Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.”
The history of remembrances for fallen soldiers dates back to the post-Civil War era. Americans began to hold springtime tributes to fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers.
Throughout the years, these remembrances began to take on new meaning, and new traditions came about.
In 1920, the National American Legion adopted red poppies as their official symbol of remembrance.
In 1968, Congress moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in May to create a three-day weekend.
In 2000, Congress declared that a National Moment of Remembrance take place every Memorial Day at 3:00 p.m.
This year, Memorial Day will take on an even deeper meaning. Because of restrictions mandated by the COVID-19 pandemic, public graveside gatherings and parades are canceled. Flags now fly half-staff every day to remember those who have died of COVID-19. Poppies are now virtual instead of given in person.
But the opportunity to mark Memorial Day is as important as ever. We encourage you to find ways to connect with friends, family, current military members, and veterans. Reflect on the sacrifice made by fallen warriors and their families. Discover new ways to encourage those who are serving and have served.
Vanguard’s VetsConnect members recently shared their thoughts on the importance of Memorial Day, those they are remembering, and the importance of all who serve in these challenging times today.
“I think about how important it is to celebrate all those who’ve served in the military, those currently serving, and military families who serve, too. It reminds me that we should be taking a little time each day to say thank you to all of those in uniform. I would also like to honor those serving during these challenging times: The health care workers, the first responders, the postal service, the grocery store workers, and all those who work in jobs that support the food supply.” –Andrew B.
“My Dad and I put flags on all our family gravesites the weekend before Memorial Day—our own small tradition of remembrance. This year Memorial Day has new meaning, including all of the front-line workers who are taking risks every day.” –Shari G.
Vanguard celebrates MLK and Black History Month through service
In the U.S., crew members celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life, legacy, and commitment to volunteerism by participating in community projects and activities throughout the winter. As Black History Month comes to an end, we have asked crew in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Arizona to reflect and share their personal experiences attending Martin Luther King, Jr. Days of Service events. Here’s what they had to say:
For as long as I can remember, receiving quality education has been a priority in my household. I spent countless hours at my parents’ dining room table working on homework. Even now, my mom regularly tries to convince my 4-year-old son to work on spelling games at the same table. I feel very fortunate to have gotten the opportunity to work with the West Philadelphia Action for Early Learning (AFEL) to help instill this imperative into the children of that community. The organization has two main goals: kindergarten readiness and reading on grade level by the third grade. My colleagues and I were able to support these goals by preparing resource bags for use in classrooms and reading to some of the children from local schools. Beyond the crew that were able to attend, crew from across Vanguard donated over 250 books to help children build their home libraries.
The specific group that supported AFEL is the Vanguard Black Professional Network (VBPN), which is committed to increasing engagement of black crew members and supporting the increased representation of black crew in leadership positions. Having the opportunity to serve with aligned crew in a community that may produce the future of Vanguard leadership was truly a humbling experience.
— Josh C.
VBPN sponsored two MLK Days of Service events in North Carolina at Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina and Classroom Central. Second Harvest is responsible for supplying food throughout a 19-county region of North and South Carolina through a network of over 700 emergency pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and programs for low-income children and seniors. Crew members took time out of their Saturday to help inspect and sort donated food items for distribution to those partner agencies. Classroom Central equips students in need by collecting and distributing free school supplies to their teachers. Eleven Vanguard crew members assisted the organization by die cutting shapes and organizing the overflow of school supplies in the warehouse.
— Ebony B. and Sabrina B.
As a North Caroline VBPN site lead, giving back is extremely important to me. It’s such a rewarding and humbling experience. I’ve been with Vanguard for 21 years and our commitment to our community has never wavered. It is an amazing differentiator, and providing Days of Service so crew can work together to help others is so empowering. As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Black History Month, this resonates with me even more. His commitment to service and helping others was powerful and a major driver in the movement. To be able to not only serve, but honor him and his sacrifice, is humbling. To me, this is what our purpose is about; loving and helping others, and extending your hand to pull others up. That is what service is really about.
