Helping to change hearts and minds
Job Title: Manager – Payment Services, Product Development
I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. I also have an MBA in Economic Crime and Fraud Management from Utica College. I’ve worked in financial services for 16 years, focused primarily on operations and risk management.
Your first day at Discover, what were your thoughts?
“I am surrounded by smart, funny people who love what they do. This was a good move.” After 8 years with the company, I am happy to say I feel the same exact way.
Diving a little deeper, how is Discover following our values of “Doing The Right Thing”?
I’ve been fortunate to be on teams of smart, passionate people. We work hard, we have fun, and we get stuff done. Sometimes you befriend your colleagues and sometimes they are just teammates who come and go. I’m proud of the work I’ve done in product and fraud risk management, but perhaps my proudest and most humbling achievements have been with the PRIDE Employee Resource Group at Discover’s headquarters.
Over the years I’ve managed PRIDE’s education initiatives before becoming co-chair for our chapter. Of my time with the group, two particular instances stand out. We’ve had a speaker from PFLAG present on campus multiple times, once on how to be an Ally to the LGBT community and once on trans inclusion. After the ally training, we had a new member come to the next membership meeting and share that she had been moved to tears by the training. She freely admitted she hadn’t been the most accepting person in the past, but the speaker had altered her perspective and she wanted to change. Needless to say, we welcomed her with open arms!
Another memory that stands out was after a trans ally training. We received an email from an attendee whose neighbor’s child had recently come out as trans. The neighbor was supportive, but wasn’t sure what to do next. This employee leapt into action – they gave the neighbor their copy of PFLAG’s guide to being a trans ally, directed them to the PFLAG website, and shared a few quick tips they remembered from the training. The neighbor was grateful, and asked for additional copies of the guide for the grandparents. Both of these were powerful moments of validation for me that we are definitely Doing the Right Thing – not only arming people with information, but helping to change hearts and minds.
Through these experiences, I’ve been able to clearly see the impact of the work I do reflected in the results we’ve achieved – and that has been immensely rewarding.
Diversity and Inclusion is part of our DNA
At Discover, we strive to create a work environment where unique individuals can come to work each day and make a real difference. Discover’s Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) efforts in particular are aimed at using the differences in your perspectives and backgrounds to create value and success for the company. Our diversity is one of our greatest assets and we believe it’s one of the main reasons we are able to serve our customers so well.
Since the launch of a dedicated D&I program at Discover, we’ve seen tremendous growth in initiatives that support an inclusive culture both inside and outside of our office walls. In 2013, we started our efforts with seven Employee Resource Groups (ERG), a number that now stands at 10 Employee Resource Groups and 39 ERG chapters across all of our major locations.
Discover’s ERGs help us recognize that there is strength in our differences and remind us that diversity and inclusion is part of our DNA. In order to help our ERGs make the most impact to employees, our communities, and the business, we make sure the strategic plans for each group align with overall company strategies and include activities that:
- Build cultural awareness
- Impact professional development, and
- Grow our customer base
The Mission of our ERGs
|Accentuating Discover Abilities (ADA)||To foster an inclusive environment where individuals with disabilities are valued and respected, thereby maximizing the empowerment of the individual and company performance.|
|Asian Professionals at Discover (APAD)||To enhance Asian cultural awareness by creating and supporting volunteer opportunities while fostering an environment that promotes professional development.|
|Black Organizational Leadership at Discover (BOLD)||To provide a support network for employees at Discover that fosters an inclusive environment that promotes growth, leadership, and talent development.|
|Generations of Leaders at Discover (GOLD)||To create environment that fosters opportunities to collaborate across Discover leveraging employee talent, experience and knowledge to positively impact our leadership and financial well-being.|
|Honoring Military & Veterans (HMV)||To bring awareness and understanding of military-related skills that impact Discover, identify veteran employee needs and work to drive business solutions. HMV strives to act as a focus group evaluating Service member benefits and coordinates activities to highlight and honor the military both at Discover and within the community.|
|Helping Organize Latino Achievement (¡HOLA!)||To be at the center of the Latino community by sharing insights that can help Discover harness the full potential of its employees, partners and customers. ¡HOLA! will create and develop the leaders of tomorrow through professional development, networking, cultural awareness and knowledge sharing.|
|Native American Professionals at Discover (N8V)||To create an inclusive environment for Native American professionals by promoting Native American heritage through education, networking, cultural and social opportunities. N8V partners with local Native American communities to give exposure about the company’s core values, beliefs, products and services.|
|PRIDE – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Allies||To unite the power and potential of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and ally employees in their careers and to contribute to Discover customers, employees, suppliers and communities.|
|Professional Women Impacting Results (PWIR)||To provide development and networking opportunities to further enhance the effectiveness of women across the organization.|
|Young Professionals of Discover (YPOD)||To ignite progress, inspire others and cultivate tomorrow’s leaders. YPOD aims to provide developmental, networking and leadership opportunities for motivated young professionals and their advocates, supports and reinforces Discover’s core business objectives by leveraging personal and professional insights to spark innovation, while enhancing the company’s reputation through voluntary service in our communities.|
Learn more about Discover’s Employee Resource Groups.
