How SoFi’s Mentorship Program Promotes Learning and Growth

Perpetual curiosity is a common trait among our employees at SoFi, and it was this insatiable desire to learn that brought mentee-mentor pair Lindsay Aranha, Bank Operations Manager, and Aaron J. Webster, Chief Risk Officer, Global Head of Operations and LatAm, together. The two formally joined forces via our GROW mentorship program, which seeks to inspire, empower, and elevate our underrepresented employees by fostering professional relationships. GROW stands for - Get your mentorship right, Reiterate your SMART goals, Optimize your time, and Work collaboratively.

How it works: GROW matches future leaders at SoFi with a more senior mentor to receive active coaching, key business knowledge, and advocacy in support of their professional journey. We’re currently in the midst of our third season of GROW, and we’re proud of the program’s success to date, with highlights including:

  • 43% of mentees from seasons one and two have been promoted after participating in the program;
  • 58% of mentors are part of SoFi’s Leadership Group, granting mentees unparalleled access to senior leadership;
  • 80% of mentees feel a sense of belonging, and 83% are continuing to learn and develop in their role following their mentorship experience; 
  • So far in season three, 92% of mentees are satisfied with their connections with their mentor through the first month of the program;  
  • <10% of all GROW participants have left the company, which is extremely low for the industry. This further cements that GROW helps mentees feel empowered and engaged. 

Now, let’s meet our featured mentee-mentor pair: Lindsay Aranha and Aaron J. Webster. 

Please start by sharing what you do here and your favorite thing about working at SoFi. 

Lindsay: I joined SoFi in Operations, Business Controls with a singular, yet ambitious goal: to establish Operations Readiness for SoFi Bank, N.A. With our decision to proceed through the acquisition process (welcome, Golden Pacific Bancorp!) and become a national bank, we expanded our team’s scope and redefined results. My favorite part of working at SoFi is that we focus on results and adapt to changing environments, which feeds my natural - and often insatiable - curiosity. I am a lifelong learner, and SoFi provides many learning opportunities. My current focus is on working across products to improve Operations metrics by integrating with our Risk partners more closely. We are identifying and redefining synergies that will help our enterprise.

“My favorite part of working at SoFi is that we focus on results and adapt to changing environments, which feeds my natural - and often insatiable - curiosity.” 

Aaron: I arrived at SoFi three years ago to lead Risk Management as the Chief Risk Officer. I recently took on an expanded role overseeing all global operations and risk as Chief Risk Officer, Global Head of Operations, and Head of LatAm. What is Risk Management you may ask? It is our team of experts that builds our capabilities across loan/credit eligibility, fraud prevention, cybersecurity, and the foundation we utilized to become a bank! (Readers, you can learn more about our Risk team here.)

I came to SoFi because I believe in the mission of helping everyone achieve financial independence. It has been an amazing experience for many reasons: helping to build the financial services ecosystem of the future, hiring a diverse all-star cast of team members across the country, continuous LI^2, which is our acronym for one of our core values ‘learn, iterate, innovate’, and lastly, pressure-testing so many new products, features, and services!  

What do you hope to gain from being a part of the GROW program? 

Lindsay: SoFi is growing and expanding rapidly. Having a mentor who can give perspective on our strategy, while also helping me identify how I can contribute to the organization, allows me to lead more confidently. What I hoped for in my first match was someone who would be approachable and personable. I got that in ample supply with Aaron! I appreciate the ability to share my perspective, ask questions, and gain experience working with our senior leadership. 

In addition to my mentee-mentor relationship, I value that GROW has curated learning opportunities to help me develop professionally and grow personally. For example, there are networking events with other SoFi team members, which gives me the chance to meet new people who also share my value of continuous learning and wanting to contribute our best selves to SoFi. I want to continue to grow as a leader at SoFi - learning the leadership model through GROW is setting the bar high!

Aaron:  People are my favorite part of my day. Having the opportunity to get to know a team member that I may not have otherwise interacted with gave me a perspective I would not otherwise have.  Our GROW program really unlocked an amazing opportunity for me to share my experience, gain new insight, and be an ally of and advocate for my mentee!

"Our GROW program really unlocked an amazing opportunity for me to share my experience, gain new insight, and be an ally of and advocate for my mentee!"

As a member of our executive team, Aaron, you must be extremely busy. Why is it important for you to make time to be a mentor to others?

Aaron:  Our success as a growing company is 100% attributable to our people.  Having the best people drives meaningfully different outcomes in innovation, growth, and execution. Getting as close as I can - every single day - to high-performing leaders is critical to our growth, retention, and ensuring we have strong alignment to our corporate strategy.  

What advice do you have for others who may be looking to be a mentor or mentee?

Lindsay: For mentees, consider that you drive the outcome. That means what you get out of the relationship is based on what you put in. It can be scary to get started, but keep in mind that through GROW, or an informal relationship, this person has decided to invest in you. For the mentor, coax the mentee to lead the dialogue. Ideally, you’re coaching a rising leader who is soaking up all the wisdom you have to share.  (Readers - Lindsay knows what’s up - she’s been a mentee and has committed to being a mentor in season 4, which begins in August 2022!)

Aaron:  For mentors - you will be rewarded 10x over. Make the commitment, invest the time, lean into what your mentee needs insight on, share experiences and situations, talk about inflection points during your career that mattered. Be open!

Thank you both for sharing your GROW experiences. Meet other GROW season mentee-mentor pairs - Kelzey and AJ, and Krupa and Vinicius

Join the SoFi Talent Community!

The individuals featured are SoFi employees. Their personal experiences, obviously, do not take into account your own specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. Results will vary.

©2022 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.

All your finances.
All in one app.

SoFi QR code, Download now, scan this with your phone’s camera

App Store rating

Kari Scheidt, Talent Brand @ SoFi