Thought Leadership

Insights and announcements from our subject matter experts and Ascensus leadership team

Ascensus Supports Small Businesses

Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. With these businesses and their workers bearing the brunt of the hardship associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it’s incumbent on the financial services industry to do whatever we can to support them. Many believe that this support will come mainly through federal relief, and that smart legislation—providing financial stimulus and other appropriate relief—will help right the ship.

But there are three ways that the financial services industry can help, as well.

1. Do all within our power to serve our clients faithfully. In this tumultuous time, our clients—along with their clients—need us more than ever. Although the vast majority of retirement industry teams are now working remotely, we must ensure that employers neither see nor feel any differences regarding the services we provide. That means continuing to fulfill our duties—such as processing payrolls accurately, responding promptly to employer and employee questions, and providing thoughtful plan design guidance—in spite of technological and social obstacles.

2. Speak with one voice to Congress and to regulatory officials, who can help employee benefits plans weather this economic storm. Even with major federal legislation recently being signed into law, we continue to advocate for individual and business relief. We can actively support further legislative and regulatory efforts to make plan operations easier for employers and more beneficial for workers. Some of the provisions we think make sense are:

  • Granting employers funding relief. Both defined contribution plans and defined benefit plans would benefit from delayed deadlines and reduced funding obligations.
  • Extending deadlines for reporting and corrections. The federal government should recognize that small businesses may find it especially difficult to meet deadlines for certain required annual reporting. Deadlines should be extended and penalties for late reports should be lessened, especially in light of recent increases under the SECURE Act.
  • Making hardship and coronavirus-related distributions easier for employers to process. If employers allow their participants to distribute their plan assets on account of hardship or coronavirus expenses, they should be able to expedite the payment—and then gather proof of the expenses later.
  • Advocating for financial relief for workers.
    • Relax loan repayments. Employees who struggle to repay plan loans during this crisis should be given some reprieve to avoid a downward financial spiral.
    • Remove the 10% early distribution penalty. This penalty should be eliminated for hardship distributions and for expenses related to the COVID-19 outbreak.
    • Waive 2020 required minimum distributions (RMDs). Without a waiver, individuals would have to take distributions based on valuations that occurred before the markets declined, resulting in disproportionately high RMDs. Individuals who have already taken 2020 RMDs should be allowed to roll over such distributions in the event that a 2020 RMD waiver is enacted.

Already, our efforts have helped several relief provisions—including the 2020 RMD waiver noted above and an extended plan amendment deadline—become part of a bill that was just enacted. The provisions listed above represent just a few of Ascensus’ advocacy efforts that are intended to assist those employers, employees, and service providers adversely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

3. Support the long-term success of workplace retirement plans. As we all know, many small business owners have overcome financial and administrative obstacles to offer retirement benefits to employees. Now—of all times—we should help these businesses maintain their plans through this financial downturn. The president has just signed into law a massive relief bill, which includes a number of beneficial retirement plan provisions. But this is just the start of a longer-term effort to guide our clients through the many questions and concerns they will have about implementing all the new rules. We still have a monumental responsibility to push for effective relief from the IRS and other federal agencies that will interpret the new statutes.

Our industry shouldn’t lose sight of the importance of facilitating long-term retirement savings—by serving our constituents faithfully, by pushing for specific federal retirement plan relief, and by giving our clients tools to stay in their plans for the long run.

Our country will eventually emerge from this situation stronger than ever. If historical patterns hold true, financial markets will also rebound. When that happens, businesses that have maintained their plans—and workers who have allowed their retirement savings to go untouched—will be in a position to see that their retirement goals are intact and on the road to recovery.

This is why financial services firms must do their part to reinforce and sustain the employers and workers that have helped keep our economy vital for so long.

Legislative and regulatory information contained in this piece will be refreshed as events continue to unfold. Please check back regularly for updates.

