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
More careers blogs you may have missed
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.
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.
Has the universe ever given you a sign? An unmistakable, it’s-time-to-act type of signal? Well, as I was sitting at Vanguard’s Leadership Symposium in Philadelphia last fall, a topic hit my radar for the third time in the span of a few months. And since good things come in threes (right?), I committed then and there to take action – and my kids and I are glad I did. Yup, in this Vanguard blog, I’m talking about my kids. Let me explain…
I started my Vanguard career in April 2001 working in our Legal department in Malvern, PA. A lawyer by training, I was initially our “intellectual property guy,” though over the course of 9 years, my responsibilities grew and evolved until I was leading our Corporate Legal Services group and reporting to our General Counsel.
Because Vanguard encourages its crew to have a breadth of experiences, I had begun exploring leadership opportunities outside of our Legal department and outside of our PA campus. So in 2010, I moved to Vanguard’s Institutional business and, at the same time, my family and I (wife, four kids, one dog) moved to Scottsdale, Arizona. I’m very grateful to Vanguard for the fantastic opportunity to grow! Moving outside of my comfort zone work-wise and moving across the country were huge changes for us as a family. In many ways, these shared experiences of change brought us closer together.
Of course, I’ve always been involved in my kids’ lives – reading to them, playing games, doing yard work together, teaching them to drive (two so far!), etc. And I’ve coached all four of them on various youth soccer teams – I’ve lost count, but something like 18 teams overall. My work at Vanguard was always flexible enough that I could do these. But as the kids were growing older, I was getting worried that I was missing something. Enter Stew Friedman…
Stewart Friedman is a professor at Wharton and author of several books on the topic of having a richer life by integrating elements of home and work. I’m summarizing, but his view is that you can do real-world exercises that improve performance and increase your leadership capacity by better integrating all parts of your life. It’s a powerful and motivating message. I knew Vanguard wanted me (and all its leaders and crew) to have a richer life. I remember receiving this message three distinct times – at a Vanguard executive development program, during a conversation with other Vanguard leaders, and at the Leadership Symposium (where Professor Friedman himself presented!). It was time to act.
One of the things I did was ask each of my children to write down a handful of things they would like to do with me, just the two of us. They all came up with fantastic ideas, fun and interesting things – why hadn’t I done this sooner?!? My 17 year-old daughter, Maddie, had a few ideas – among them were to learn about money and investing, and for the two of us to read a book together and then discuss, like a book club. So with Stew Friedman’s guidance, we “integrated” these two ideas and decided to read a book together about money and investing!
Maddie and I read The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko. Though written in the mid-1990s, its core lessons still ring true – the keys to financial independence involve living within your means, being frugal, and spending time on budgeting and planning, among others. They were great lessons for Maddie and helpful reminders for me. And wonderfully aligned to Vanguard’s investment philosophy and mission as an organization.
Here’s what Maddie had to say about the experience: “I’ve had a lot of fun doing the book club with Dad. When he asked what we could do together, I thought of books because we both like to read, and thought about financial things because I don’t know a lot about it and he works at Vanguard. Now, not only has he taught me about managing money, but we’ve had some meaningful and grown-up conversations beyond that, too. It brought us closer together and, to me, reinforced the value of reaching out to those you love.”
It worked so well that Maddie and I are now on our 3rd book, Mindset by Carol S. Dweck. We are having a wonderful time exploring and connecting over these books – and discussing life in general. I’m a lucky and super-proud dad, and I’m glad for the opportunity to reflect on that with Father’s Day just around the corner. Thank you universe (okay, really thank you Stew Friedman and Vanguard) for giving me that unmistakable sign!
A lifetime of opportunities to lead, grow, and impact others
It was 1999. I was just finishing up my college degree, and was stuck at a crossroad, trying to decide where I wanted my career to go. I knew I wanted to be involved in a company with a rich culture, strong leaders, sound values, and growth opportunities galore – easy enough, right? When I came up dry with opportunities, my mentor recommended I look into Vanguard.
Finding a core purpose at Vanguard
My first few years at Vanguard were spent solving investment puzzles for shareholders who had encountered account-related issues. Working as a Resolution Associate in the Service Recovery organization gave me the opportunity to support clients with account-related issues. I could see the purpose in my work, as well as the positive impact I made on each client. And, I learned to embody Vanguard’s core purpose:To take a stand for all investors, to treat them fairly, and to give them the best chance for investment success. It was fascinating to research each issue and get to the root of the problem. Even more thrilling was the opportunity to offer solutions for our clients.
While I loved working in Service Recovery, I decided to explore new horizons, and research different career options at Vanguard. One path I hadn’t expected to find myself in was leadership. When one of my leader’s noticed my passion for continuous improvement and knack for supporting professional development among my peers, they suggested I pursue a role in people leadership. What a great opportunity this was – Vanguard was investing in me, so that I in turn could invest in others. If you are exploring a role at Vanguard, read on to learn what differentiates our people, and why I chose to spend nearly two decades as a Vanguard leader.
