. While it was a very difficult decision to step away from the Relationship Manager role I loved, I knew the demanding travel schedule was putting a strain on my family and on my body. I’d been supported in such incredible ways during my journey, and knew my path would one day lead me into leadership. I applied for, and was offered, the role of leading a team of high-net-worth Sales Consultants in our Retail division.
As I prepared to transition into my new role, I took some time off for the holidays. Each year we visit my dad where he lives on a mountain and enjoy a beautiful white Christmas. I had suffered from increasingly challenging elevation sickness (or so I thought), which had become progressively worse each year. This time it was so bad, I could not stop from passing out over and over again. Worried, my husband packed us up and got us off the mountain and I immediately began to feel normal (or as normal as I can be). Although feeling better, a persistent cough kept me from sleeping. I went to an urgent care doctor, who thankfully paused to ask questions, learned about my extensive travel habits, and ordered an x-ray. Although he thought it was likely pneumonia, he directed me to the ER to rule out a pulmonary embolism.
Five days later, I went home with a diagnosis that scared the hell out of me (what are the odds that both Dylan and I have rare diseases?) – lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), an extremely rare lung disease that affects approximately 3,000 women around the world. This disease causes my lungs to be riddled with “innumerable” cysts which obstruct my airways and make it impossible to breathe normally. I was told I would need supplemental oxygen 24/7. I was told I wouldn’t be able to travel by plane. I was told that a double lung transplant was inevitable, and soon. I was overwhelmed.
My world had just shifted. What was I going to do? I’d just accepted this new job. Would they even want me now? Terrified, I called my new leader to share the news. I braced myself for his reaction and disappointment. It didn’t come. What I thought would be an awkward discussion, wasn’t. He quickly subsided my worries. He barely knew me, yet reassured me that he hired me for a reason, and that reason hadn’t changed. He showed me that he genuinely cared about my wellbeing, both in his words and his actions, even after I had to tell him that coming back to work wouldn’t be easy. I’d now be on oxygen 24/7, would be taking drugs that would make my immune system obsolete, I’d have countless hours of tests and appointments, and I might need a transplant that could take me out of work for months or more. My new leader didn’t flinch. He said “Ok. We’ll get through this together. Focus on you. I’ll focus on getting you back to work,” and he did. That day my new leader embodied what it means to be a leader at my company, Vanguard. This approach to leadership isn’t formed by rules, policy, or procedure. It is formed by culture–a culture of authentic caring for others, demonstrated with both words and actions.
Then the reality set in for me. I was going back to work, in a new department, and I’d be wearing oxygen…on my face. Nowhere to hide. I was terrified! How many times was I going to have to tell the story? I’d barely begun getting comfortable with the idea myself, let alone trying to comfort those around me. I’d begun experiencing the stares when my family was out. Would these new colleagues stare or judge me, thinking I had done this to myself somehow? Would they think I was contagious and avoid me?
Just as I began to question if I’d made a terrible mistake, I received a call from my local senior leader. She let me know she had planned a New Year’s celebration in her home for the leaders in our group and asked if I would join. My first reaction? Not a chance. I told her I was afraid of people’s reactions. Instead of minimizing my concerns, she empathized. Caring as always, she asked how she could make it comfortable for me. So I went, and guess what? Everyone was wonderful. This party was exactly what I needed. These people got to see my new reality for the first time in a social, and very safe, setting. The result? When I returned to work, it was old news. They’d already asked their questions, and I was quickly getting comfortable in sharing my story. We had moved on and the tube on my face was old news. Amazing. What I learned here was twofold: how important the role as a leader can be for people, and that when you have the courage to open up about what you need, people willingly and enthusiastically offer their help.
It’s been over a year since my diagnosis. I’ve begun to truly accept my new reality and have found my rhythm. I still require oxygen 24/7, and am working to find solutions that keep my oxygen levels high enough to continue doing the activities I had once taken for granted. While I could spend hours fixating on the countless activities I can no longer do, or worrying about what I may become exposed to that will put me in the hospital, I re-center myself and focus on being present in the moment and find joy in the things I CAN do. The joy of being a mom, the joy of being a wife, and the joy of working for a company and leading a team that I love.
