Remembering Vanguard’s heritage through our History Center
May 1st marks 44 years since Vanguard opened for business. In this blog, we take some time to reflect on the past four decades with a virtual tour of Vanguard’s History Center.
Vanguard was started as a bold experiment – a firm built solely for the benefit of investors, not outside owners. Since the mid-1970s, we’ve remained steadfast to our investment philosophy and guiding principles. When a company has existed for over forty years, it’s bound to have accumulated some interesting artifacts. These can be fun treasures, like celebratory photos, or service awards, but may also include business data, fund reports, and employment documents. Unfortunately, over time, these relics can get lost, thrown away, or just physically fall apart.
The Vanguard History Center is changing all of that.
Established in 2014, the History Center is Vanguard’s corporate archive. They acquire and preserve items that tell the Vanguard story: both its origins, and its evolution. In addition, the Center collects original records that reflect our broad range of products, services, and other offerings. A staff of archivists gathers and conserves items, in addition to promoting awareness about Vanguard’s heritage, answering reference questions concerning Vanguard’s history, and delivering educational presentations about the Center’s work.
The collection currently includes business reports, marketing materials, advertisements, photographs, and objects. Assistant Archivist Kate F. observes, “One of the most valuable items archived in my opinion is documentation from the early days of the world’s first index mutual fund – the First Index Investment Trust – which was launched by Vanguard in 1976. These materials possess a wealth of intellectual value and are of central importance to telling Vanguard’s unique story.”
And thanks to donations from current and former crew, the collection is always growing. Here are just a few of the items crew can find there:
But this work is about more than just finding cool pieces, although it can be neat to see a handwritten letter from Jack Bogle to the crew. It’s about sustaining knowledge management, and ensuring we have all the resources and research to support any business need. The Center has provided fund reports for advisors, investment commentary for research projects, and resources to onboard new or transitioning crew. Archivist Emily C. explains, “Like a museum, the History Center collects items. The end goal, however, isn’t to craft flashy exhibits or displays. We’re building a resource. Crew use the body of information we collect to fulfill information needs.”
The collection connects crew around the globe with our culture and rich history.
It captures crew stories and achievements. And it reassures both clients and crew that we have a process in place to preserve those things that may otherwise disappear forever. The History Center’s motto is, “Preserving the past to support the future.” It’s a great reminder of the progress we’ve made, the goals we’ve achieved, and the evolution of our business. Most importantly, it demonstrates that we have never and will never waver from that mission we started way back in 1975.
Emily shares, “The coolest thing I’ve discovered isn’t in the collection, but about Vanguard – seeing just how deep the crew’s passion for Vanguard and our mission runs.”
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.
Everyday innovation from client-facing crew at Vanguard
If you were to ask most people to think of an innovative company, they would probably picture a tech start-up in Silicon Valley. That’s certainly what I used to imagine. But when I joined Vanguard, I learned that it doesn’t get much more innovative than our founder, Jack Bogle, creating the index mutual fund, resulting in the disruption of the financial services industry. A disruption that has continued over the last forty years.
Vanguard has continued to invest heavily in innovation through investments in technology, a relentless search for process improvement methodologies, and the opening of the Innovation Studio in Philadelphia.
But I would say the biggest commitment Vanguard has made towards innovation has been through its crew. One of the things I love most about working at Vanguard is that it recognizes the skills and abilities of its employees and empowers them to help promote meaningful change within their departments. Vanguard offers its crew multiple channels to brainstorm, share ideas, and innovate. For example, it sponsors hackathon events, which give crew a setting in which to present creative well-planned ideas to some of our most influential leaders. Vanguard has even created innovation teams to pilot new ideas and technology throughout various levels and departments.
I am privileged to have the opportunity to lead one of those innovation teams. I lead a team of engaged client-facing sales crew who also specialize in driving change and innovation within their organization. Members of my team utilize their client interactions and work to create new processes to help improve the experience for clients and crew.
When a member of my team comes up with an idea or proposal, we work together to determine if it is something we can implement immediately, or if there is an opportunity to pilot the idea to see if the process or technology would benefit everyone at a broader level.
Crew that are a part of the innovation team have the opportunity to learn and develop unique skills that aren’t always as prevalent in other roles. These include conceptual thinking, project management, and presentation skills.