Workplace Benefits for Small Businesses and Non-Traditional Workers

With Small Business Saturday just behind us, we wanted to consider the distinctive challenges that this growing segment of workers faces and the unique opportunity that these challenges present for financial advisors.

Fifty-nine million American workers, 47.5% of the U.S. workforce, are employed in small business. This includes a growing number of professionals in the emerging “gig” economy, where temporary positions are common. These small market workers struggle to receive the same salaries, employer-based benefit plans, and insurance as employees at larger companies.


Public Policy Responds

The government is responding to this workplace challenge with new retirement plan solutions at both the state and federal level.

  • State-facilitated retirement programs—recently initiated in California, Oregon, Illinois, Connecticut, Maryland, and the City of Seattle—are on track to reduce the nation’s plan coverage deficit by 17%.
  • Congress is considering proposals to loosen membership restrictions for multiple-employer plans (MEPs), which would enable more small businesses to jointly sponsor a retirement plan. MEPs could lessen both costs and the administrative burden for small business owners looking to offer a plan.


Service Providers Offer Additional Solutions for Small Employers

Advisors, plan recordkeepers, and third-party administrators are also using their professional expertise and evolving technologies to close the retirement plan coverage gap. Their services are making it easier for small businesses to sponsor plans and improve employee savings outcomes.


Collaborating with Third-Party Administrators

To address business owners’ concerns about the time and resources required to administer a plan, advisors can partner with a local TPA. TPAs can consult on specialized plan design, translating technical details into more easily understood benefits for both the sponsor and employees


Outsourcing Administrative Functions

More small employers are outsourcing the administrative functions surrounding fiduciary compliance with Section 3(16) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. This ensures that their plan operations are compliant with regulatory mandates.


Choosing Cash Balance Plans

Cash balance plans combine the portability, flexibility, and simplicity of 401(k) plans with the high contribution limits of traditional defined benefit plans. Today’s cash balance plans have more than $1 trillion in assets, an increase of 61% since 2010.


Comparing Pricing Models

Small businesses are collaborating with advisors to determine the best retirement plan pricing structure for their company’s needs: asset-based or flat-dollar, per participant tiers. To demonstrate the impact of these different structures on a plan’s market value, advisors can use our plan comparison tool. It allows them to run a custom illustration for their clients’ plans.


The Essential Role of Purpose-Built Firms

Small employers and their advisors need recordkeepers that build modern best practices into their service model while offering expertise, technology, versatility, and independence. These purpose-built firms create greater efficiency for advisors and provide necessary support as financial services for the changing workplace continue to evolve.

To find out more, download the full whitepaper or contact an Ascensus representative today.

2018 Year in Review: Ascensus’ Marketing and Digital Work Receives Top Honors

At Ascensus, our mission is to help millions of people save for what matters most—retirement, education, and healthcare. This mission is at the core of each project our content, creative, and digital teams undertakes. And, we’re honored each time we receive industry recognition for our efforts.

I’m excited to announce that over the course of 2018, our team received a total of 43 awards for marketing, design, and digital excellence from the following programs:

  • Named Marketing and Public Relations Department of the Year by the Business Intelligence Group;
  • 19 awards from the 24th Annual Communicator Awards program, the leading international awards program “recognizing big ideas in marketing and communications” and sponsored by the Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts;
  • 11 awards from the 2018 ASTRA Awards, sponsored by the New Jersey Communications, Advertising, and Marketing Association;
  • 9 awards from Graphic Design USA’s American Inhouse Design Awards™ (GDUSA) program, the nation’s original and premier showcase for outstanding work done by in-house designers and departments;
  • 2 awards from the STAR Awards, honoring extraordinary marketing communications innovation and education efforts within the investment management industry and presented by the MFEA (Mutual Fund Education Alliance); and
  • Silver award for Public Relations, B2B category from the Financial Communications Society Portfolio Awards.

As we look ahead to 2019, our marketing organization will continue to innovate, refine our expertise, and build talent to help millions achieve their savings goals.