— Kenya H.
I am a helper by nature and have enjoyed volunteering for many organizations and causes since childhood. I recently had the opportunity to coordinate an MLK Days of Service volunteer event on behalf of VBPN at Feed My Starving Children (FMSC). FMSC is a non-profit organization that assists in providing rice, soy, dried vegetables, and vitamins and minerals to needy children locally and internationally. Through donations and the efforts of volunteers, FMSC is able to ensure the food is packaged and expedited to hungry kids. On the day of our volunteer event, I was immediately impressed with the FMSC staff. We were warmly greeted and provided with instructions to prepare us for the day.
I appreciated that the FMSC staff emphasized a hygienic environment to ensure the children were not exposed to germs, and we watched a video that included detailed instructions for each food prep station. The staff kept the event light by teaching us fun chants to say when each prep station was able to completely fill a box with food packages. The staff shared with the volunteers that it costs $88.00 to feed one needy child, ALL year! As a parent of two teenagers, that resonated with me. On average, it costs my family more than $88.00 per week in meals. During our volunteer session, we were able to fill 192 boxes with food packages, which will feed 113 children in Thailand and provide 41,472 meals!
When I volunteer, I feel that I benefit from the experience in so many ways. I get to share in the experience with fellow crew and members in our community that also volunteer their time. Volunteering helps me appreciate how fortunate we are and reminds me that by simply providing our time, we are making an impact. A thank you note I once received after donating my time included an impactful quote that sums up my volunteer journey:
“Help one another. There’s no time like the present
and no present like your time.” —James Durst
A brand new year is here and we asked Vanguard crew across the organization how they plan to make it count. Read as they share their 2020 aspirations:
Live in the moment
Carrie H.—My goal is to take less notes in meetings. I will aim to be more present, make better eye contact, and only jot down action items to ensure I never drop a ball. This idea came from some recent presentations by Mel Robbins, who encourages women to have a confident and present presence at any table at which we sit.
Kristin T.—My professional and personal resolution is to take more breaks, including breaks from screens. I am most thoughtful, creative, and innovative when I can clear my mind, get outside, and step away from my normal routine. Easier said than done when you work in social media (which is always on), but I hope to make it a priority in 2020.
Expand impact in local communities
Linda T.—I am a member of the Community Outreach Team for Vanguard’s Information Technology Women’s Initiative for Leadership Success (IT WILS), which has organized or sponsored 50 STEM events in the last five years that impacted over 10,000 students ranging from kindergarten to college. Our efforts include supporting, sponsoring and/or hosting Hour of Code in elementary schools, Girls Exploring Tomorrow’s Technology (GETT) for 1,000 middle and high school girls, Techies Day for high school students, as well as college hackathons.
In 2020, I will be representing the IT WILS Community Outreach Team by mentoring the Women in Computer Science club at a local college. Through this experience, I will work with the students to co-host a coding workshop with non-profit organization, TechGirlz. Additionally, I recently volunteered to support the Women in Tech Summit conference in Philadelphia for college and female IT professionals. We need to build the pipeline of future crew by encouraging them to pursue careers in technology. The children are our future!
Strengthen working relationships
Tara T.—My resolution is to go back to doing something I used to prioritize. I plan to set up regular check-ins with business partners to learn more about what their goals are for the year. We often meet only to move a project forward, but by sitting down to learn more about their passions, career goals, and personal lives, we establish meaningful working relationships. These relationships always tend to have the best business results for me, and more importantly, give me the opportunity to get to know my coworkers better.
Laura B.—This year I am going to make an effort to learn more about the individual skills of others on my team. Even if I do not become a technical expert in what they do, I will better understand how much time and effort is involved in their daily work, and I will be able to assist when needed.