Culture of Innovation
I believe the key to fostering a culture of innovation relies heavily on mindset. The concept of innovation can seem ambiguous, scary, and out of reach. As a leader, I turn innovation into something that is a part of my team’s everyday norms and expectations.
Here are three main ways my crew are afforded the ability to be more innovative:
Crew on the innovation team are provided an hour of “innovation time” each week to focus on brainstorming and developing their ideas.
Crew are encouraged to utilize our newly established “Ideation Room”, a space constructed to maximize creative thinking and collaboration.
Our leadership team sponsors quarterly “Pitch Day” competitions that empower our crew to team up and present their ideas. The winning team gets to see their idea come to life as it is piloted and potentially implemented across the organization.
While each member of my team takes advantage of the opportunities listed above, it is important to note that this mindset of being a positive change advocate isn’t unusual for Vanguard crew. I would argue it is an instinct most crew have. Then again, why wouldn’t it be? We work at a company founded on innovation.
There’s a famous scene at the end of the movie Cast Away (if you’ve never watched the movie put it on your “to do” list”) in which Tom Hanks is standing in the middle of the crossroads trying to determine which direction he’ll take his life after spending 1,500 days alone on a deserted island. The scene highlights the power of having options and the factors involved with making decisions that shape the direction of lives. The power of choice can never be undervalued. We have so many choices to make in this life and perhaps none more important than what shapes the direction of our careers.
In July 2015, after 11 fantastic and rewarding years with Vanguard, I found myself at a career crossroad. I chose to leave the organization to explore a different path. It was a very difficult decision as I knew what I was leaving behind: the crew, the relationships, the stability, the mission, and the pride in saying I worked for Vanguard. I chose to leave to push myself outside of my comfort zone. I was intent on taking the life and career lessons learned at Vanguard and positively impacting an entrepreneurial start-up organization. I knew what I was leaving behind, left on the best of terms, and was excited by the unknown ahead.
Returning to Vanguard
My career tenure outside Vanguard did not last long. Fast forward 9 months…in April 2016 I returned to Vanguard as a contract recruiter – a return that was possible based on previous performance and the strong relationships I had built during my time with the organization. While there are many reasons why the other career opportunity did not pan out as I had hoped, the lessons learned, both positive and negative, further solidified my drive and passion to return to Vanguard. Most importantly, I learned the value of humility, as I left Vanguard a full time crew member and returned as a contract resource with no guarantee of being rehired as a crew member. Despite the risk, other full time job offers, and lack of guarantee in being rehired, my heart was set on Vanguard. I was eager to reconnect with my peers and positively impact the organization for a second time.
When I share my Vanguard career journey with external candidates and internal crew, I’m always asked the same question: “Why did you come back to Vanguard?” It’s a fair question as people don’t often return to a former employer. My “why” can be categorized in three key groups: the people, the purpose, and the possibilities.
Vanguard’s people (crew, contractors, interns, etc.) drive business initiatives and innovations that positively impact our shareholders. Throughout my collective 13 years with Vanguard, I am grateful to have worked with smart, inventive, engaged, passionate, and dedicated people who have helped me grow personally and professionally. In turn, they have become my best friends, confidants, teachers, counselors, and extension of my family. I am also grateful to have led so many talented professionals. Watching their growth and development is as equally rewarding as my own career success.
Vanguard’s continued commitment to clients, crew, and community is unwavering. It’s rewarding to work for an organization that strives to put the best interest of clients first, provides rewarding career opportunities for its crew, and consistently serves our surrounding communities. The business initiatives, strategies, and innovations implemented at Vanguard are done to create the best possible experience for our shareholders. For crew who make a personal commitment to own their career journey, perform well in their existing role, and continuously push themselves to learn, opportunities await – whether it’s interesting projects, coaching and mentoring, or a new position. Lastly, I am proud to work for an organization where supporting our communities by volunteering our time, talent, and treasure is part of our cultural fabric and not an organizational obligation.
I originally started my Vanguard career as an entry-level Processing Associate. In the subsequent years, through hard work and taking an active role in my development, I’ve built a successful career in Human Resources in both individual and leadership roles. I’ve gained something from each of my positions at Vanguard while embracing the challenges of new roles and pushing myself outside my comfort zone. I define career possibilities as the opportunity to combine my passions with organizational needs and openings. With hard work, initiative, and an open mind, there are no limits to what your career can be at Vanguard.
