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.
The giving season is upon us, and many Vanguard crew are making it their mission to give to the less fortunate. In this video, crew speak specifically about one very special campaign and why brightening a child’s holiday means so much to them.
I’ve heard many women in IT talking about how amazing the Grace Hopper conference is, and I was so excited when I was selected to attend this year’s conference in Orlando. All of the major technology companies would be there, the keynote speakers sounded so impressive, and there were tons of workshops to choose from. I’ve been at Vanguard for a long time, and I know how careful we are about choosing the most influential learning opportunities.
I started connecting with the other women at Vanguard who were selected to go; we planned our travel arrangements together and looked over the workshops. I was impressed to see that on the very first morning there were 5 keynote speakers — from Melinda Gates to professors at Stanford and Harvard, to the inventor of VMWare, Diane Greene, to Dr. Sue Black CEO from the UK who started #techmums.
Wednesday morning, I headed over to the convention center from my hotel, and was absolutely amazed. There were thousands of women of all ages wearing t-shirts that aim to inspire women in technology careers. “Connect Your Passion”, “Moms Can Code”, “Strong Diverse Amazon”, “Lesbians Who Tech” were some that I noticed. As I went towards registration, standing among 18,000 women, I felt a connection of sisterhood.
All these women had broken barriers in some way, sat through years of schooling, and hundreds of hours of meetings as ‘the only’ and here we all were, together for three days of fun, encouragement, and career development.
Throughout the three days, I heard from brilliant, creative women who had used their passion to solve world problems and develop technology that made a difference in the lives of thousands. Speakers discussed topics such as, using data mining to solve city problems, how bias can get into machine learning, and how artificial intelligences from drones can increase crop production. I met women who helped make Microsoft products accessible for every disability, the CEO of Goldiblox who developed engineering type toys that encouraged girls to think of engineering as an outlet for their creativity, and women who were helping Pinterest determine algorithm differences needed to attract women vs men. There were speakers on influence and persuasion, using your seat at the table, and unconscious bias.
The Vanguard attendees had the opportunity to meet with some prospective crew at our recruiting booth who had interests in possibly working at Vanguard. We were one of the only booths to have all female recruiters, many of whom were in IT jobs. We met for lunch to compare notes on our favorite sessions and spent hours discussing what we had learned. Some of my colleagues were from Charlotte, and some from other departments and teams across the company I had never worked with before. There are always new people to meet!
My main takeaway was from Dr. Sue Black. She started #techmums after putting herself through school as a lower-income, single mom of three kids. She said that if each of us help a mother learn to love computer science, over 30,000 lives would be affected because every mother’s gain represents the gain of at least two people in the world, herself and her child. I left feeling proud of what Vanguard does for all the women who work here – just like the speakers at Grace Hopper, they too are brilliant, creative women who use their passion to solve world problems and make a difference every day.
If you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, check out our career opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.