Written by Bari Beilinson, FC Academy Cohort Trainee at Charles Schwab
Content sponsored by Charles Schwab & Co.
I’ll never forget that during my junior year of college my advisor told me that as a Jewish female it would be difficult being successful as a finance major, implying it was a man’s world. So, I changed my major to marketing; however, my heart kept pulling me towards finance. By graduation, I knew I needed to follow my gut and decided to pursue a career in finance anyway. I discovered Schwab’s Financial Consultant Academy, a rotational program that prepares individuals for a career as a financial consultant. My interest peaked. I knew that Schwab was a trusted name in the industry and decided to brush aside the assumption that a financial institution would not be a good place for me. Motivated that this Academy fosters, trains, and mentors its new employees, and consults with them before, during, and after they complete the program, I accepted the job. Now 14 months later, I feel like a completely changed person.
Moving from Austin to Dallas, I began a Jewish outreach community that reaches 500 young professionals. I was excited to find out how I could make my individual mark at Schwab. I had a good feeling on day one and instantly connected with the people around me. One of them became a mentor and later my best friend. I was amazed when I learned that my team was the first in the Academy where women were the majority, not the minority. We were defying the stereotype that only men are financial consultants. Additionally, being at a company that honors and champions diversity is remarkable.
Charles Schwab was founded on a principle of “seeing through the client’s eyes” and I discovered that empathy doesn’t end with our clients; it extends to its employees as well. When I sat down with a member of our Executive Council he said “we challenge you to challenge us.” He told me a story of an employee who loved Schwab, but knew her position in the company was not a match. The executive and the employee partnered together to find a job that she excelled in. Working for a company that values transparency and exhibits genuine care for its employees is so refreshing.
Coming to Charles Schwab has been life altering for me personally and professionally. Consulting over the phones with clients and dealing with hundreds of questions and dozens of personalities has taught me the importance of listening, and I mean really listening! Schwab has shown me how to present complex issues in a simple and straightforward manner. In fact, we are expected to learn to manage high net worth portfolios. My former self would have felt scared to take on that challenge or call myself a leader in this financial profession, but Schwab is changing that. Schwab has taught me that this industry is really about building relationships with clients, whether they have two hundred dollars or two hundred million dollars in their portfolio.
Separately, a few colleagues and I formed a Lean In Circle, which is part of a global community dedicated to help women achieve their ambitions. Similarly, I am shaping a peer-to-peer mentorship program to support, encourage, and provide an environment for women to thrive at Schwab. On a more personal note, we have made the courageous decision to move away from our friends and family to help our clients achieve financial freedom. And somehow, we’ve found a place to call home in Westlake, Texas. So, in an effort to bring us closer to create our “schwamily”, I wanted to cultivate a place for people to feel at home. I have combined my passion for giving back to the community with my passion for recognizing my colleagues for the incredible work they do. Also, I helped establish a committee that encompassed volunteering, team building, and recognition awards for the Academy.
I’ve seen how this open and supportive environment we have created brings forth bravery, leadership, and a sense of comfort in the uncomfortable. My manager at the time, Jess Noe, repeatedly discusses the importance of feeling comfortable enough in order to give and receive feedback to and from colleagues and leadership at all levels. He has taught me the immense power of being in a company that seeks to challenge the status quo by inciting feminine voices and a variety of different opinions to every table. Consistent encouragement to speak up for what is right for the client, for myself, and for my co-workers is more than motivating – it is inspiring.
That young college graduate is now developing into a self-assured leader. In such a short period of time, I have learned to embrace the confident leader my mom taught me to be, and I attribute this entirely to my work here at Schwab. I am committed to this company because being different is celebrated, collaboration is encouraged, and ethical behavior is embedded in the culture. I am both lucky and grateful that Schwab chose me. I am a young, empowered woman helping to build Schwab’s story one client at a time. I always knew I would need to drive myself to success, what I didn’t know was how supportive my company could be. Schwab is vested in my future because my future is their future.
Learn more about Schwab’s Financial Consultant Academy: https://aboutschwab.com/work-at-schwab/college-grads/fcacademy