Defining a Service Culture

Interview with Rick Irace, Chief Operating Officer

How would you describe the Ascensus service philosophy?

Our retirement plan service team rallies around four key concepts:

  1. Trust is the most important factor. Particularly among smaller, start-up plans, our services must be transparent and understandable and delivered through language and concepts that clients readily understand. Many clients chose us because our values resonate with those of their organizations. That’s an expression of trust.
  2. Keep a client-based perspective. While client goals have always been a key aspect of the dialogue, we need to understand client needs today in greater depth than ever before.
  3. Consult with employees on a personal level, considering their complete picture. We recognize that plan participants’ lives also revolve around non-financial factors, such as their family, health, and home. When we help them make decisions about their savings strategy, we need to take a more holistic approach. Our view must be broader than simply the financial returns that our savings plans can provide.
  4. Focus on simple, intuitive interactions. Platforms should focus on the needs of their end users: advisors, plan sponsor clients, and employees. Our digital experiences and approaches to plan design and relationship management are simple by design. It helps that Ascensus has a broad range of investment options, offered through an open architecture platform and via simplified savings tools that help clients to track their progress on the road to retirement readiness through tangible benchmarks.

How does Ascensus present itself to the market? 

It’s a service culture. Every activity is completed with the client in mind. We prioritize quality and integrity as core values. We encourage our team to be bold. From the top down, we are an entrepreneurial culture and our team believes and executes proactively with this in mind.

Of course, we have different levels of service. Our elite advisors and TPAs benefit from additional support and access, just as in any customer loyalty program. These clients get dedicated service teams, additional levels of consultation, greater access to our senior leadership, early access to product roadmaps, and strategic account managers that act as trusted advocates for the advisor or TPA inside of Ascensus.

Describe Ascensus’ expertise servicing startup plans.

We have a broad range of experience, but we do have a “sweet spot” with smaller plans and massive expertise supporting new plans. We offer an attractive price point for startups and we use our scale to deliver quality client service and a solid investment lineup. Startup plans have access to the same open architecture as everyone else.

We are particularly adept at plan establishment and onboarding and we can take many of the administrative burdens off the shoulders of new plans. Small business owners are incredibly busy and we take them through the startup process step-by-step online, working with their advisors and TPAs. Most of what we do is automated, so there is very little paperwork. We use a dedicated service team that stays with new clients throughout their first year, including through discrimination testing and the filing of their Form 5500 with the Department of Labor.

What sets Ascensus apart from other companies that work with start-up plans?

We have deep expertise, onboarding 5,000 plans per year. And recordkeeping isn’t a means to some other end for us. We’re not an investment firm looking to drive investment flows; we take a consultative, educational approach. We help small firms to understand that many goals that they thought might elude them–like providing an employer match to workplace savers–may in fact be achievable.

Connect the dots between technology, expertise, service, and retention.

We use a series of metrics to judge all of these elements. Does the technology work?  Are clients satisfied with our expertise? We measure client satisfaction in several ways and consistently score high on surveys for service, onboarding, and overall satisfaction. As of September 2018, our Net Promoter Scores for these areas hovered around 91%.

Our relationship managers, empowered with custom-built predictive analytics, continuously assess how well we’re serving our plan sponsor clients and what kinds of questions or issues are most prevalent. This enables us to be a step ahead, proactively consulting with our clients, financial advisors, and TPA partners to ensure their plans stay on track.

How do you keep associates positive and engaged?

I truly believe that there is a clear value chain between satisfied employees and satisfied clients. At Ascensus, we put associates first. There is an entrepreneurial spirit inside the company–an opportunity to be bold, think bold, and make changes if one discovers a better way to service clients.

To recognize associates’ expression of our core values, we bestow a peer-to-peer I-Client award every month. From top to bottom, everyone knows what our core goals are.  By helping our clients and their employees to save for life’s most important moments, I believe that our firm serves a noble purpose. And this belief is widely held from the C-suite, throughout the organization.


