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Throughout the course of life, people often look for their “why.” What is that singular, individualized thing that drives passion, compels us to take on new challenges, and pushes us to work toward success? The moment we locate an answer to this question can be incredibly powerful, as it defines who we are and who we want to become.

For Hanna W., a Brokerage Service Rep. and recent Series 7 licensee, this search came to an end during her Junior year at Northern Arizona University in 2019, when she and her family were faced with the unthinkable: the loss of her father to cancer. As she navigated the remainder of her college career and mourned her father’s passing, a small seed of an idea began to take root in her mind.  

“My dad was a financial consultant for most of his career, and when he died in 2019, I started looking at the world of finance differently.”  

Graduating college in 2020 at the height of the pandemic with a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management proved to make things more difficult – as nation-wide lockdowns began, jobs in her major field suddenly disappeared. 

“I wanted to go into corporate conference and event planning. I thought it was such a cool part of hospitality…but then I graduated during the pandemic, and all my peers who had received job offers from hotels were getting them taken away.”

But within these setbacks laid opportunity. While the pandemic raged on, Hanna took a position as a roving manager for a popular restaurant chain. During that time, the idea – the seed and its roots – grew rapidly, and eventually blossomed into a desire to pursue the same career path her father did.

“At the end of 2021, I gave myself time to think about what I really wanted to do. I decided I wanted to fill the gap that was left in my family from the loss of my dad – he was the ‘finance guy’ for us. This new passion motivated me to become as financially literate as possible, because I wanted to be able to serve clients in the way that he did.”

“I knew breaking into finance would be an uphill battle, but it felt like something I could also prove my own worth in.”

After making the decision to follow in her father’s footsteps, Hanna applied to financial services roles at different brokerages. As she went through the interview process, one company stood out above the rest.

“The conversations I was having with the interviewers at Schwab – the questions that they were asking me, just made me feel more comfortable and engaged, and my interviewer was more engaged with me. I left those interviews with the impression that Schwab was a space where my professional development would be synonymous with my personal development.”

Starting in Schwab’s Client Services and Support role, Hanna took advantage of the trainings and resources given to her to prepare for her financial licensing exams. This level of support allowed her to feel a sense of empowerment on her journey to becoming a financial representative and furthered her understanding of the ins-and-outs of the business. During this time, she also got her first introduction to the supportive, inclusive culture at Schwab, which helped propel her toward achieving her goal of passing her Series 7 exam.

“The biggest thing was getting an opportunity to work and be paid while I studied. I viewed that as a privilege. Then, we were given access to training software that was made for people who don't have a finance background. Schwab really looked at their audience and considered how to best support people who were new to this industry, like me.”  

“There have also been so many awesome characters I've met while working here. I love asking people the question, ‘how did you end up at Schwab?’ and learning about their diverse backgrounds. I would also say that, in my time at Schwab, it’s amazing to see how dedicated everyone is to continuous improvement – when I give leaders feedback, it’s awesome to see how quickly they put it into action.”

After putting in the work, studying hard, and receiving the opportunities she needed to secure her role as a licensed financial representative at Schwab, she’s looking forward to her professional future at our firm. Now a 9-month Schwabbie with experience under her belt, she’s excited to extend that same level of support to her clients and coworkers.

“My overarching goals at Schwab are to be an advocate for women’s financial literacy and help my clients gain more financial confidence and understanding. I’m driven to accomplish these goals by my passion for helping people and serving others." 

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Finding Your Why: Hanna W., Brokerage Service Rep. 

By: Beau H., Content Manager 

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