Salute to Service

May 10, 2024 00:18:43
Salute to Service
Side of the Desk
Salute to Service

May 10 2024 | 00:18:43

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Show Notes

Side of the Desk sits down with associate Chad for Military Appreciation Month. Listen to learn about our Military Community Resource Group, FIVE, and how Fidelity supports its veterans. #FidelityAssociate

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Episode Transcript

Mark Leavens Hi, everyone. Welcome to today's episode of side of the desk. my name is Mark Leavens, and I'll be your host today. And I'm joined by Chad Johnson, who's going to be talking with me about, Mark Leavens our favorite month here, May, which is going to be Military Appreciation Month. So Chad has a really great role here. Mark Leavens I'm excited to dive in, understand more about what he does, what one of Fidelity's employee resources five is and how it helps support our veterans and current military. So, Chad, let's just start off and have you introduce yourself and talk a little bit about what you do. Chad Johnson Yeah. Thanks, Mark. And thank you so much for the opportunity. so. Hello, everyone. My name's Chad Johnson, and I'm the military community lead here at Fidelity Investments. And so it is my job to, look at Fidelity's portfolio of products, benefits, and services and see if I can make them work better for the military community. I'm a veteran myself. Chad Johnson I was in, U.S. Marine Corps from 2000, 2004 before I started my fidelity career. And, I've been with fidelity for around 20 years. also currently one of the two global co-chairs for five, which is the Fidelity Investments Chad Johnson military community ERG and couldn't be more honored, to be in the position I am to think through and help those other military men and women, around the globe. Chad Johnson Yeah. Mark Leavens Awesome. Chad. 20 years is a really long time to be Chad Johnson absolutely. Chad Johnson Yeah. Chad Johnson you think about it, like when folks go into the military, it's usually, our younger men and women, you can enlist as soon as 18 and 17, in some cases. And so if you did a four year career, you'd be getting out of the military around the age of 21, 22 years old. Chad Johnson And so, generally speaking, you may that may be your first job. Right? So you kind of like, need to know what's next. And I think that's where we can really help out. Chad Johnson because fidelity has such great things. Chad Johnson know, we have all of these products that we have, that we can really help our military men and women sort of find their financial future. Chad Johnson And so that's really what I'm looking into is how can I take this, this great, you know, set of services that we have and just introduce them to the community because it's awesome that we have them. But a lot of folks don't know that we have them. And so that's sort of what we're working on is, is a campaign or a marketing strategy or, you know, just trying to like build that trust within the community so that they know, hey, if you know, is a great place, a place I know where I can put, my finances and they'll take care of them. Mark Leavens Awesome. It really helps us understand. You know, how we can educate everyone out there. And you know, it's not just, you know, being a veteran and you've, you know, say, served for four years, and you're saying, okay, I'm looking for my second job. Is it also, you know, outside of benefits. So, you know, whether it's retirement or otherwise, is it actually actively helping employees? Mark Leavens new employees come to fidelity as well. Is that part of what you're working on? Chad Johnson Absolutely. Yeah. Because I think one of the things is like when you think about the nuances of the military community, there are some things that we bring to the table that others don't. and so I'll just give a small example of. So the military has what's called, Thrift Savings Plan or TSP for short. And so that's like the military's version of a 401 K. Chad Johnson A lot of newer service members have that. They've contributed to that. While they were active duty. that wasn't available for me when I was active. So that's post where I was. But if they have those, like, what are they doing with those funds? Like, so we can sort of give them advice is sort of like, hey, if you wanted to move them over, here's how you can do it. Chad Johnson But they also have, Chad Johnson potential of, of VA benefits, right? So whether it's the, the GI Bill where they have money that they can use for education so they can go back to school, do they have a pension if they retired or do they have disability benefits, meaning that like they had a service related disability and now the VA is like, you know, taking care of them. Chad Johnson All of those bring sort of these unique financial nuances, Chad Johnson the community that their, their counterparts don't. And so we want to help them think through, like, how can we maximize that value by potentially using fidelity products to do so. And so that's sort of that