How a Season of Self-Reflection Led to Long-Term Career Success
Kris A., Schwab’s Sr. Manager of Advisor Services Pricing and Billing Analysts, has a somewhat sprawling history with Schwab that allowed her to develop a deep understanding and commitment to the industry and to her long-term success with the firm.
Kris did start her career in the financial industry prior to Schwab with Fidelity in 1987 but then pursued a different path as a personal property appraiser for Maricopa County. In 1995, Kris had a desire to return to the world of high finance as she greatly enjoyed the pace of the market and valued all she had learned in client-facing roles in the brokerage industry. Kris was laid off from Schwab in 2001 and started a teaching career where she taught high school students in history and economics and developed a passion for the world of education. She explains this career transition into teaching as a result of examining her attitude, a pursuit to improve her personal brand. When she returned to Schwab in 2007, the purpose was really to supplement her teacher salary; she was teaching sophomores and seniors during the day and helping 401k participants at night. At this time, Kris grappled with being a statistic—a teacher who would have to make the decision to leave the industry or spend a lifetime of working two jobs to make ends meet. She did this for a couple of years, but working full time during the school year for the district and 30 hours a week for Schwab forced her to face the negative impact on her health. She had to make a choice.
Teaching is a profession that Kris truly loved and gave her a strong sense of pride. After five years in the field of education, the decision to leave was not an easy one. Schwab offered Kris a promotion that would allow her a life-changing opportunity to work one job and commit herself to the industry. She decided to keep her teaching credentials current, use vacation days to substitute teach a few times a year, and accept the promotion with Schwab. Returning to Schwab, Kris felt a renewed alignment between her and the firm’s values; she knew she had changed during her time away from the industry and felt that Schwab did too.
Kris describes her Schwab journey as more than she could have ever hoped for or expected: “The organizations and people I have worked with have been genuinely interested in my success… Over the years, I have experienced a great deal of success and some failure. The failures have become my greatest learnings. They helped me discover other methods and approaches to solving problems. This is because I have had the good fortune to work for leadership that listens to my ideas, provides constructive feedback, and supports my development and the development of my teams.”
When Kris closest family member suffered a debilitating illness, she was able to act as an effective caregiver due to the patience and understanding of her peers and leadership at Schwab. Schwab also allowed her to complete her master’s degree in 18 months through tuition reimbursement. Kris describes the most rewarding aspect of her time at Schwab:
“I have been involved in serving my community most of my life starting out as a hospital volunteer when I was 14 years old. Today, as a Schwab Community Ambassador, I serve on two nonprofit boards where I can spread Chuck Schwab and Carrie Schwab-Pomerantzs’ vision of intentional Corporate Responsibility through my actions in my communities and in my giving. I identify with Schwab’s vision in how I approach my work and how I approach to service in my community. It would have been hard for me to imagine in 2001 that I would be recognized in my future for Excellence in Leadership, Outstanding Community Service, along with other awards, but all that happened because I took a long hard look at who I was, and changed to who I wanted to be, and all with the support of Schwab leadership. Thank you, Chuck, thank you, Walt, thank you, Carrie.”