A Financial Service Professional’s Passion for Community, Teaching, and Service
By Andie T.
It’s been said that change happens one conversation at a time. For our Client Service & Support professionals, they enact positive change in the lives of our clients each and every day. Whether a client is calling about a simple password reset or questions about their account, our Schwabbies in Service are there to help bring our purpose of championing every client’s goal with passion and integrity to life.
With a dedication to service and a passion for helping and teaching those around her, this is Kayla’s Schwab story…
Kayla R. is a Client Service & Support professional (CS&S) who has been working at Schwab for 2.5 years and is currently a Financial Service Professional on the Pinnacle High Net Worth team helping clients reach their financial goals. Based on the conversations she has with clients every day; her role can vary tremendously. From one conversation to the next, Kayla can help a client with placing trades, answering questions about their account, or educating a client about options strategies. She explains how although a lot of her role entails taking care of our clients, “on my dedicated team, there’s an opportunity to teach. There’s a huge opportunity to help a client realize there’s this strategy or that strategy and if I need help, I have Schwab for that.”
Kayla's Journey to Schwab
Kayla’s love for teaching started much earlier before her career at Schwab, as she explained most of her past occupations involved working with children. “My whole resume is children. I taught swim lessons, gymnastics, and taught as an assistant teacher in kindergarten. These are all things that I’ve just done since I was 16.” As Kayla went on to pursue higher education at Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU), she struggled with narrowing down her career path. The thought of becoming a professor was enticing because of her love of helping and teaching others, but she ultimately thought she was going to become a kindergarten or first-grade teacher because she loved the creative side of working with children: “I thought ‘I’m really good with kids and then I kind of realized I had this passion for economics and finance.” Despite her extensive background with children, Kayla realized she has always been interested in puzzles and this led her to pursue a degree in economics: “I went to college for economics because I love puzzles. I love options because they’re just like puzzles. I was that kid who wanted to do Sudoku or math for fun.
With a clearer path towards her future profession, Kayla was introduced to Schwab through College to Careers at MSU: “I actually started at Schwab because I got pushed by an advisor to a booth for College to Careers.” College to Careers is a professional development program specific to MSU Denver that typically focuses on non-traditional students and gives them the important skills of interviewing, resume writing, networking, and mentorship. Kayla explains how she, “went into the professional development program and they were willing to teach us everything under the sun including resume writing and interviewing and I just loved having a for-profit company that dedicates hours and hours of resources and a village of people to build a program to help college students. I went through three weeks in the program and I applied to work for Schwab immediately because it ended in October and I graduated in December. I met so many wonderful people and I was like, ‘this is the place for me,’. I put all my eggs in one basket – I did not want to work for any other company, so I didn't apply to any other company but Schwab.”
As Kayla began her career journey at Schwab, she reflected on how her background with children actually helped her get started in the financial space: “I think the aspect of my background that they wanted was someone that could break down these advanced financial concepts in an elementary school way. They want people that aren't going to talk down to their clients. Instead, they want people that are going to essentially take this concept and break it down to where it doesn't matter what your knowledge is or where your background is, at the end of that conversation, you're going to understand it.”
Her Most Memorable Moment as a Financial Service Professional
Over the past 2 years working in Client Service & Support, Kayla was able to think back to one of the most memorable moments she encountered with a client, which began with an honest mistake and the courage to admit she was wrong. During this moment, a client called in to see if she could save money on another managed product and as Kayla looked at the calculation, “Somewhere along the lines, I actually did the calculation wrong. I didn't figure out the calculation was wrong until after the call was over. I actually called her back right away and I said, ‘I'm so sorry. I'm still learning everything that I need to know, I double-checked the calculation with a manager and the calculation was off but let me give you the correct calculation. Let me show you how I arrived there and let me help you compare with the fees you would be paying,’. So, based on that, she replied, ‘Oh my goodness, thank you so much, that's really humbling that you called back told me you were wrong.’ Suddenly, this relationship kind of grew out of a mistake, and long story short on the post-call survey she wrote, ‘I really loved working with Kayla because she gave me incorrect information and yet she was still humble enough to call back tell us the correct answer and tell us she was wrong and this is why I'm so thankful to her.’ I think that really stuck with me because clients don't want somebody that's perfect. They want somebody that has the soft skills of correcting themselves when they're wrong and being humble enough to admit a mistake. I feel like that was the first interaction she had with Schwab and what she got from that was, ‘Wow, Schwab employees care so much that they are going to make sure the answer’s right, and if it's not, they're going to call you back and fix it.’
Community at Schwab
Although Kayla spends most of her time assisting clients as a Service professional, she is also involved in groups Schwab has created to make women feel celebrated and empowered: “I’m part of Guide, which is a Client Service & Support program only. Its women supporting women and it’s so powerful at a broker-dealer because broker-dealers are traditionally a male-dominated field. Schwab really wants to make sure that we have women in all financial roles, so what they've done is a few managers in CS&S created the program. When you start in CS&S, you have to get financial licenses and these financial licenses can be very intimidating with a lot of studying that goes into it, so you really need a support system as there's a lot of information you're taking in, you're talking to clients every day and you're trusted to place these trades. In general, we want to make sure that we are inclusive of all groups, but we also want to encourage women to develop in the field of Finance. So, when you start in CS&S you are given a female mentor and they guide you through licensing and through the day-to-day. Right now, since everything is virtual, we have a guide pod chat, where we just support other women and we answer questions that they might have. It's also a way to make a lot of friendships and that's really fun.”
Kayla's Future Plans and Parting Thoughts
As far as her future career goals at Schwab, Kayla elaborates that, “I love the financial industry. I love giving people the tools that they need to be financially set. I think there's a lot of different ways to help with this. I know I don't see myself on the retail finance side of becoming a financial planner, but what really wakes me up in the morning is I love the project management side. I love the marketing side. In CS&S, it really doesn’t matter where you go or want to end up in five years. The experience is the foundation of understanding our clients. You understand our employees, products, and our services and it transitions really well to project management.”
Whether your interest is in Service, project management, or anything in-between, Kayla’s number one reason to join Schwab comes down to two words: “The people. For me, community and the culture is a big thing because if I have a team that supports me and wants to get to know me for who I am and cares about me, I’m going to do 10x better than I would do at a company that has people there that don’t really care about you. I think so many people will say it’s the people and I’ve never experienced so many random strangers who genuinely want you to succeed. I really think it’s something you can’t get anywhere else. There are people that have 15 more years of experience than I have who are way more knowledgeable, they have way more certifications and licenses, they have all these tech languages and yet, they treat every person as an equal player, and your opinions are valued no matter what your position is, no matter what your role is, your opinions are valued. Why? Because we care about the people. We care about the business results, but we care about the people more than the business results. The business results will come as long as we take care of our people.”
If you’re ready to start your career at Schwab, take a look at our open opportunities in Service.