When Chuck founded Charles Schwab 40+ years ago, jobs were for life and company loyalty was a two-way street. Today tenure in jobs is 3-5 years. Employees are more demanding, wanting not just a job but a career with purpose. Few, however, automatically think of the financial services industry as the place to do this. It’s an industry they associate with scandals, a lack of ethics, and an old school attitude.
Jennifer Fedora’s story is no different. She found herself in an industry she did not want to be in. Her parents were both stock brokers, so as a young adult, she wanted to run as far away from the business as she could. She just didn’t want to be that person that followed in her parent’s footsteps, which as she reflects today, agrees it sounds silly but back then it made perfect sense to her.
“I think it goes back to the values that Schwab has though. I think my stigma of the industry 20+ years ago was a little bit jaded. As I think about Schwab and our values, I guess I might have been a little shortsighted.”
She finished school and ended up with an advertising degree. She fell in love, got married and found herself looking for a job after her and her husband moved to Colorado. She saw a tiny print ad in the newspaper for Prudential Securities hiring stock brokers. She remembers thinking, “If my parents can do it, I can do it too.” So she went in, signed up, they hired her and she got her licenses, and was a retail stock broker.
It was one of the hardest things she has ever done in her entire career. She did it for long enough to realize she didn’t want to do that as a long term career, found herself working in mutual fund call centers, and ultimately found herself in leadership roles in that environment. She was lucky and had terrific leaders that believed in her, supported her, encouraged her and she has grown her career since. She has worked at three different wire houses, if you will, and financial service companies, after starting in the industry at Prudential Securities. Over the years she has come to love the business. She loves the impact we’re making, just celebrated her 10 year anniversary and is enjoying her current role as SVP, Investor Services Field Enablement.
Since she had such great support from her leadership over the years, she firmly believes in paying it forward and speaks with as many Schwabbies as she can about their career, including their journey and how she can help by either acting as a sponsor, coach, or mentor. She believes that support is so important for the next generation of leaders and that next generation of talent that is coming to Schwab.
She also takes time to speak with women who are considering a career in financial services, since she believed the stigma initially; she wants other women to realize it’s not like that at Schwab.
“I say sign up, ladies. Absolutely sign up. As a woman in this business, as a woman that [has grown up in this business], we need more. We need more women. We need more thinking from different levels, from different backgrounds and different experiences. And what I have found is the more diverse workplace we have the better we are at thinking about our clients, thinking about our employees, making bigger decisions that are going to make positive, lasting impacts. We offer so many programs and so many outlets and so much support for women that want to come into this business. The more conversations I have with women that are entering our business, the more that stigma breaks down. I think there’s a stigma that it’s a lot of math and you have to be a trader and you really have to understand the markets. Some of the best leaders I have ever met are women who understand the markets and trading far better than some of my other colleagues.
“I would tell any woman, come to Schwab, come sign up to be on the Schwab team, because we need that diversity of thinking, not just with women, but across diversity groups.”
That’s Jennifer’s Schwab Story. Start Yours!