Dylan is still my sweet, charismatic little girl, trying desperately to be understood and fight her own disease. I am still the mama bear fiercely advocating for her every need, and learning to advocate for my own. I’m in a role and part of a business that is thriving. I have a stellar medical team, and am afforded the opportunity to speak at conferences with my doctor, raising awareness for all rare disease patients. Transplant isn’t something we expect next week or next month, or next year. My circle of friends, while much smaller, is stronger than ever. I’m home every night to cuddle with my daughter before bed. For now, I am grateful for every moment and I’m grateful for all of the people who have been there and offered support, encouragement, and sometimes a swift kick in the behind. When the tough days happen, and they do happen, I repeat my mantra, “Keep on keepin’ on.” I put a brave face on for the world.
My advice to others facing their own battle? Be candid about what you need. Work for a company that values you and where you can be part of a community that will support you along your own journey. Remember that you have the power to find joy in even the worst situations. Finally, take a breath, put one foot in front of the other, and “Keep on keepin’ on.”
After reflecting on this question, a few things come to mind:
From day one, I was fully aware that I had a very basic understanding of the financial industry. I was hired alongside people with advanced degrees and years of experience. But I needn’t have worried – Vanguard offers a thorough training program, allowing me and my peers to work on our financial acumen skillsets, and eventually talk confidently to clients about their portfolios. If Vanguard can take someone like me and make them financially literate, I know they can do the same for you.
Although I only had one formal mentor growing up, I’ve had many great examples in my life who have inspired me to become who I am today. Since starting at Vanguard, I’m continually impressed with the responses I get from my fellow crew, some of whom are much higher up the chain of command than I, yet still take the time to answer my questions and counsel me on my career development. My own leader meets with me regularly to discuss my career aspirations and is the type of leader I want to become one day. It feels great to work at a place that has so much support, opportunity, and interest in my professional future.
Nearly one year later
Now as I write this, sitting at my desk here in Vanguard’s Scottsdale office, I am so thankful that I was determined in my endeavor to get hired by Vanguard. Because of the work and effort I put in, I have a job that provides for me and my family, I am an employee of an institution I trust, and I have a stellar team of peers who support me and drive Vanguard’s values forward.
So, yes. It was worth it.
If you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, check out career opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.
Why I didn’t give up on my dream of working at Vanguard
“Thank you for coming in to interview with Vanguard, unfortunately…”
I didn’t get the job.
I felt like my world was over.
This was me in 2016: I was approaching my last semester of college and had no job lined up. I had also just found out my wife was pregnant. Needless to say, it was a very challenging and frightening time. And even though being declined for a job feels lousy, I knew immediately I would apply again.
You’re probably thinking, why reapply at a company that rejected you? Truthfully, I’ve always been fascinated with Vanguard! I come from a single-parent home with a tough military-widowed mother. My mother did an exceptional job raising three kids, however, I never had a good understanding of how investing works. In college, I would observe personal finance classes and try to glean as much info as I could. The more I researched, the more intrigued I became with the process of choosing investments wisely and setting appropriate goals. I also came to understand how much people trusted in Vanguard and came to really believe in its mission to stand up for ALL investors. I knew that if I had to start my finance career anywhere, I needed to start it at Vanguard.
So I applied again, and again I was called in to interview. This time, I focused on a set of principles to help demonstrate the interests and abilities I felt made me a good fit for the company:
You have to show your passion in both words and actions. During the interview, I discussed starting my own consulting practice to gain more experience in the consulting space. I shared what I learned from taking on such a big endeavor and how it related to the role I desired.
After you’ve shown that you can confidently take initiative, can you endure? While at school I was passionate about business and social impact and found an organization that combined both. By an interesting turn of events, I became the president of the organization. Although I was new, I didn’t let my naïveté slow me down and was able to lead the group through several projects. I shared in my interview how these experiences trained me to face demanding situations successfully.
I’m a firm believer that hard work over an extended period of time can yield great results. When I was first turned down by Vanguard, I made sure to keep my skills fresh and gain knowledge: I enrolled in a career prep class to enhance my interviewing skills. I studied everything I could about Vanguard: their products and services, their marketing style, and their culture. I even brought a portfolio of my past projects and an academic manuscript to show that I could dedicate myself to Vanguard and its mission.
A couple weeks after the next round of interviews, I got THE call again:
I was being offered a position in the company! It was a lot of effort and a long wait, but achieving the goal I had worked so hard for is indescribable.
So, was my journey worth it? Has it been everything I hoped it would be? Stay tuned for part two where I’ll share what it’s like to work at Vanguard – and how I feel now that I’m hired.
Nestled in a stunning desert landscape, Vanguard’s Arizona campus, also known as Vanguard Scottsdale, is a blend of beauty, warmth, and culture. In the below crew stories, you’ll discover how our AZ campus is different, but still feels like Vanguard.