I am proof that diverse backgrounds make for good employees
In October, I’ll be celebrating my 19th anniversary with Discover. I’ve had amazing opportunities that have helped my career as well as the business. I have supported the launch of various products and services including the Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Card, Discover Personal Loans and the Discover Home Loans business. I’ve led project management and application delivery teams that support key customer touchpoints such as fraud, payments and customer communications. I also supported our Deposits business for a number of years. Before I joined Discover I worked for a large property-casualty insurance company in a variety of business and IT roles. I am proof that diverse backgrounds make for good employees – my undergraduate degree is in Humanities from Shimer College and my graduate degree is in Nonprofit Administration from North Park University.
How do you as a leader help move the diversity and inclusion needle forward at Discover?
One of the ways in which I support our diversity strategy is by being an active employee resource group (ERG) member. I am proud to be one of the founding co-chairs of Professional Women Impacting Results (PWIR) and a past chair of Black Organizational Leadership at Discover (BOLD). Another way is my work with Diversity Recruiting, Talent Acquisition and now the Business Technology Diversity and Inclusion committee to attract and recruit diverse talent. I mentor new employees that join our company through those efforts. Additionally, I work with Community Affairs and leverage Discover’s philanthropic efforts to support our diversity goals. The Discover Corporate Scholars program through the UNCF is an example of that work .
How have you seen the Diversity & Inclusion evolve during your 19 years here at Discover?
The largest change is that we are now intentional in speaking about the need to address diverse representation as well as work to create a more inclusive culture.
Why do you think having a diverse employee base is beneficial to the company?
Companies with a diverse employee base perform better financially. Our customers – consumer and merchants – expect products and services that meet their needs and the most innovative solutions come from teams of diverse thinkers. A diverse employee base provides unique perspectives that highlight opportunities that might otherwise be missed. Diverse employees help the company better understand the voice of the customer. When we provide the best customer service possible everything else falls into place – a successful business, a reputable brand, and loyal customers.
Learn more about our Employee Resource groups here.
Discover Has Been My Life, I Grew Up Here
Job Title: Team Leader – Cardmember Assistance
I started as an outbound phone collector and collected for 4 years, then was promoted to coach. I was asked to cover two teams early in my coaching career and that earned me a promotion to Team Leader. Throughout the years I have served in a variety of leadership roles at Discover. Locally, I am the Phoenix PRIDE Employee Resource Group (ERG) Chair, and serve as a member of several other ERGs.
Discover is dedicated to helping employees with career growth. Those who show success in results and leadership can really stake out a career here. I myself have been afforded an opportunity to showcase my greatest skills in communication and helping keep employees engaged every day.
For several years I served as a Hiring Manager in Cardmember assistance. During that time, I was one of the first faces a potential job candidate saw when they came for an interview. When looking to hire someone I always told them all of the things I liked about them and why I think they will find success here. Highlighting for them the strengths that work best with Discover’s culture and support of our values helps them hit the ground running and to be successful from day one. Many of my managers have been mentors to me and have made me feel valued. I strive to give back to the organization in the same way by carrying that forward.
I have had many employees tell me in the hallways that this dialogue is why they chose Discover over a competitor or even another job closer to home. It was my favorite part of hiring.
I love creating an open atmosphere and encourage all employees to reach their potential, and do so by living authentic lives in the work place. The culture here is unparalleled and I truly appreciate Discover for that.
Interested in working in Cardmember Assistance? Search & apply for careers in Customer Service.