Vanguard believes that being a global leader also means being a local leader. Through volunteer Investment Committees, The Vanguard Group Foundation is making grants in the regions around the world that we call home. The Vanguard Gives Back Hometown Grants Program is charged with funding pressing, local human services needs and working with nonprofit partners that contribute to the vibrancy of the community. The program is fueled by crew volunteers who commit two years of service dedicated to learning about the nonprofit sector, philanthropy, and the local community landscape.
In this blog, we asked three Vanguard leaders to write about their experiences in serving as site leads for the Hometown Grants Program. The combined efforts of these leaders and their teams have placed $2.3 million into local organizations over their two-year commitment. Here is what Amanda M. from Arizona, Ed F. from North Carolina, and Steve H. from Pennsylvania, had to say:
Vanguard has long had a culture around community that you are no stranger to, what drew you into this particular opportunity with Hometown Grants?
Ed: Hometown Grants enabled me to take my passion for impacting our local community to a much deeper, grass-roots level. Having previously been involved in Vanguard Gives Back initiatives in Charlotte, including leading our workplace giving campaign and our volunteer efforts, Hometown Grants provided an opportunity to start-up a hyper-local focused program from scratch, which is pretty cool. While we were provided with some loose guardrails and guidelines, we were also given a significant amount of autonomy to figure out the best strategy that would have meaningful impact in the Charlotte community.
Steve: In 2012, I had the honor of serving as the lead for the crew fall charitable giving campaign. Not only did that experience tap into my longstanding passion for service, it opened my eyes to the incredible impact Vanguard can have in the community. I was very excited about the Hometown Grants program because it was yet another way to harness the energy and passion of Vanguard crew to make a meaningful difference in our communities, but I was also intrigued by the entrepreneurial nature of this new venture.
What skills have you developed through your participation in this initiative and how have you applied these skills both inside and outside of the office?
Amanda: Debating which organization to fund can be a sensitive and emotional topic. My peers and I all have preferences on which charitable cause is the most important and those often differ from the priorities of others. Plus, when you find so many organizations doing great work, it can be hard to reduce the list to a manageable few. Learning how to listen with empathy and understanding was critical to ensure each team member was heard and team health remained strong. Outside of work, it has given me a platform to talk to my kids about philanthropy. Now, when we debrief our day at the dinner table, I am talking to them about organizations I went to visit or work that is being done in the community. It’s been rewarding to talk to them about the importance of giving back and about some of the neat initiatives that are happening in our neighborhood.
Ed: Most importantly, I gained a deeper understanding of the Charlotte community and the critical issues our city is facing. Upward mobility remains a challenge even as Charlotte continues to have one of the highest rates of highly educated new residents moving to our city. I have met and learned from some very influential non-profit partners who provide critical services in our community often with few resources or limited budgets. I am looking forward to continuing my work post-Hometown Grants, whether it be through volunteerism or board involvement. Hometown Grants also enabled me to hone my leadership and finance skills as we have conducted research, reviewed non-profit financials and tax-filings, and conducted on-site visits to select the non-profit agencies we partner with.
What has been the biggest takeaway in serving as a site lead for the program?
Amanda: There is always a need for more work to be done in the community than there are hours in the day to support or dollars to fund. It is not hard to find an important cause that will improve our community. The hard part is prioritizing which organizations to focus on. It took a lot of time to research, really get to know these teams and the impact they are trying to make. Then ultimately determining where we could have the biggest impact. And there is no “right” answer. It is only part science, the rest is art.
Steve: In the past two years, the work of the Hometown Grants team exposed us to countless organizations that are making an incredible difference in communities. There are so many worthy, effective, innovative charitable organizations out there doing great work, we could have funded many more groups than we were able to. But I believe our team did a tremendous job of honing in on the key organizations that both had amazing impact and could best benefit from the dollars we had. The most rewarding parts of the job were when we heard the profound gratitude from these groups for our contributions, and the excitement they expressed about how they were going to put the money to work. You feel the very tangible benefit of all the hard work the committee put in.