What is your favorite part about working at the Scottsdale campus?
“My favorite part about working at the Scottsdale campus is the park across the street. There is a beautiful walking path filled with desert plants and wildlife.”
“I have come to appreciate the courtyard outside of the galley (our cafeteria), especially this time of year. I really enjoy the scenery, along with the general landscaping that provides a peaceful environment to unwind. My experience in Arizona has been pretty stellar thus far.”
“The best part about working in the Arizona office is the comradery that is felt within the Arizona Human Resources community. There are many crew members in HR that I don’t work with yet I still feel very connected to.”
“As an Arizona transplant, I could not have made a better move than to Tempe two years ago. It’s an amazing sight, sitting at your desk and watching the monsoons roll through the valley or a lightning storm during the summer months. The Scottsdale office is located blocks away from the beautiful Pinnacle Peak Mountains, a handful of golf clubs, not to mention great restaurants to make after-work and weekend activities easy and accessible. “
What campus amenities do you enjoy utilizing?
“Shipshape is such a fun way to get in a great workout (I like the group classes!) while meeting crew I don’t get to work with in my ‘day-job’. It’s hard not to keep my New Year’s resolution with the great group class schedule – Body pump, Bars & Bells and Cycling are my favorites!”
What are some of the similarities and differences between working in Malvern vs Scottsdale? (Culture, climate, etc.)
“The culture is unique. It had a small start-up feel when I first moved here from Pennsylvania four years ago that has grown and matured into this free flowing friendly collaborative culture. Both sites offer an approachable welcoming environment but PA can be overwhelming at times (especially if you are new) where Arizona is smaller and easier to acclimate to.”
“Vanguard really is Vanguard whether you work in PA or AZ and that is a true testament to the character of our company and crew. I fondly refer to PA as “the mother ship”. For the most part everything is just much bigger in PA but there’s a close knit feel in AZ.”
What do you love to do outside of work that only Arizona offers? (Hiking, spring training, etc.)
“Outside of work, I’m a huge baseball fan, particularly college baseball and MLB spring training. The weather is great and you have the opportunity to get to watch the stars of today and tomorrow in a very fan friendly, warm environment.”
“Exercising and eating healthy are my passions outside of work. Arizona is filled with amazing hiking trails and great restaurants. Gateway Loop is about 10 minutes away from work and is beautiful. Two of my favorite restaurants are Green Restaurant and Barrio Queen.”
“I love visiting the beautiful city of Sedona. I’m also very fond of walking around without a coat in December. What a dream come true for this Alaskan girl!”
One of the best parts of working at Vanguard is our fervent passion to give back to the communities where we live and work. But for one very special event, it was a community across the globe that needed our support – the children of the Philippines. Recently, crew members from Human Resources and the Vanguard Black Professional Network (VBPN) partnered together for a volunteer event for Feed My Starving Children, a non-profit that provides malnourished children with nutritionally complete meals.
Giving back and having fun
Over 41 crew members arrived to pack boxes of MannaPack Rice – a product that provides a single nutritious meal for children all over the world. In the spirit of friendly competition, the entire group moved as fast as possible to pack the food. Laughter and joy filled the room as crew shouted out the next cheer “table 7, box 10!”– both to alert volunteer movers where to pick up the next box and so the entire room would know who was taking the lead in packing the meals. Cups of rice, veggies, and soy whizzed down the assembly lines, bags of rice piled high at the end of the tables, and the packers scrambled to keep up with how fast everything moved.
Anthony D. recalls, “The camaraderie and free spirited fun were on full display as crew raced against one another to hold the title (bragging rights) of most meals made.”
As crew worked, you could feel the Vanguard culture in the room – it truly extends past the buildings we work in. The positive atmosphere was contagious, whether it was the vocal encouragement from the team, the networking with crew we don’t get to see often, or the funny chants we yelled to energize each other. Another crew member shared, “This was a nice change of pace, as most events are a little more formal in setting. It was great to be more hands on.”
The final tally
In just a little over an hour, 240 boxes were packed. This means that 51,840 meals were prepared and packed that will feed 142 children for a single year. Vanguard’s volunteers pushed out $11,404.80 of meals for children in need.
Best of all, we’re contributing to the efforts to feed those in poverty-stricken areas and helping these communities heal and rebuild. There’s something about stepping outside your own neighborhood to focus on the needs of others that inspires you to help again and again.
