Navigating the Transition From College to Corporate America: Dorian's Journey from an HBCU to Schwab
By Jalonni W.
“Schwab is a company that is invested in making sure that you are successful, and you have the skills and the tools that you need to grow in your career.”
What is your role and how long have you worked at Schwab?
Dorian: My job position is Director for the Advisor Services field marketing team. I oversee a team that works with one of our business development sales offices, they are responsible for bringing new Independent Advisors to Schwab’s platform. In two weeks, I will be celebrating my 10-year anniversary.
What resources has Schwab presented to help you grow within the company and in your career?
Dorian: There's a program called the Aspiring Leaders Program (ALP). I participated in ALP back in 2017. It's a four-month program that’s designed for top achievers who are looking for the next level of their career. The program helps nurture their career growth by teaching leadership skills that helps them develop as a people leader. I went through the program in 2017 and then, two years ago, I started being what they call a cohort leader for the program, so now I help others grow.
I am also a leader within one of our employee resource groups, Black Professionals at Charles Schwab (BPACS), which allows for me to have a community and I think that's important. Being able to have a network of people that I can talk to about different issues, has really helped me. It gives me a sounding board of similar people, that can understand and relate. It's also helped me network outside of my department.
What has made you stay with Schwab?
Dorian: I think the culture at the end of the day. I got my plaque in the mail a couple of days ago, for when you hit the 10-year mark. It came on my doorstep and I just looked at it and thought, “Wow, I’ve never spent 10 years anywhere.”
I'm located in Atlanta where we have a small office here and it's very much like a family environment, one where we can motivate each other, we joke around, and we have cohesiveness. They are truly like an extended version of our family. Last year after everything happened with George Floyd, there were a few people in our office that created a group that anyone can join and it gave us an opportunity to openly talk about what's going on in the world. Schwab is a company that is invested in making sure that you are successful, and that you have the skills and the tools you need to grow in your career.
What has Schwab done to show their appreciation to their employees over the years that you have worked here?
Dorian: I've been able to receive different awards. I also see contributor awards being given out, which are awards that are given to high performers. I've been nominated for multiple different sales awards and I’ve received a couple of those over the years, so they recognize all the work I put in to help them be successful. There are all sorts of recognition programs that Schwab offers that can help you feel like the work that you're doing is being noticed.
How has Schwab created a diverse and inclusive environment?
Dorian: When it comes to the diversity just within our industry, it’s hard, right? There aren’t as many African Americans or people of color and I think that we have work to do. I'm a graduate of Florida A&M University, a historically black college, so diversity and inclusiveness are important to me. I've signed up to be a part of the recruiting team to talk to undergrads to make sure we're getting quality students at a young age so we’re able to help them grow, with hopes that they'll have long lasting careers as well. I think it's important for those students to be able to see people that look like them and understand that there are people within this industry that have some of the same background, similarities or even culture. Often, one of the things we say is, it's okay to be the only but you don't want to be the lonely. When you don't have a sounding board, or someone to talk to, that's the quickest way to start losing power.
How was it transitioning from a HBCU into corporate America?
Dorian: It's a transition. The working world is different. It's a transition from that standpoint for any college student. When it comes to a graduate from a HBCU, there's an extra layer added on it. You're going from an environment, which is 99%, people of color to where now you might be the only or you might be, one of 10%. I know a lot of students go through that shock period where they have that adjustment of a new job and new schedule; now you're working with a lot of different cultures.
What are some resources that Schwab offers that would benefit current students or recent college graduates?
Dorian: They have BPACS for Black Professionals at Charles Schwab, APINS for Asian Professionals Inclusion Network at Schwab, SOL for Schwab Organization of Latinx, or CSAN for Charles Schwab Abilities Network; whatever your group is, there's a community for those individuals.
Then within that, there's a mentorship program and if you’re someone who wants to get matched up with a mentor, that's a great way to try to find somebody. It’s also a really good way for you to get connected with someone that has been has a little bit more tenure with the company.
If you go on Schwab’s training portal, there are a bunch of Harvard library articles and videos that can help you with your career growth. If you want to focus on becoming a better leader this is a great tool because you don't have to be a people leader to be a leader. You can be a leader in whatever you're doing.
What’s one piece of advice that you would give a student transferring from a college into corporate America?
Dorian: I would say get a mentor, within your company and outside your company. Somebody that you admire, that you trust, and that has some tenure in their career that can help you because, I didn't get a mentor until later in my career. Also, you can get a sponsor. A sponsor is even better because a sponsor is somebody that is going to go out there and advocate for you. Once they know what your career goals are, they're going to advocate on your behalf to the leaders within that organization.
I think I love the fact that Schwab has established relationships with multiple HBCUs, so I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what comes out of that. Working with the students on everything from interview prep, to getting their resumes together so that when they do get an opportunity, whether it is with Schwab or another institution, they're ready, and they have the proper resources available to them. I think it's a win-win for all of us.