At some point in our lives we are all in the same position as Tom Hanks’ character in Cast Away. Each of us will encounter a career crossroads at some point in our lives. Defining your “why” is a critical step in determining the path you take. I have taken the road less traveled and my “why” has allowed me to come back home to Vanguard. The very last words spoken in Cast Away are “thank you”. The words simplify the gratitude Hanks’ character had for his journey and the ability to determine his path – regardless of which road he chooses. Thank you Vanguard for allowing me to choose the road less traveled and ultimately to choose the road back home.
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 March of 2008, two months before my college graduation, I had the perfect five year plan. I was a Business Management major with a passion for the sports industry, working part time with a sports marketing agency while finishing college. I loved the work, and planned to sign on full time after graduation. But then, 2008 happened.
As the banking and housing markets collapsed, companies that seemed secure and booming started to crumble. My five year plan disappeared as the marketing agency closed their doors.
After a summer of re-imagining my five year plan, on October 6th, 2008 I walked in to Vanguard with no financial acumen and a plan to be back in the sports industry as soon as possible. Hopefully within five years.
I spent my first two years working with our 401k plan participants. My financial acumen grew and my customer service skills were refined. One day, three different people sent me a link to an internship opportunity in another division. Three different people said “you’d be perfect for this – you should apply”. So I did. And I got it. My five year plan started to get fuzzy.
My internship turned into a full time opportunity, and I spent my next three years supporting Sales Executives and Client Service teams who served international clients. It was a very different role and I learned so much and worked on things that five years prior I never knew existed.
And then it happened again – the emails. Leaders and friends from my current and previous role forwarded me an opportunity back in the division I started in–supporting the teams who worked with the companies that used Vanguard as their 401k provider. Those words again – you’d be a perfect fit. So I applied, and again, I got it. Five years in to my Vanguard career I was on to role number three. It became time to officially throw out my five year plan, and build a career within a company and industry I have grown to love.
Two and a half years later it was like déjà vu and I found myself in our Retail division, where I am today. In two years I’ve held three very different roles that have stretched my potential.
In a few short months I will celebrate my ten year anniversary with Vanguard and purposely do not have a five year plan. Why? Because the last ten years have taken me in a direction I never would have planned – and I have loved every minute of it.
Although I’m not in the industry I thought I’d end up in, every role I’ve had has completely aligned with my skills and led me to new and exciting things (and people!). My leaders, mentors, and the genuine friends I have made continue to play an active part in my career and I imagine will do so for a long time.
As I plan my next five years, I’m not thinking about a destination – I’m thinking about how I can continue to grow and am always open to the possibility that my strengths could lead me down a path I never could have planned.
In early 2015, I was suffering. Years of working a desk job and a sedentary lifestyle had taken their toll and my health was worsening. My blood pressure was way too high, and gout attacks frequently made it agonizing to walk. Sleep apnea and acid reflux meant I rarely got a decent night’s rest. At 41, I wasn’t too young to be at risk of a heart attack (or worse). It was time to do something. Lucky for me, Vanguard has an amazing wellness staff here to help – at Vanguard’s fitness center called ShipShape.
Small steps and big changes
I started with baby steps, like joining ShipShape’s six-week group weight-loss challenge and hitting the gym regularly. Encouraged by our specialist, I kept a food diary and changed my eating habits. I walked on the treadmill for a half-hour. I used the stairs instead of the elevator to get to my desk on the third floor. At the gym, the ShipShape team greeted me by name almost immediately, which built up my sense of belonging, as well as the accountability that I needed to make this a habit. They have been with me every step of the way.
Jumping to the next level
As time went on, I gravitated to group exercise classes, where I did things I never thought possible. I lifted a barbell for the first time in my life – then did 800 reps in 45 minutes. I punched and kicked through a cardio workout. I swung a kettlebell. I jumped on a BIG box. And then I did it all again. (At home, I annoyed my kids by threatening living-room burpees. Hey, I’m still a dad.)
The results came almost immediately. I lost a tremendous amount of weight that first year, but just as important, was developing the routine and the commitment to make this a lifestyle change. My family tracked my weekly weigh-ins. I had to buy new clothes! My team at work noticed. People who hadn’t seen me in a while were surprised by my transformation. “You did all this at Vanguard?” more than one person asked me.