It’s not just about rice
At the end of the day, we had the opportunity to learn about the recipients of our volunteer efforts. We saw a picture of Anna, who at one year old weighed just nine pounds, and had sunken eyes, a distended belly, and swollen cheeks. After seven months on a nutritional program of MannaPack rice, she had gained 36 pounds. The updated photo of this little girl, now healthy and vibrant, is something we will never forget.
As my family was traveling across the country from Michigan to our new home in Arizona, I couldn’t help but think what a big change we were undertaking. My wife, Christina, and our dog, Daisy, were relocating to Arizona in a move that could only be characterized as bold. All of our earthly possessions were crammed into a moving truck and we knew exactly two people in Arizona – a former client and a fellow Rotary Club member. We had both recently turned 40 and were starting to feel some wanderlust. I had been working in investments since my early 20’s and over the last couple of years I had developed a desire to do something different with my life and, not to sound cheesy, but to make a bigger difference.
Enter Vanguard into the picture. I became aware of the exciting things brewing in Vanguard’s Personal Advisor Services by reading various financial periodicals and blogs. Having been a big fan personally and professionally of Vanguard and their approach, I was entranced with the possibility of being part of the new revolution Vanguard was starting in the advisory world.
The decision to leave my prior employer and the community where I grew up was a very hard one. I had been in that position for 10 years, was well established in the community, and had a great roster of clients — so there were a lot of factors to weigh. My wife was enthusiastic and her response to my suggestion of moving was, “Sure, let’s do it!” After joining, I would often talk about what a great place Vanguard is to work, so she decided to apply for a position in our operations department. She has really thrived at Vanguard and values our unique client-focused culture.
Looking back over the last 3 ½ years I can confidently say that this was one of the best decisions I could have ever made. The response and sheer growth of Personal Advisor Services has been mind-blowing and a great opportunity for me to truly make a difference in my clients’ lives. In my role as a Senior Financial Advisor, I work with clients every day and can see firsthand the impact that both Vanguard and I are making in their lives.
I tell clients my story and end with “I moved 2,000 miles across the country to work for Vanguard.” That’s how much I believe in what we do.
If you enjoyed this post, check out more from our #LifeatVanguard Blog. And if you’re ready for a more rewarding, engaging, meaningful career in advice, check out our opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.
From heat waves to blizzards, Vanguard crew are ready
We’ve seen a lot of surprising things happen at Vanguard, and although we can’t predict every event, we can prepare for those out of our control. From hurricanes and earthquakes, to tornado watches and eclipses (and we can’t forget those blizzards!), Vanguard has plans in place to ensure clients feel supported and our crew are safe.
One event at Vanguard was the solar eclipse. While the Arizona campus only saw 66% coverage of the sun, Malvern saw 75% and Charlotte saw the most coverage at around 90%. It was a chance for teams and departments to bond during break time to watch the event. Crew members shared their eclipse glasses with one-another so everyone could watch the sun – but not without protection. Our intranet posted helpful tips and cautions of eclipse safety.
While the eclipse on August 21st, 2017 was more entertaining than intimidating, harsher acts of nature have hit our campuses as well. When Hurricane Sandy barreled up the east coast, we knew it was coming, but didn’t know the extent. The Malvern campus was paralyzed and forced to close along with the rest of Vanguard when the Market closed. A rare occasion. Vanguard showed its care of crew members by staging places to sleep with cots and a clean place to shower for those with no electricity. In true Vanguard fashion, crew members also thought of others, donating to displaced New Jersey families.
On another occasion, the Northeast was hit with a blizzard. Luckily it was over the weekend, but not everyone could make it onto the Malvern campus as 597 shovelers worked for 6,216 hours to clear out the snow.Charlotte and Scottsdale came to the rescue with extra coverage to make the event as seamless as possible to our clients. They took phone calls, processed requests, and addressed web needs. During snow storms, our parking lots and roadways are treated immediately. Crew are encouraged to work from home if possible and use their best judgement when deciding if they can get into the office safely.
Unexpected events aren’t limited to Malvern. Last year, a heat wave hit Arizona, grounding flights at the airport during the hottest part of the day. This affected business travel for crew in Scottsdale. Crew members arranged accordingly and had backup if needed.
Clients come first at Vanguard, and our crew members are here to support them. Safety is a priority, and crew members across the country are there to step up when needed. We’ve found that we may not be able to predict every weather event but we’re constantly analyzing and developing plans for weather and other disruptions to our normal business operations.