First, leadership at Vanguard isn’t something you do for a title or recognition. Rather, leadership is about serving the needs of investors and enriching the development of your team. While exploring career opportunities, delve deep into the values of the organization; their mission and purpose should align with your beliefs. At Vanguard, our core values are centered on ‘doing the right thing’ in every decision we make. It’s the primary reason why I am both a long-term investor and a long-time crew member. Truly successful leaders nurture and develop a growth mindset to create value and continually improve the organization and their teams. In my experience, these leadership elements enable you to leave a lasting legacy for the benefit of others.
A return to my roots
After spending 15 years working in a variety of leadership roles in our Retail, Financial Advisor Services, and Office of the General Counsel divisions, I have now returned to my roots as the leader of the Service Recovery organization in which I began my career. In my foundational years at Vanguard I learned how to embrace Vanguard’s core purpose. In my latter years, I learned how to lead and serve others within a global community that continually invests in the long-term value we bring to both shareholders and crew. These are the core reasons why I have dedicated my career to Vanguard. My hope is that you too find a role that enables you to grow and to leave a positive mark on the lives of those who come across your path.
If you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, check out our career opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.
In honor of Mother’s Day, we’re featuring a series of blogs dedicated to working mothers and their experience at Vanguard. In this video, Caroline C. and her daughter Allie share their insights from a special “Bring Your Daughter to Work Day” event, including how they’re planning for the future and why Caroline feels she “doesn’t have to separate being a mom from working.”
Crew & A: Commonly asked questions about interning at Vanguard
Kate, a prospective intern for Vanguard, had the opportunity to ask current interns a few questions. Follow along below to read about their experiences over the summer.
Q: What is the best advice you’ve received at Vanguard?
A: During the past 8 weeks here crew (aka employees – everything is nautical themed here!) across the entire firm have been willing and available to offer insight to me as an intern. After several interactions and meetings, there was one piece of advice that stood out the most. My team had just been leaving a meeting where I was looking to participate but failed to seize the opportunity to do so. My manager pulled me aside to talk about it. While he knew I was disappointed that I did not get to offer my two cents, and he offered me this advice, “It’s not always about whether you say something, but whether what you say is relevant and meaningful to a conversation.” In hindsight, what I was planning on saying would have sent the conversation on an unproductive tangent. Internalizing this concept, I have been able to adapt and position myself to contribute in meetings more meaningfully.
Q: What was your favorite intern event?
A: My favorite intern event was our volunteer day off (VTO day). Vanguard gives its crew one paid day per calendar year to dedicate to community service through volunteer work. Crew members can volunteer with any charitable agency they choose, however, the intern cadre all did ours together. We went into Philadelphia to volunteer with the Share Food Program – a nonprofit organization specializing in food distribution, education, and advocacy. It was a very fun and rewarding day spent with fellow interns and intern management.
Q: Why did you choose to work at Vanguard?
A: I have always wanted to work in the financial services industry, but for a company that aligns with my values and morals. At Vanguard, ethical practices are the core values of the firm, and the mission revolves around benefitting all investors. When all crew members feel valued and included, our ability to collaborate and innovate is amplified, and we are united in delivering on Vanguard’s core purpose: to take a stand for all investors, treat them fairly, and give them the best chance for investment success. For these reasons, Vanguard was a clear choice to spend the summer after my junior year.
Q: Can you describe what you have worked on this summer?
A: I had the opportunity to be involved with two projects this summer here at Vanguard. The first was within Data and Analytics for Legal and Compliance. I worked on an algorithm that compiled Vanguard’s equity trading history into reports for regulatory agencies, such as the SEC. My second project was to create a platform for portfolio managers and traders on the Equities Index Group’s trading desk to combat inefficiencies throughout the floor. Vanguard has provided all of the interns – including myself – with the opportunity to play a vital role, and provide value to the company.
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met?
A: The most interesting person I have met this summer was the founder of Vanguard, John Bogle. A few interns had the opportunity to sit with Mr. Bogle and ask him questions about his insight into the future of the company and industry trends. He instilled his wisdom upon us, and reminded us to remain grounded to the true values that he founded Vanguard with in 1975. John Bogle is an inspiration to the financial industry, and I could not be more thankful for the opportunity Vanguard has given me to meet him and so many other influential individuals.
Q: Have you attended any interesting events at Vanguard?
A: Yes! One of my favorite events so far at Vanguard was a Community Garden lunch that I was invited to. Volunteer work is highly encouraged here, and one of Vanguard’s projects is the Community Garden, where crew members volunteer time to help grow fresh vegetables for donation. During this lunch the executive chef showed garden volunteers different recipes using the vegetables that they had grown. It was wonderful to see such a showing of community, and the food was delicious!