Finding the perfect fit
Facing challenges head on and proactively looking for opportunities has worked well for this tenured leader.
By Chelsey Sleator, Senior Manager, Communications
Tara Modlin began her career supporting banking technology solutions. While the role matched her skillset, Tara knew she wanted to explore her options, expand her career, and find her perfect fit.
Tara joined TD Ameritrade (TDA) 13 years ago in the Internal Audit department based out of Omaha, NE.
“I had no audit or risk background,” explains Tara. “But after diving into what audit was all about, I discovered finding out what could go wrong was the perfect fit for me. These were my people.”
During her three years in internal audit, Tara learned about the inner workings of TDA and the financial services industry—she also obtained her brokerage licenses at this time. And with this expertise, Tara’s next move was into corporate risk management where she was able to make a big impact.
“I’m proud of this work because it helped create a mindset shift. People started to understand the importance of taking a more risk-based approach to their work.”
Still seeking opportunities, over time Tara added GRC (governance, risk, and compliance) application design and issue management to her list of duties. “I moved into writing the framework and standards in addition to simply administering and upholding them,” explains Tara.
With the news of the Schwab acquisition, Tara knew her next task was finding her fit within the combined company.
To become more familiar with the Schwab, Tara volunteered to be part of the integration work for risk management. And in July, she joined the First Line Risk Management Office at Schwab where she now leads a team that helps other internal teams manage risks with minimal disruption of their day-to-day jobs.
So far, Tara is fitting right in. “The integration work allowed me to make some great connections with Schwab counterparts. And now I’m trying to build on that and create more relationships as I establish myself as a leader across Schwab.”
And with March being Women’s History Month, Tara has been able to reflect on her path to becoming a woman leader in financial services.
“When I look across the leadership landscape, I am part of the minority” explains Tara. “We need to introduce more women to financial services at an early age. Not only will this pave the way for tomorrow’s leaders, but it will serve to increase financial literacy for women, who historically have trended towards other careers.”
As a mother and military spouse, Tara knows there are other factors that can play a role in a woman’s career.
“As I’ve continued to advance my career, I’ve had to do that as a single mom a couple times,” explains Tara, referencing her husband’s deployments. “But it’s made me more resilient in life and work and forced me to take things head on.” Just like she’s doing now at Schwab.
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