More careers blogs about Vanguard in the community
As the end of the year approaches, crew members around the world join together to help brighten the lives of children, seniors, and families in need. We call this effort Vanguard’s Giving Season. Since 1995, crew members have provided more than a quarter of a million gifts to thousands of deserving individuals.
Vanguard partners with different local agencies and organizations to administer the program, allowing the initiative to take on unique dimensions at each of our sites. For instance, crew members may create gift boxes, or purchase toys, books, clothing, and treats (at some sites, crew sponsors receive gift suggestions for the child or senior assigned to them).
Picture this: a handful of crew in client services looking to make a difference. A comment like, “Hey guys, I think we print too much paper for these meetings” started discussions about the environment and how we as crew have an opportunity to make a positive impact. As a team, we shared how we personally “go green” and how we could translate that into building and community-wide goals. Calling ourselves the Green Team, we started small, but enacted a lot of positive change.
Getting crew on board
First, we started with awareness. We wanted to inform crew of basic things, for example: recycling codes—what each mean and where to put each item, how to upcycle items, other quick tips, and even how much paper was being printed in a typical day.
Crew became more interested in the green initiative as they became aware. Eventually we had enough volunteers to have Green Teams in each building. We partnered with Facilities to find out trends and statistics. As a team, we were looking to see if there was an opportunity to do better in each building and eventually throughout the company.
Our growth remained steady so we started to take more action. Green Teams made internal webpages to list our goals and mission, we held monthly meetings, had guest speakers, made e-brochures listing local farmers markets and transportation options, made videos, and posted tips around the office to conserve energy and paper.
We started to realize how important this initiative was—and we felt like we had a responsibility to be environmentally sustainable. Big changes were being made in our galleys (cafeterias) and all around campus. Crew loved our monthly “Green newsletters,” which included tons of information, ranging from ride share programs, paper printer totals, community recycle events, herb gardening for beginners and even an avocado face mask for dry skin!
Fast forward to today and the Green Teams’ efforts have evolved into the crew-driven Sustainability Ambassador program. We were able to take environmentally sound practices that we have learned personally, and implement them with support from our corporate-wide Environmental Sustainability team. Our impacts have become even bigger and stronger around the company. We’ve changed and influenced a lot through the years, including: single-stream recycling, a company garden, car charging stations, Earth day events, and a very engaged Sustainability Ambassador program.
It’s crazy to think back on how far this program has come and all the positive operational changes it has made through the years. I’m very thankful Vanguard listens to crew suggestions and continues to make positive changes for our Clients, our Crew, and our Community.
What is a VTO day?
In this blog, learn how Vanguard crew member Jessica spends her volunteer time off day and how her coworkers have supported her service efforts.
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.
How to prepare for a Vanguard interview
Whether it’s a phone screen, or an in-person interview on one of our campuses, this blog will give you a behind-the-scenes look at questions to prepare for, how to stand out, and general best practices for our entry level interviews.
Recently, I took the time to sit back and reflect on my experiences in the workforce as a whole and realized I’ve been pretty fortunate. I have worked in various fields – while not necessarily ideal since I’ve always wanted to work in finance, I still never worked in a role or for a company I didn’t enjoy. However, last year while working in the telecommunications field and with six years of military experience under my belt, I decided that I would finally do all I could to get into the financial industry. I joined Vanguard in September of 2017, and not only has it been a refreshing change of scenery in a new field, it’s been everything I’ve hoped for and more.
An excellent support system
As a Client Relationship Associate, there were a few daunting things I had to face to jump start my career – taking the Series 7 and Series 63 exams, and refreshing my finance knowledge from my accounting studies in college. I was fully prepared to go home each day and study like my career depended on it – because frankly, it did. This is when I first noticed the depth of Vanguard’s support. My fellow new hires and I were provided study materials free of cost and given a plethora of time to be able to study, ask questions, take classes, review scenarios, and everything else we needed. I passed both exams on the first try – despite not having a finance degree!
