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.
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.
Building financial literacy through My Classroom Economy
During my tenure with Vanguard, I have had the humbling opportunity to return to my alma mater several times to help recruit new talent. This was an incredibly nostalgic experience for me, as the career fair is where I gained my first impressions of Vanguard – where I would spend the next ten years of my career (and counting!). Whenever I am meeting students, explaining who Vanguard is and what we do, a question that I am inevitably asked is, “Why did you accept a job at Vanguard?” This is a great question to have when exploring employer options as it is natural to want to understand a current employee’s motivation for joining a company. That being said, there is a more illuminating question to ask. If you really want to uncover a true sense of the company culture, try asking “What made you stay at Vanguard?”
Why I stay
My answer, at least partly, is my experience with My Classroom Economy. My Classroom Economy, or MyCE for short, is a robust classroom management system that focuses on building financial literacy through experiential learning. The basic idea is that MyCE provides the resources necessary for educators to establish an “economy” in their classroom that is interactive, ongoing, and builds essential financial skills. The economy created in the classroom introduces and reinforces basic financial topics such as receiving a paycheck, saving, and spending. In addition, students get to experience paying rent, buying insurance, and budgeting. The entire program is entirely free to use and totally customizable to each classroom’s needs.
Why it matters to me
This particular outreach from Vanguard into the community is important to me because of the mission and its connection to my own life. My mother was an elementary school teacher for her entire career and I witnessed first-hand the impact that an educator can have on their students outside of traditional school curriculum topics. By engaging with MyCE and giving back to educators, I’m able to help contribute to the effectiveness of teachers across the country.
What I do for MyCE
In addition to providing the materials via our website, Vanguard’s North Carolina campus takes a further step into the community by hosting My Classroom Economy Day with a local school each year. This year, I had the privilege of leading the event and facilitating a field trip to our campus. In September, 80 fifth grade students from Shamrock Gardens Elementary School in Charlotte, NC joined us for a day of fun and learning. Our students picked from several career tracks and earned paychecks by participating in small groups with different areas of our business. They were offered the ability to buy insurance, and those who didn’t had to surrender some of their earned “money” when a natural disaster struck later in the day. They were then able to use their earned money to bid on auction items to take home with them. They also participated in a hands-on activity regarding professional presence that taught lessons about how their actions and words with classmates can have unintended consequences. This keynote event was a culmination of a year of planning by my team of volunteers and left a lasting impression on the students and those of us, nearly 40 in total, who worked to make this day possible.
So as you explore careers on your journey, remember to find ways to uncover a company’s true culture by asking the right questions. You may come to find that the work you do for a company is only half of the reason for starting your career there and the rest may be opportunities like My Classroom Economy. MyCE is just the tip of the iceberg for reasons why my peers and I choose to work for Vanguard.
Want to learn more about My Classroom Economy? Check out these videos! 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.
A surprising career switch inspired me to give back
When I started working at Vanguard, I never dreamed that I would spend my entire career here. Over the last 35 years, my career opportunities expanded as Vanguard grew, and each of my jobs built upon my previous experiences while still allowing me to learn new things. Along my career path, a mentor inspired me to consider a career change within Vanguard’s Information Technology (IT) division – which has then motivated me to encourage others to consider roles within IT, too.
My career in IT
It was six years ago that my mentor suggested that I transition into an IT role. It was a little scary switching to a new division and supporting a whole new type of client. Luckily, this role utilized my business knowledge while allowing my technical skills to grow. I was given a ton of support and it was exciting to learn something new every day! A few years later, I moved into a Data Governance role. Now, I help IT project teams define new data they are building so we can ensure the proper controls are in place to protect our shareholder’s information. I also became the training lead and have taught hundreds of crew members how to use our applications.
How I give back
Since my mentor had helped me discover a role that I had found to be so fulfilling, I wanted to do the same for someone else. I became an active member of one of Vanguard’s Crew Resource Groups, Women’s Initiative for Leadership Success (WILS). I help plan monthly IT events focused on professional development and organize groups of crew members to attend local conferences and external networking events.
For the past two years, I’ve been the Community Outreach Coordinator for IT WILS and have helped organize multiple events that encouraged over 3,000 middle school, high school, and college students to pursue jobs in technology. One example is Girls Exploring Tomorrow’s Technology (GETT), of which Vanguard has been a corporate sponsor for 10 years. It is an amazing event that promotes STEM careers to over 800 middle school and high school girls. We provide hands-on activities to show the girls the skills and knowledge necessary to obtain a career in IT. I’ve also volunteered at my local middle school’s STEM Career Day and supported Techies Days–an event where high school students come to Vanguard to learn about IT careers.
Why it matters
Technology is one of the fastest growing and highest paying careers, but there won’t be enough students graduating from college with Computer Science related degrees to fill all the open jobs. These events enable students to interact with successful women in IT so we can build a pipeline and hopefully help close the gender gap in technology. I love being a role model for students and encouraging them to follow their dreams.
The best part about being a member of WILS is that I get to learn from people all across Vanguard and other companies while giving back to our local communities. It’s been very rewarding to realize that we’re making a difference in the lives of so many children. And we get to have at least as much fun as the kids!
If you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, check out our career opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.
Vanguard is always looking for people who are bright, collaborative, and, of course, focused on our clients. But recruiting new crew can be a challenge – there are so many available jobs in our industry and we always want someone who fits into our culture. Sometimes we have to think outside the box to find those who believe in our mission.
Recently, we found many of these like-minded individuals while volunteering in our community. Since charitable work is a big part of our culture, it made sense that we would find others there who share our values of client-first, teamwork, inclusion, and integrity. We also discovered that these events gave us an opportunity to answer questions about life at Vanguard and how to join our crew, while still making a difference. Thus, the College Community Outreach (CCO) program was born.
The program is a recruiting initiative, a volunteer program, a networking opportunity, and a coaching session all rolled into one. Vanguard’s University Relations team, in partnership with VetsConnect (our internal military network), invite motivated college students to join us at community service events with a goal of improving our community and learning more about Vanguard. While volunteering, students are able to discuss our culture and career options, and speak directly with hiring managers and HR professionals. And the program isn’t just for potential crew, it also allows current crew to develop leadership, project management, and relationship skills.
Robert G., an Operations Associate in our Retail Investor Group, shares how the program helped him secure a position at Vanguard. “The many volunteer projects afforded me the opportunity to meet with some of Vanguard’s crew. I was able to talk with them and get to know them on a personal level, hearing their stories as they reflected on their time at Vanguard.”
Another benefit is those seeking employment with Vanguard not only learn about our culture, but can also better prepare for an interview. Due to his service in the navy, Robert is passionate about veteran’s programs and was able to meet Vanguard crew volunteering at the Veterans Multi Service Center (VMSC) in Philadelphia. Robert explains, “In my previous career in the Navy, volunteering for projects was a frequent undertaking. After hearing about crew experiences, I was able to reflect upon my time in the Navy and figure out a way to apply my experiences and talents during my interviews.” After being hired fulltime, Robert will be supported in his continuing efforts with VMSC and other organizations by his leaders, peers, and VetsConnect. And maybe one day he’ll be the one sharing his experiences while searching for the next new crew member.