Women in Technology Spotlight: Brandy Blum

Business Integration Lead, TPA Solutions

Tell me a little bit about where you attended school and your work history.

I attended St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota. I’ve always enjoyed working. Throughout high school and college, I held a variety of service positions. During my college years I worked at Fingerhut, an online retailer, as a trainer and call center lead.

How did you start your career at Ascensus, and how long have you worked here?

Shortly after college I moved up to Brainerd, MN, took a position with Ascensus, and have been here ever since! I started out in the Client Service call center and quickly transferred to an operations role where I helped with reconciliation and complex operational problems. From there, I continued to move within the company, working as a supervisor of our Participant Call Center and then onto managing our New Business/Transition Services Team. I enjoyed the challenging nature of this roll and appreciated that it involved both service and operations. After a number of years, I transitioned into a Business Development role, where I worked closely with our external sales team by assisting our top tier advisors. I was then asked to take the position of director of Strategic Partners. For the past few years, I have been the director of Digital Programs, primarily working on our plan website. Recently I have been promoted, and am excited to join TPA solutions as Business Integration Lead. At Ascensus, I have had the opportunity to work in service, operations, relationship management, and technology, all at one company.

What made you interested in pursuing a career in technology?

Technology found me. I used to be hesitant of anything technology-related, but I have found through my role, technology is not what it used to be. Technology is heavily intertwined with service and operations. In order to build websites and create self-service on the web, you need to be able to understand user needs. I bring a different aspect to our technology side of the business because I work with our customers to understand their needs and offer web solutions. I help design our website in a simple and easy way to provide our users with the information they need.

Another reason why I like the tech industry is that it’s very fast paced and things are constantly changing. I like to be busy and feel challenged.

What makes working on the IT team at Ascensus different or unique?

We have a very diverse group of individuals, which helps us understand our users better. We have different backgrounds and think about a user perspective differently, which allows us to build items with a more diverse group of people in mind. The culture at Ascensus is great, we all come together and act in the best interest of our clients.

Looking back five or ten years, what career advice would you give your younger self?

Take the chances, learn new things, and continue to learn. For me, I wish I wouldn’t have been so intimidated by technology years ago. I think you should put yourself in uncomfortable positions to learn and grow personally and professionally.

In your opinion, what’s the biggest challenge women face in the technology industry?

I think many woman feel similar to how I felt, technology is intimidating. I had a different perception of what technology was, I think many females feel that same way. This perception that myself and many other females have is what technology used to be many years ago. Technology today has evolved, it’s about customer interaction, having empathy for our users, and being able to understand them and their needs.

It’s great to see the push in STEM and mathematics for girls and young women, it’s important that they are exposed to technology early on.

Are there any current technology trends that emerging technologists need to know about?

I think the trend is really listening to your users’ wants and need. Users want to be given information that they need, they don’t want to try and find it. Technology is no longer in the background and separated from the rest of the business, it’s now a front-end client service role.

Who is your biggest role model and how did they inspire you?

I have a number of role models for various reasons. Growing up, my mother was by far the most patient and open-minded person I have ever known, and my father is very driven, detailed, and organized. I feel like I was able to learn and grow from both of them for very different reasons. I’m very fortunate to have very supportive, driven, and wonderful people in my life. My husband and mother-in-law are two people that have inspired me to be the best person that I can be. They have given me the confidence to move into different aspects of the business, including technology.

Why do you like working for a company that helps people save for life’s most important events?

There are many reasons why I like working for Ascensus–the tools that we’re building are made to help educate and help individuals prepare for life’s most important things. We’re helping over 8 million Americans currently, and are growing that number all the time.


Women in Technology Spotlight: Tami Evanson

Senior Vice President, IT Management

Tell me a little bit about where you attended school and your work history.