It takes a (supportive) village
Make no mistake, this can be hard work, but the ShipShape staff are there to guide you through it. Austin has us pedaling for our lives in Group Cycling (but you don’t notice it, with such a fun soundtrack). Shannon doesn’t skip any of the toughest kickboxing choreography. Brandon and Chelsea sweat it out with us in every class they lead. I can’t argue with the results! There’s nothing more energizing and motivating than pushing yourself to the limit while surrounded by dedicated crew focused on a common goal. I have strengthened my Vanguard network, made new friends, and even found my current job through a workout buddy. And if I haven’t been around in a while, someone notices.
For me, fitness just fits
I have a favorite shirt that I wear to the gym – it has the words MAKE HISTORY emblazoned in big red letters on a gray background. It was a Father’s Day gift from my wife and three children a few years back. This shirt is the symbol of a miracle. I wear it to celebrate how far I’ve traveled on my wellness journey and to remind myself why I so often visit ShipShape. The center is always there for me – I can go before breakfast or at lunchtime, which suits my family’s busy schedule. I know the specialists will greet me with a smile and that I’ll see friends and might try something new. Three years later, my ShipShape family is a significant part of who I am as a Vanguard crew member. I couldn’t be more grateful.
Today, I’m more present and available for my Vanguard team, my peers, and most importantly, my wife and kids. I stay active, and my health has dramatically improved. I find that I contribute more at work and at home. So, what’s next for me? I plan to keep making history.
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.
We recently sat down with Anthony W., a Sales Executive in Vanguard’s Financial Advisor Services. Anthony’s role is unique in that he spends his time “in the field” with advisors, and does not work in a Vanguard office. Anthony shares his thoughts on why he loves sales, how he makes a difference, and how football prepared him for his role at Vanguard.
Thanks for joining us, Anthony. Your role is different compared to many of our crew. Can you talk about a day in the life covering financial advisors in Los Angeles?
I partner with wire house and independent financial advisors through the broker dealer channel. I spend my days learning about the landscape of their firms, each advisor or team’s business model, their investment philosophy, types of clients they serve, service model, and their growth strategies. From there, I focus on creating value for them, which includes: providing Vanguard products and resources to give their clients the best chance for investment success, sharing perspectives that are new or different, and offering actionable ideas to help grow their businesses. My goal is to ensure Vanguard is a part of their future growth and success.
You don’t get to spend a lot of time with co-workers, but Vanguard has a very collaborative culture. Working remote, is it hard to stay connected with your team when you don’t sit near them?
We’re still connected, it’s just a different type of connection. We catch up over video and group text rather than going out to lunch or meeting in person. You have to be proactive to stay connected and exchange information. The camaraderie is there, it’s just digital. Commuting in Los Angeles provides plenty of windshield time to call and speak with peers.
So it’s fair to say this is a very independent role.
Autonomy is huge – I liken our work to running a business inside of a business. It’s a big ask to run a territory, and there is less oversight, which means you have to be disciplined and trustworthy. Working well with your management team and internal partners is key. I enjoy the opportunity, but it’s not for everyone.
Learn more about our Financial Advisor Services sales careers in the video below!
What drew you to being a sales professional?
I played football at the University of Arizona and I enjoyed the competition and adrenaline rush of the game. For me, sales was a natural transition from sports. You have to set a goal, analyze the industry and competitive landscape, and execute a game plan. Football taught me the importance of a highly functioning team that works together towards a win. Instead of defending opponents on the field, we’re using Vanguard resources to give advisors an advantage in the marketplace.
Sales is also about helping people arrive at a conclusion they hadn’t considered. Some of my favorite advisors are the ones who have never partnered with Vanguard. I like the challenge of establishing a new relationship, building credibility, and helping advisors manage their assets. When you’ve made a difference for a client, it can feel like making a big play in a big game.
You’ve worked in sales in other roles at Vanguard. How did these previous roles prepare you for this one?
I started in our Business Development Group (BDG), a department that specializes in bringing new clients into Vanguard and introducing them to our advice capabilities. This was a tremendous opportunity as it allowed me to hear thousands of investor’s stories, understand the issues they were facing, and support them through the global financial crisis.