where the bridge gap is. And that's sort of where I'm trying to dig in and just let those folks know, hey, we're we know about that stuff. Chad Johnson And we actually want to help you maximize and take it to the next level so that you're, you know, your future is taking care of. Mark Leavens So if I have, you know, friends or family who are active or former. Mark Leavens So if I have friends that are either former military or current military that want to really dive in and understand, Mark Leavens is fidelity, Mark Leavens in their bases, how do they understand or find fidelity where they're at to help them with this? Chad Johnson Yeah. Chad Johnson So one of the big pieces of strategy that we're we're focused on is we're trying to meet folks where they are. so, for example, there's a, a military money conference in Denver, Colorado, called Military Money Con. And so we are going to go there. And so myself and a team of financial representatives are going to go there and talk through what fidelity can do for these service members. Chad Johnson and then later in the year, we're going to go to a veterans NBA event and in, Atlanta, Georgia. And so that's sort of us getting out into the Chad Johnson public and showing, you know, fidelity showing up where these folks are instead of them having to come to us, we're going to them. And then we're sort of like talking through all the potentials that fidelity has. Chad Johnson And the other thing that we're trying to do is make the sort of the entry to the financial ecosystem a little easier just by having those conversations. Right? Because a lot of times it can be really intimidating. Chad Johnson I think folks kind of understand the basics of having a checking and savings account. I think we all know working for fidelity, that there's so much more to understand. Chad Johnson And so what we're trying to do is really, Chad Johnson make the entry to that system a little bit easier to understand so it doesn't seem so overwhelming. Chad Johnson Yeah. Mark Leavens Right. So, with money being not quite a taboo subject, but something that a lot of people either struggle to bring up and talk to their significant other about or talk to even themselves about. How are we approaching this with, Mark Leavens kind of Mark Leavens Fidelity's take, if you will, on, Mark Leavens hey, veterans, people of the military community, we've got all of this knowledge come to us. Mark Leavens And I know you've touched on meeting them where they're at, but how do we kind of further that conversation to say not only what will meet you where you're at, but, you know, hey, let's really dive in on a one on one basis or a, Mark Leavens a podcast like this where we're talking more broadly about the benefits of offer. Mark Leavens How are we diving into those different areas? Chad Johnson So I have several financial reps across the country that have reached out to me and said, hey, this is what I'm thinking. And so we're sort of putting together this idea that what if we were able to, sort of broadcast that we had, you know, I want to say specially trained, but we had folks that were trained on the nuances of the community and sort of understand that lived experience, and so would we be able to market that. Chad Johnson And so we sort of have a few things that we're working on that we're hoping come to fruition at the end of the year. but that's sort of to that point. We're trying to put people, Chad Johnson at ease knowing that there's others that have had that lived experience that also work for the company. And so, that's where sort of five comes in. Chad Johnson And so, Chad Johnson the fidelity affinity group that we have, it's mostly focused internally on associates, but at the same time, right. Understanding that there are like 4000 members of of that affinity group across the country, that can sort of help us tell that story. and so we sort of we, we do get involved externally with some volunteer events and things like that, but it's continuing just to tell that story that there are a lot of folks in the military community that work at fidelity, and we sort of understand. Chad Johnson And again, we're just trying to make it, a little bit easier and to remove those barriers to entry, because I think that's what is like the vulnerability aspect. Right? Nobody from the military wants to show vulnerability, including myself. Like, I struggle with that. Like I don't ever want to feel like I have to ask for help. But at the end of the day, I would not be in the position I'm in if folks can help me along the way. Chad Johnson And so just by getting out there and telling those stories, it helps to the ripple effect. If one person hears it and then another hears it and so on and so on, and it becomes much, much bigger impact because they're like, oh, I could totally see myself there. I could see myself using fidelity, to get to where I want to go. Mark Leavens That's really good. So let's dive into that employee resource group. That erg a little bit more. You said there's 4000 members right now. What does that