I went to the University of Minnesota where I majored in Women’s Studies. After school I expected to pursue a career in human or health services. A series of opportunities led me on a different path.  Technology was fascinating and rapidly evolving at the time. I decided to pursue technical certifications, and held several roles including network design consultant, field engineer, Microsoft and Novell technical instructor, and technical writer.

How did you start your career at Ascensus, and how long have you worked here?

After moving to Brainerd I was consulting, which in a small town was not always challenging. In 2003, I started as a technology site manager for BISYS and have been here for the past 15 years. Along the way, there have been so many opportunities to continue to evolve within Ascensus as we’ve grown and changed as an organization; I’ve been fortunate to work in nearly every aspect of IT.

What made you interested in pursuing a career in technology?

In college I worked at an IT help desk; it paid well and was flexible. I didn’t think it was going to be my career. Timing was perfect – seeing the rapid advancement in the adoption of technology to change business process and service delivery for both large and small organizations – it was an exciting time and I wanted to be a part of it.

What makes working on the IT team at Ascensus different or unique?

Tremendous growth and investment in technology provides for exciting opportunities, which makes Ascensus an attractive company for people wanting to grow in their careers. We have consistently been an IT organization that values everyone’s input and allows for creativity and risk taking.

Looking back five or ten years, what career advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to be open minded and take more risks. Get comfortable being uncomfortable, because this is where the exciting opportunities exist.

In your opinion, what’s the biggest challenge women face in the technology industry?

Statistics highlight the challenges for women in technology; women hold roughly 25% of tech jobs overall and about 10% of executive IT leadership positions. Having said that, throughout my career I’ve seen positive changes in the experience for women, with more advancement opportunities and a changing work environment that provides more flexibility, which I’m hopeful will steer more women toward a career in technology.

Are there any current technology trends that emerging technologists need to know about?

Narrowly focused AI leveraged for specific tasks is in play for our industry today. It will be very interesting to see a broader application of AI solutions and how this changes the customer experience.

The other area to watch is around Blockchain technology and the practical application across various industries. It will be interesting to see how this could reduce inefficiencies especially in the financial marketplace. Though not new, the practical application and adoption is in very early stages.

Who is your biggest role model and how did they inspire you?

I’ve been blessed with a lot of great role models, but the most influential is my father. He is a great success story and has never let it change who he is or how he treats people. He taught by example the value of hard work, and understanding when to sacrifice, and when not to, to move forward.

What kind of projects do you work on?

I work closely with the Corporate M&A and Integration teams to support various acquisition and integration activities. We are also developing and executing an IT roadmap to support our growing lines of business to scale and fully leverage available corporate services.



Women in Technology Spotlight: Jasmine Dedhia

Director, IT Quality Assurance

Tell me a little bit about where you attended school and your work history.

I grew up in Mumbai, India, and received a Bachelor’s in engineering and computer science at the University of Mumbai. I have 14+ years of experience as a technologist in the financial services industry. In the United States, I worked as quality assurance lead at Fidelity Investments. I then continued to pursue other opportunities at companies like Upromise Investments, CGI, and Merrill Lynch.

How did you start your career at Ascensus, and how long have you worked here?

I worked at Upromise Investments for 3 years, between 2006 and 2009. I rejoined the company in 2014 after it had been acquired by Ascensus.

What makes working on the IT team at Ascensus different or unique?

Cultural diversity is what makes the IT team at Ascensus unique and exciting to be a part of. It’s amazing to work with highly-skilled individuals on cutting-edge technologies. Such diverse cultural perspective inspires creativity and drives innovation.

Looking back five or ten years, what career advice would you give your younger self?

Never stop learning. Especially in technology, there’s always something new to explore. It’s important to stay on top of the newest technologies available. Self-growth is the key to living a fulfilling life and to having a successful career. My second piece of advice is to remember that the only constant in life is change. Never get too comfortable. Whether it’s organizational, technological, or even meteorological, any change can impact your life and career.