Working in BDG was like going to sales university–it taught me how to have a consultative sales conversation. Talking to someone who trusts you with their financial life is powerful and humbling. There can be a lot of uncertainty and we were able to help clients financially and emotionally through the investing process. After you master these skills, you are ready to move on to a different level of client, with different needs.
So obviously you like sales, but why sales at Vanguard instead of another firm?
I’ve been at Vanguard for eleven years and the culture is very different from other firms where I’ve worked. Vanguard puts clients first. We have no outside shareholders to answer to. No conflicting interests. It’s gratifying to walk into an advisor’s office and know that I can do good and do well at the same time.
What advice would you give someone who’s interested in a sales career here?
Be a good listener and learn how to disagree well with those who hold opposing views. Both of these take time and practice, but give you the ability to connect with others and overcome real objections.
Being successful at sales is more than identifying current needs and providing solutions. Deepening your business and investment acumen will help you deliver differentiated perspectives that add value. Clients need us to offer something that enhances what they’re already doing and make them more successful.
It’s also key to remember our guiding values – focus on doing the right thing and giving all investors a fair shake. It’s truly why we’re here.
If you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, check out our career opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.
As a video producer and motion graphics designer, people are often surprised to hear that I work at Vanguard. “Isn’t that a financial company?” they ask. But as part of Vanguard’s Marketing and Communications department, I get to produce, direct, and edit videos for vanguard.com, social media channels, and live event experiences. I also design and build motion graphics in addition to providing photography services. My team is comprised of highly-experienced designers who came to Vanguard from very diverse backgrounds. Collaborating with designers, writers, and marketing managers across my department is the best part of my job.
How I got to Vanguard
I’ve been producing video since I was 9 years old and worked in the live control rooms for both a national television network and a professional baseball team. So how the heck did I wind up at Vanguard? I’d known about Vanguard for years—the investment giant in Philadelphia’s backyard. I heard great things about Vanguard as a place to work, and though it’s a financial company, I knew there were communications and creative job functions throughout the company. I looked for the perfect “foot-in-the-door” position that would allow me to learn the business (and teach me how to manage my own retirement plan!), with the goal of eventually moving into a communications role. Friends thought it was a risky idea, but I had confidence in Vanguard as a stable place to work and an opportunity to reach my career goals. Little did I know that someday I would see my work in the middle of Times Square.
I started as a Retirement Plan Processing Associate. The robust training and onboarding process was intense, but a great opportunity to build relationships with my class—friendships that are still going strong 10 years later. After two years serving about 70 retirement plan sponsors spread across the country, I landed a job on an internal communications team. My plan was working! In my 5 years on this team, I had opportunities to write scripts, design graphics, and produce videos from concept to completion. I often worked directly with members of Vanguard’s senior staff, which was both exciting and an incredible learning experience. I was then promoted to Lead Multimedia Designer in Vanguard’s marketing department, where I’m able to use my 25 years of video production and design experience to serve our clients, at a company that truly makes a difference.
My “little” Times Square project
Vanguard was launching a new fund with the Nasdaq exchange, which gave us the opportunity to advertise on their iconic video screen in the heart of Times Square. I was asked if this unique project was something we could handle. “Of course,” I said. But… we only had a few days to write, produce, approve, and deliver the video. Our creative team worked together very closely on sharpening the messaging and designs. We wanted to ensure our message was short and sweet for New York’s fast walkers. Then there was the added challenge of fitting our graphics and content around the tower’s 26 windows.
The video was one of the fastest—and definitely biggest—projects I have ever worked on, which only added to the thrilling experience. It was great to see how our creative team rallied together to get the video not just done, but done well, and on time. In the end, I was lucky enough to attend the launch in New York with about 20 fellow crew members from across the company. And at the opening bell, there it was—the animation we made just a few days prior! It gave us all chills, and needless to say, there were plenty of high-fives and selfies!
I’ve been quite introspective about my Vanguard career since seeing my work displayed in such an iconic location. What some called a risky career move turned out to be the best decision I ever made. My time at Vanguard has been adventurous and rewarding in more ways than one. From serving clients, to working with senior staff, to camaraderie with a fun and diverse marketing organization, it’s been a great 10-year journey that leaves me even more excited about the future.
If you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, check out our career opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.