look like within fidelity? If you're just, a normal member, not a chair like you are, but a normal member, what does that look like from support, from any other viewpoint that you'd like to just dive in on? Chad Johnson so we have, like, a chair and a co-chair in every region and fidelity. So that's our ten major regions. And so what we try to do is when folks are coming on board, we try to get, Chad Johnson into the, like the new new hire, like, onboarding process. And so they know, hey, there's a there's a military affinity group. Chad Johnson And then we have, a SharePoint site internally where you can click to learn more. And, we send emails to all of our new members once a month to say, glad to have you here. Let us know if Chad Johnson there's anything we can do for you. And then once we sort of connect, that's where we really dive in and talk about networking aspect, right? Chad Johnson Reach out to the folks in your region. reach out to one of the co-chairs and, get involved, looking at all the potential of opportunities that we have, whether it's volunteer or such. but we really do have those support structures in each region, so that our folks feel like, oh, this is cool. There's a group here, we get engaged, and then it really helps the person sort of get up to speed and feel more at home much, much quicker. Chad Johnson because I know that when I first started working at fidelity back in, 2004, like it took me sort of a long time to feel like I fit in. And so we're trying to remove that sort of that thought process because we want folks to know that, yes, there's a lot of other folks just like you here, and let's connect you with them, so that you can also learn and hopefully benefit from their lived experience, because it can really go a long way to people feeling like this is home for them. Mark Leavens That's Mark Leavens awesome. So I want to talk about you for a second and ask you Mark Leavens What is your Mark Leavens favorite part about Mark Leavens being a chair? Being part of five. What is being at fidelity? What's your favorite part? Chad Johnson honestly, it's to serve aspect. Chad Johnson I always felt like when I was in the Marine Corps, like that was going to be sort of my, my thing, like, I was really great at being a marine. but then when I got out, I made my decision to get out after I came back from a tour in Iraq for multitude of reasons. Chad Johnson but I always felt like my service wasn't complete, and I felt sort of Chad Johnson this whole and I and it didn't like it. And so when I got involved with five things really sort of turned a corner for me. And so I started to, be around others that had that same experience and I could talk to them about it, and then thinking through like, there's an opportunity for us to really make some make some waves, whether we volunteer in the community or whether we host events at work. Chad Johnson just sort of like really digging in and getting involved. and so that service aspect for me, Chad Johnson is just, you know, it's sort of like ingrained at this point. And then so being the co-chair and like sort of being able to drive strategy and thinking through like, how can we sort of, Chad Johnson no pun intended, but lead from the front, right, instead of, you know, sort of taking, and being in a, in a support role, like, how can, how can five step up and do some stuff. Chad Johnson And we did some fantastic things. last year during Solidarity Week, kind of we're seeing who is one of, he's a part of the Sikh faith and his story about how he stayed in the US Army, even though he did, and to keep his faith was the the highest viewed, webinar during Solidarity Week. And so we were super excited about that. Chad Johnson This was just awesome information and just kind of shows all the different nuances and aspects that folks bring to fidelity and just how that makes us so much better as a company, because those lived experiences are helping us to provide that customer service and that top notch, Chad Johnson customer obsession network that we're always talking about. And so just being a small part of that is an a tremendous honor. Chad Johnson for me. Mark Leavens Wow. Fantastic answer. Couldn't ask for Mark Leavens do want to make sure that we stress, to all of the veterans out there and anyone serving. Thank you so much for your service. Mark Leavens I would love to shout out my brother, who's currently serving, Mark Leavens rivalries, obviously my mind is drawn to sports. And when we think about appreciation, I know that there's always opportunity for us to thank you in a public setting. But from a overall view, like I said at the beginning of this conversation, it's Military Appreciation Month in May. What does that mean to you? How can I, as a non serving person, make sure that you feel appreciated or anybody else? Chad Johnson I say, like, So may as a sort of a tough month for the the military community for, for a couple reasons. Number one, Memorial Day is in May, and Memorial Day is not for the veterans. Memorial day is to remember those that we've