At SoFi, our values define us - they are at the center of how we think about serving our members, building our company, and most importantly, how we work together. One of our values is “take care of other people and help them grow”. We believe our people are our greatest differentiator. If we take care of our people, they will take care of our members.
One of the ways we help our team grow is by giving them opportunities to take on stretch projects outside their day jobs. Continue reading to hear Caitlin Charrier share her experience participating in the Career Explorer Program, an initiative dedicated to giving employees in Operations new skills to help them grow their careers.
Before we dig into this exciting topic, we want to learn more about you! We’re dying to know...what is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Caitlin: I’m not one for eating ice cream on a regular basis, but if someone were to push a cup of Lavender Honey ice cream? I definitely would not let it go to waste.
Okay, we know there’s more to you than ice cream. How did you land at SoFi?
Caitlin: I originally was in the theater and film industry. I performed and worked on technical aspects like fight choreography, production design, and special effects makeup. Needless to say, my transition to Fintech was a complete 180! I came across the job listing and realized I wanted to experience a different job field than what had been familiar to me since I was a kid. I applied and got the job! I ultimately joined SoFi because it felt like the first step into the financial world. Its diverse culture and supportive environment has kept me here ever since.
Tell us about what you do here at SoFi.
Caitlin: In my official role outside of the Explorer Program on the Escalations team, I analyze feedback and complaints that we receive from our members and help implement updates reflecting the data. In my Explorer position as a Campus Relations Representative, my day is a little different. Instead of being on the member facing side, I get an entirely different experience. I communicate with colleges and universities on our Private Student Loan product and assist in navigating any disbursement or certification inquiries that we receive. I’m also involved in improving daily processes to increase efficiency.
Outside of these responsibilities, I’m heavily involved in our SoFi Circles, which is what we call Employee Resource Groups at SoFi. I love looking for ways to celebrate the diversity of our employees.
How would you describe the Operations Career Explorer Program?
Caitlin: The Career Explorer Program is designed to help employees in Operations explore cross-functional roles for a period of six months. These opportunities provide employees with a mechanism to enhance their knowledge and skills, gain visibility to leaders outside their functional teams, and grow their professional networks. It essentially involves learning how different teams across the company support our mission and helps broaden the horizon of what’s possible at SoFi.
What intrigued you the most about the program?
Caitlin: The opportunity to network and to feel more at “home” (I don’t know if that’s the right term for it). When someone is getting started at SoFi, it can sometimes be overwhelming and you feel like you are seeing such a small part of the bigger picture. Being able to join a new team - even if it’s temporary - has helped me expand my view of what’s possible, career-wise, at SoFi. Participating in this program has helped me feel like I’m adding more value and helped me define what I want my career path to be. Even if my position is not available right now for a permanent position, being in the Explorer program helped define my next career goal.
Has the program helped you develop new skills? If so, could you describe them?
Oh wow, that’s a loaded question. Moving from Personal Loan and Student Loan Refinance to a team which specializes in Campus Relations and our In School Private Student Loan Product, definitely required me to learn new skills. In fact...it entails learning a whole new product! In addition, I wanted to learn how to network better and I’ve been able to create and maintain a solid community from this experience.
Additionally, the Campus Relations Team specializes in many one-off situations regarding students and universities, so it enables me to expand my critical thinking. I’ve grown accustomed to having new challenges to solve every day.
Lastly, teamwork and communication are two of the biggest things I’ve learned during this program. The volume of work that this team accomplishes each day is impossible to do alone. It’s not easy. In Campus Relations, it’s essential to keep everyone in the loop so that any one of us can assist in interactions. I really value the team and the amount of support we have for each other, and the level of accountability they all commit to.
What type of skills do you want to have developed in the next five years?
I plan to build a strong understanding of what decisions impact key results within the Lending Department, and in turn, be able to analyze and effectively communicate that with members and stakeholders for the benefit of all parties.
What type of role would you like to see yourself in, in five years?
Definitely within an analyst role to develop and improve processes of all of our SoFi products for the benefit of the business and our SoFi Family.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Caitlin!
The individual featured is a SoFi employee. Their personal experiences, obviously, do not take into account your own specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. Results will vary.
©2021 Social Finance, Inc. All rights reserved.