Now, as I approach a year as a successful Client Relationship Associate at one of the largest firms in the world, I’ve started to pursue growth opportunities both professionally and personally—some of which include helping our local communities. I’ve had the opportunity to participate in the holiday giving season through Vanguard, and we’re also provided a volunteer time off day in which we get to help our communities while being paid! Professionally, I’ve been able to meet with fellow crew members in different departments and see a day in their lives, pick their brains about what’s needed to succeed in their role, and view them in action. My team leader Jake has been essential in not only lending his network to get me in contact with different departments, but also in getting me the free time to explore other roles at Vanguard. These sessions have been very important and have helped me identify next steps and roles I’d like to pursue at Vanguard.
With the free time to observe other departments combined with seeing how my team leader has helped me on my journey, I’ve figured out that I want to pursue either a financial advisor or leadership role. I’ve enjoyed seeing the way our leaders develop crew members through coaching and mentoring, and watching how our advisors add value to our clients’ lives by helping them accomplish their goals. It is my hope to continue to build even deeper and more meaningful relationships with my colleagues and our clients, as well as to further develop my skills in my career. Whether it be in leadership or as an advisor, I will continue to be a steward of Vanguard’s mission to take a stand for all investors, to treat them fairly, and to give them the best chance for investment success, all while fostering this same passion with the crew and clients I work with.
With Vanguard’s flexibility and support, I have full faith that I’ll be able to succeed and in a timely manner. As my journey continues, I’m excited to know I have Vanguard’s support and would encourage others to be unafraid of using all of the wonderful resources available to you. I know that I will be able to attain the career I want at Vanguard.
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.
After only a few years of working, I found myself sitting in bumper to bumper traffic one morning, miserable and on the verge of tears. I was tired of spending two to three hours a day in my car. If there was an accident or bad weather, it would destroy my evening and I would get home at night frustrated and exhausted.
Everything changed when I was encouraged to take advantage of Vanguard’s great commuter benefits.
Jumping on the train
Taking the train to work from my home in Philadelphia was a life changing experience. I ordered a train pass online easily and it was shipped right to my house. I love my walk to the train station, breathing the fresh air and getting a little bit of exercise in the morning.
The second I step off the train at the Paoli station near our headquarters in Malvern, PA, Vanguard’s free shuttles are waiting to take me to the office.
Being more productive
Beyond the convenience, I find the time that I spend every morning and evening on the train to be invaluable. If I have a work assignment that I need to finish, I just bring my laptop along with me and work on the train. I’ve read numerous books, listened to podcasts and even had time to plan my upcoming wedding.
Saving the planet
As if the benefits to my personal life weren’t enough, there are also benefits to the planet. Light rail systems produce 62% less greenhouse gas emissions per passenger mile than an average single-occupancy vehicle (SOV), according to the Federal Transit Administration. Beyond the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, driving less minimizes the pollutants that cause smog, uses less natural resources, and minimizes congestion on our nation’s busiest roadways.
Having the opportunity to take the train to work every day has made me a more productive and all around happier person. As I sit on the train each day, I love to think about the positive impacts that I and my fellow Vanguard train commuters are having on the planet.
Like everyone before me, my story with working for Vanguard starts with an interview. What makes my story a bit different, is that I didn’t get the job… or even a callback for the next two jobs I applied for. But six years after that first interview, and a lot of great experience at companies completely removed from the investment world, I was ready to give it a go once again. This time, I finally got the job as one of Vanguard’s Sales Consultants!
My experience in sales
In the past, I’ve done sales at companies ranging from an internet startup to an ocean freight shipping company. No matter what job I had though, one thing remained consistent: I loved talking to everyone I could about saving for retirement because I know not enough people are taking the steps necessary to save for the future. Even after building a career elsewhere, this is what made me want to try Vanguard again and again, and it is what fuels my passion for helping people accomplish this goal each and every day.