In your opinion, what’s the biggest challenge women face in the technology industry?

Women require much more confidence and courage to play the same leadership role as men. A higher standard is expected of women. We have come a long way, but it still remains a male-dominated industry. Women tend to bring more communication, collaboration, expert coaching, and passion to the workplace, in addition to technical and problem- solving skills.

Are there any current technology trends that emerging technologists need to know about?

Blockchain, internet of things, quantum computing, and immersive technology should be on technologists’ radar. In the financial industry, blockchain will have a significant impact on security. Quantum computing will heavily influence the way statistics are generated and data is analyzed. Lastly, immersive technology will transform the customer experience across various industries.

Who is your biggest role model and how did they inspire you?

My aunt is my biggest role model. She’s a physician at Beth Israel Medical Center and is a part of the faculty at Harvard Medical School. Her leadership, confidence, and humility have touched me in many ways. I am impressed by her dedication to her career and ability to maintain work-life balance. Another role model of mine is Peg Creonte, our senior vice president of business development here in the Ascensus government savings division. Her passion, leadership, and commitment to the organization is an inspiration for many of us. I look up to Peg’s winning attitude and her humble personality, both of which have helped her make strides at Ascensus.

Why do you like working for a company that helps people save for life’s most important events?

Saving money is incredibly important for financial well-being. It gives me the immense satisfaction that I am able to help people improve their financial health by supporting the technology behind college, retirement, and health savings accounts.

Women in Technology Spotlight: July Perham

Product Owner, Product Management

Tell me a little bit about where you attended school and your work history.

I received a Music Degree from Smith College in Northampton, MA. My well-rounded liberal arts education helped me sharpen my analysis skills, since I learned how to analyze music and sharpened my writing skills. After working at a music store for some time, I realized I wanted to work in an industry with more opportunity.

How did you start your career at Ascensus, and how long have you worked here?

In 2004 I was hired by Upromise, and we merged with Ascensus in 2014. When I first joined Upromise, I started working in the Client Services department. While working in Client Services, I became interested in learning about the software program we had been using. I saw that there was a job opening on the user acceptance testing team, so I jumped at the chance to learn testing.

After learning about testing, I noticed that business system analysts encountered many opportunities to grow. I was able to participate in a job sharing agreement, which allowed me to stay in user acceptance testing while learning how business systems analysis worked. For 6 months I was able to spend half of my time as a business systems analyst and the other half of my time as a tester. Since early 2009, I’ve been doing Business Systems Analysis full time. Now, I’ve been with Ascensus for 14 years.

What makes working on the IT team at Ascensus different or unique?

I love working here because of our core value that people matter. All of the IT is done in-house and I get to build strong relationships with the testers and developers working on my projects on a daily basis.

Looking back five or ten years, what career advice would you give your younger self?

If I could go back in time, I’d tell my younger self to believe in myself. Over the years, one thing I’ve gained is confidence. If you just remind yourself that you know what you’re doing, you’ll have the confidence to face all kinds of challenges.

In your opinion, what’s the biggest challenge women face in the technology industry?

Women in technology positions may have to prove their ability above and beyond their male counterparts. We can reverse those attitudes by encouraging more women to apply for technology leadership positions.

Are there any current technology trends that emerging technologists need to know about?

User interface (UI) and user experience (UX) are a couple of trends future technologists should learn more about. We integrated UX into our project design process, in order to get more users onto our site. It’s also very obvious when a company hasn’t used UX design, because their site is hard to navigate. Users are more likely to come back to your website if you invest in your technology.

Who is your biggest role model and how did they inspire you?

My mom is my biggest role model. In the 1980s, she started attending night classes for Computer Science. She always loved working as a programmer, and passed down her passion for technology onto me.

Why do you like working for a company that helps people save for life’s most important events?