lost. And so it's always sort of this somber, sort of ending to the month for us because we have to remember those folks that, that are no longer here with us. Chad Johnson but when we talk about the appreciation factor, it's the, myself, folks. I'm like, if you want to thank somebody for their service, like, it's okay to say thank you for your service, but I might just go one step further so they know it's not just, something you send top of mind. So thank you so much for your service. Chad Johnson I greatly appreciate it. just sort of add a little bit of context to it, and it makes all the difference in the world, because then they know that you sort of thought about what you were saying, and it wasn't just, you felt, you know, obligated to say it. And so that goes a really, really long way. Chad Johnson and for me, it's, Chad Johnson I think it's, Chad Johnson it's very tough. Like, I didn't go into the military for people to say, hey, thank you for serving. It was an honor for me to be able to serve this country. And, so for me, it's, Chad Johnson I guess just being part of being able to make sure that folks know that we truly do think about them and that we are very proud of what they've done, during their service. Chad Johnson it's probably the best part for me. And then also just being able to sort of catch up with colleagues and some of my Marines around the country and just, you know, we always sort of get together around this time of year and we talk through like, hey, and we are following, our fellow Marines, like we talk about them and we bring their memories back to life because ultimately, it's our responsibility as those that survive to to make sure their memories aren't forgotten. Chad Johnson And so we do that. and so it's a little sad, but at the same time it like, reminds us that, you know, we still have a mission, we still have to keep moving forward, and we have to remind ourselves to to continue and try to help those that are that are here with us. And so, again, being in the position I'm in, it's just an honor to be able to do that on a daily basis. Mark Leavens Well said Chad, I, I I'm really personally just happy that we have the five community that exists here. I'm learning so much about it from you. If you were to kind of sum up Mark Leavens what the employee resource group, the ERG, what it does Mark Leavens in a couple sentences, how would you best position Mark Leavens what it is? Chad Johnson Yep. So I would say Chad Johnson it is a, Chad Johnson a group of, individuals who are extremely, excited about helping and to acclimate folks to the fidelity culture, with a little bit of a nuance. And so I think that's probably where the power of our connection comes into play, to let folks know, like, this is a place where you can you can find success. Chad Johnson This is a place where you can be comfortable, and this is a place where you can bring that lived experience. And we want to hear about it because, at the end of the day, Chad Johnson the world doesn't fall in love when someone's story, when everything's going well, the world falls in love with your story. When you get through struggle and you still come out on the other side. Chad Johnson And so that's really what we, we strive ourselves on, is that we know that there struggle and we're here to support and help however we can, because we want to know what that story is. And we want to we want to help you move on to whatever it is your next your next chapter is. Mark Leavens So supportive storytellers and listeners. It is what it really sounds like with this group. And then from your role, it's going out into the world and educating what we can do to help veterans with their benefits and what else exists and how we can, you know, really represent fidelity in the best way possible to them, to help them grow. Mark Leavens Is that Chad Johnson Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. You definitely. You sounded up much shorter than I did. Sometimes I have a hard time making a succinct. But that was. That was really well done. Mark Leavens But you do so much. So, I totally understand why it's harder for you to to wrap that up, but, this has been really great. Hopefully, Chad, you know, we can get the word out there of what fidelity is doing to both grow internally with this resource group and then what we're doing to educate and help, you know, foster that conversation, with the larger public. Mark Leavens I really appreciate you joining me today. And again, thank you so much for your service, I appreciate it. I know everyone here does. And really everything you've done to help grow this group is is massive. Chad Johnson Absolutely well. And thank you for your service as well. We know that, family served alongside their service members. So, you know, when you see your brother, tell them I said thank you for for all he's doing now, and, and drop him my my contact card so that we can hook up. And when he gets out, and we'll take care of him for the future. Chad Johnson Absolutely.

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