So what does a Sales Consultant do here at Vanguard? I help people decide if Vanguard is the best place for their investing success. This manifests itself in many ways, ranging from basic conversations like “tell me more about Vanguard’s Personal Advisor Services” to more complex strategies on how to move different account types without major tax implications. I’ll typically speak to about 10-15 potential or existing clients per day, with conversations ranging from 20-30 minutes. The rest of the day is following up with clients I’m already working with.
I love being a salesman, but the industry rightfully has a bad association with the term “sales” – mainly due to high commissions and fees that clients don’t always know about. Vanguard couldn’t be further from this because we structure the job as straight salary with no commission. In the sales world, no commission is a bit jarring because that is typically what motivates salespeople to excel. Instead, at Vanguard, that motivation to “sell” comes from a firm (and data-proven) belief that Vanguard is the best place for the vast majority of investors.
How I give back
Now that I’ve been at Vanguard for about a year, the most exciting development has been the ability to get involved with giving back to our community. At Vanguard, giving back is in our DNA, with over half of our crew volunteering their time at some point throughout the year. For me, I knew early on that I wanted to be a part of equipping young people for financial success. We all know how important it is to start saving young, but who is actually teaching kids these crucial lessons? That is why getting involved with Vanguard’s My Classroom Economy was such an easy choice to make!
My Classroom Economy provides free material that enables any educator to teach their students financially responsible principles that will benefit them for their entire lives. What if you could go back in time and better understand the implications of that student loan you took out? What if you started saving for your retirement with your first paycheck rather than being part of the 40 million households who have no retirement savings at all? With the month of April being national Financial Literacy Month, I think of the work that this team is doing and become giddy thinking about the hundreds of thousands of students forever impacted by this program.
Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t get the initial jobs I applied for, because if it were not for the experiences I had outside of Vanguard, I wouldn’t be nearly as passionate as I am about what we do here every day.
Helping the next generation with financial literacy is one way Vanguard crew connect with our communities. Learn more about how Vanguard helps communities have the best chance for success. 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.
Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22 that features worldwide events to demonstrate support for environmental protection. In this blog, Anna E. shares why she participates in Earth Day and other environmental initiatives at Vanguard.
About 15 years ago, I traveled to Switzerland and was surprised to see how far along the country was with their recycling. Essentially everything had to be recycled as households would be charged for their trash, so recycling was both socially and economically responsible. There were also community compost bins where food waste was taken to be composted. But being environmentally responsible is about more than just recycling. Since my visit to Switzerland, I’ve made it a personal mission to be as sustainable as possible, including working for a company that empowers employees to be part of the solution.
Since I’ve joined Vanguard, I’ve acted as an environmental advocate by leading programs to get crew members involved in sustainability efforts. One example is volunteering as a Sustainability Ambassador – leading programs to build awareness and encourage participation in corporate sustainability efforts. Many crew members across multiple sites have become Sustainability Ambassadors in their buildings, and in this role, I’ve had opportunities to participate in events, share new corporate initiatives with my team and department, and attend conferences. Since this topic is so important to me, I love that I’ve been able to share messages of “going green” with my fellow crew. And I’m proud to say that Sustainability Ambassadors were influential in the efforts to switch from plastic to biodegradable clamshells and serving dishes in the galleys, which reduced Vanguard’s contribution to area landfills. And over the last several years, Vanguard has enhanced its recycling program to include compost stations in food-service areas, single-stream recycling, and document destruction.
One of the biggest conservation events I support as a Sustainability Ambassador is Earth Day. Every year during Earth Week, Vanguard holds Earth Day Expos to share ways each crew member can be more sustainable with the choices we make. These expos showcase individual and corporate efforts aimed at recycling, energy savings, commuter benefits, and much more. In addition, throughout Earth Week, Vanguard’s strategic partners and other community organizations educate crew on their sustainability practices.
It’s important for me to be a part of the solution and contribute to Vanguard’s sustainability efforts. It’s great to work for a company that empowers its employees to support long-term initiatives to conserve the environment.