I enjoy working for a company whose mission is to help people, opposed to just making money. Helping our clients gives me a higher purpose when I come to work every day. I care about people, and I enjoy working at a company that allows me to help others.

Women in Technology Spotlight: Zina Ilchenko

Senior software engineer

Tell me a little bit about where you attended school and your work history.

I started my career teaching world history at a high school in Ukraine. When I came to the U.S., I barely spoke English, and I had never touched a computer in my life. I started working at a daycare, where the other teachers taught me the language. When I realized everyone was going to business and technical school, I decided to attend school in northeast Philadelphia, while working full-time. In 1998, I was hired by Ascensus.

What made you interested in pursuing a career in technology?

When my daughter entered high school she needed a computer, so I bought her one. I started exploring on it and ended up teaching myself how to type. Computers were a big trend back then and an emerging industry. I thought if other people could do it, then I could do it too.

What makes working on the IT team at Ascensus different or unique?

The type of work we do at Ascensus is special. We serve a large portion of our nation—more than 7 million Americans! Without our help, they wouldn’t be able to contribute to their retirement, education, or health savings accounts.

What advice would you give someone who wants to land a job in the technology field?

Learn what you can as early as possible. Talk to people who are in this industry and be interested in ongoing innovations. I never imagined that I’d go down this career path, but truly anyone of any age can do it.

What woman is your biggest inspiration and why?

One of my good friends who still lives in Ukraine really inspires me. We’ve been friends for more than 30 years and she has always overcome struggles in her life.

Did anyone or anything help you to get to where you are today?

There are many people who have helped me to get to where I am today. Especially, all of the women who taught me how to speak English at the daycare, and all of my teammates here at Ascensus. I have more of a business background, so when I need help understanding something technical, everyone always takes their time to help me.

Why do you like working for a company that helps people save?

Life has taught me that in order to survive, you need to save. I like that we help people save, so they have some sort of safety net in their lives. It’s so important to save for yourself, for your family, and for your future.

Women in Technology Spotlight: Sandy Palaski

Senior software engineer

Tell me a little bit about where you attended school and your work history.

I went to Illinois State University, where I double majored in International Business and Japanese Studies. Japanese Studies may seem random, but I was actually an exchange student living in Japan during high school. My first position in the IT industry was an internship with the company Advanta. I ended up working there for 11 years. Afterwards, I worked at Member Solutions, and now I’m working at Ascensus.

How did you start your career at Ascensus, and how long have you worked here?

Luckily, I’ve always known how important networking is. Some of my previous work associates ended up at Ascensus, so they were able to refer me here. I’ve been working here for almost 5 years.

What made you interested in pursuing a career in technology?

As you can probably tell from my major, I initially wasn’t interested in the field of technology. My first internship really exposed me to the industry, and I realized that IT was a good fit for me. IT was constantly evolving and I found it appealing to work in a field that was never dull.

What makes working on the IT team at Ascensus different or unique?

At Ascensus, I have met such a wide range of people. Every worker is different, whether it be their background, age, or nationality. We have some employees who just graduated college, and we have others who have been working here for over 20 years. We even have people like me who started as business majors and eventually discovered the IT industry. All of these different people give our company a fresh perspective.

What advice would you give someone who wants to land a job in the technology field?

Never lose your desire to learn. In a field that is constantly changing, you’ll always discover something you never knew before. Seek opportunities to continue learning.

What woman is your biggest inspiration and why?

I can’t name just one person! I’d have to say my mother, my grandmothers, and my sisters all influenced me in extremely different ways.

Did anyone or anything help you to get to where you are today?

My sister helped me get to where I am today. She was the reason that I got my first internship with Advanta, and now she also works in Ascensus’ IT department. We work on different teams, but it’s nice having a support system in my work environment.

Why do you like working for a company that helps people save?

Each project we work on has its own goal, but in the end these projects contribute to the company’s overall goal of helping people save for life’s biggest events. Everything we do is intended to help others save for their futures.