We love the diversity of past career experiences that employees bring with them to Schwab. It’s these experiences that bring different ways of thinking and can spark new ideas. However, we also know that navigating a career change can be challenging, so we caught up with Rebecca Redman, a Schwabbie of three years based in Westlake, Texas, to get insight into how she was able to successfully transition from a career as public school teacher and educator, to an onboarding specialist and communications manager with Schwab’s Data Analytics and Insights team (DAI).
Tell me about your career as a teacher.
Rebecca: I was a secondary (middle school and high school) math teacher for 12 years. I loved being in the classroom and seeing the impact my teaching had on the kids. Some of my proudest moments are when I’ve seen kids that I taught express pride in themselves after having mastered a new skill or passing a state exam like the STAAR test in Texas.
In the last three years of my career as an educator I didn’t have a classroom with students, but instead I worked as an instructional coach for the other secondary math teachers. I helped them develop lesson plans and observed them in the classroom and gave feedback.
This led to a training role where I trained teachers on the educational model that the district implemented, and I was even hired as a consultant and gave this training to other school districts as well.
What made you decide to make a career move away from education?
Rebecca: I was at a point in my life where my kids were older and I had more flexibility as a working mom. Being in education was great as a parent, as I was on the same schedule as my kids. But as I got older that wasn’t as necessary. So I asked myself, ‘What else I could be doing?’
I started looking for jobs in corporate training, and I saw an advertisement for a job fair at Schwab. There I met a hiring manager who explained that he was looking for someone to do onboarding and training for his data governance team. In talking to him, I explained that my background was in education; he valued my past experience and was able to make the connection to how it would benefit to his open role, so after a few interviews, I was offered the position and I accepted.
What was your career transition like?
Rebecca: At first I thought, ‘I’m a math teacher, I know data,’ but that didn’t turn out to be as true as I hoped. Data governance is the management of data to ensure the firm's data is discoverable, accessible, trusted, and actionable. There was a steep learning curve on the content but my mangers and fellow Schwabbies were always supportive.
After I was in the role for about 6 months, I asked my manager at the time, ‘So what do you think about hiring a teacher? How did that work out for you?’ And he said it was great. He told me that he had to teach me the content, which was expected, but he also told me that I brought skills in that weren’t currently on the team, like being able to take a lot of material and condense it down without losing the integrity.
I realize that now, not having a corporate background led to bring up things that were sort of novel to those in the corporate world. When I suggested turning some of the trainings into videos with questions to test comprehension at the end, like we would do in the classroom, it wasn’t something that had been done before as part of the onboarding process before. I thought about it in a different way than they had in the past.
The communication skills that I developed as a teacher have also come in very handy. And the way I think about time management too. As a teacher at the secondary level, your whole day is blocked off into chunks (classes), and I’ve used that approach to keep me organized.
What are you doing now?
Rebecca: I’ve been able to transfer some of my teaching skills and the skills I learned at Schwab to a new role as a communication manager for the Data Analytics and Insights (DAI) team. I manage monthly and quarterly newsletters, I help find engagement opportunities for the team, and I’m working on creating a social media presence for Schwab thought leaders in the data analytics space.
Want to learn more about Rebecca’s experiences? Visit https://www.aboutschwab.com/using-a-passion-for-teaching-to-help-the-community to hear about how Rebecca was able to overcome the guilt she felt about leaving teaching, by finding opportunities at Schwab that would still allow her to have an impact in the classroom.