“Well, I’ve been a fan of Schwab since I was a teenager,” Lauren Manza says with a laugh. “I became a client because I have a real passion for trading, and all of these years later I’m an employee!”
Lauren is a brand new member of the 2017 Westlake, Texas-based Financial Consultant (FC) Academy cohort. Westlake, a suburb located between Dallas and Fort Worth, is an area of growth for Schwab, and ground breaking for a new Schwab campus there took place in September of this year.
At the first of June, Lauren and 11 others began the nearly two-year journey to complete the FC Academy at Charles Schwab, a developmental rotational program that prepares people for a career as a financial consultant at a branch.
But Lauren’s journey from teenage Schwab client to FC trainee is a unique one. After graduating from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Lauren began her career as a music therapist. She spent the first part of her career working as a special education teacher at a small private school in Texas. “I was really able to make a difference in children’s lives as a music therapist. I really love to help people.”
And it’s that love of helping people that has led her to Schwab. Lauren says that becoming an FC will help her combine her two passions. “I think becoming an FC is the perfect way to combine my love of teaching and my passion for trading. It’s really an opportunity to help and empower people. And when I heard about the FC Academy, I knew it was for me.”
Lauren admits she was nervous on her first day as a trainee, but says she found lots of friendly faces when she walked in the door. “I was excited to start. When I got here, I just had this sensation that something big is happening here and that I’m really lucky to be a part of it.”
The first few weeks of the program have focused on the basics and learning the different tools and systems Schwab employees use. Then it was on to learning to interact with clients over the phone. With the help of experienced trainers, Lauren and her class are now taking calls and focusing on putting client needs first. “It’s been really exciting to see this group become a true class together. There’s a real sense of community with me and my cohort and a feeling that we’re all in this together.” And that community of students is working together, already getting a head start studying for the Series 7, which is the license required to become a broker/dealer in the financial services industry.
Lauren says she’s learned a lot in her first stretch at Schwab, both personally and professionally. “I’ve been a client for a long time. And I came in with a perception of what Schwab was going to be like, and it’s exceeded my expectations. There’s nothing better than confirming what a great company this really is.”
The other thing that’s stuck out to Lauren so far? Schwab’s focus on maximizing the strengths of its employees. “I feel like I’ve really learned to be confident in the strengths I’m bringing to the table, including my music therapy skills. The way the team has lifted me up and supported me, I know I can do this.”
In her spare time, Lauren runs a women’s organization called Flow. It focuses on developing millennial women into tomorrow’s leaders. Lauren will graduate from the FC Academy at the end of 2018 and will be placed in a Charles Schwab Branch.
Charles Schwab will follow the journey of Lauren Manza through the FC Academy. Check back here for regular updates on her progress or follow Lauren’s experience at #myschwabstory #theschwablife