Faces of T. Rowe Price: Vinnett Mason, Client Engagement Manager, US Intermediaries
"For me, being able to come to work, be my authentic self and know that my thoughts and values are sought after, considered and used is extremely important. That's one of the key reasons why I choose to stay at T. Rowe Price, because I am able to voice my opinion and know that it will be ultimately heard and actually make a difference." - Vinnett Mason
In her 14 years with T. Rowe Price, Vinnett Mason, now a Client Engagement Manager in US Intermediaries, has served in seven roles. In that time, she has also had three children. "Throughout all of those different roles with different departments, I had significant support from my manager and worked with tremendous teams," she says. "It allowed me to be able to take time away and focus on my family and personal commitments."
Vinnett says that work-life balance is only possible because she sincerely feels that others at the firm care about people both professionally and personally. "With increasing support from teams and key leaders, I did not have to sacrifice my personal commitments for the sake of my professional progression," she says.
Her climb up the ranks led her to her current role. In her daily duties, Vinnett partners with national account managers on client engagement and leads strategic efforts to improve clients' experience. She also provides consultation to investment decisionmakers as well as product marketing to advance both firm and client initiatives.
That's not to say that being a woman, mother, and also a minority working in the financial services industry has not been without challenges along the way. Yet with the firm's open-door atmosphere, support has never been too far away. "I haven't had a single instance when I've had an issue, question, or just a desire for insight from a senior leader where it wasn't received with open arms," Vinnett recalls. "There's always a willingness to discuss and figure out what are the best options for my personal situation."
Maintaining a supportive work culture is clearly a top priority for Vinnett. She has participated in T. Rowe Price's business resource groups such as MOSAIC, which advances cultural diversity, and PRIDE, which advocates for LGBTQ team members. There's also WAVE, T. Rowe Price's business resource group created to attract, develop, advance, and retain women in the organization.
"By participating with WAVE, I was able to gain insight from other professional women within the organization and know that I was not necessarily going through this challenge alone," she says. Vinnett also cites the Women in Sales initiative as another excellent example of how the firm is trying to support women in the workplace.
She has also facilitated USI's new hire Diversity & Inclusion onboarding training. "A key component of my role is creating a comfortable environment," Vinnett explains. "Every associate can raise questions to me or any other leader in our organization, regardless of their role, their experiences, or even how long they've been at the firm," she explains. "Those insights can be critical to making progress."
For Vinnett, a diverse workplace that is genuinely inclusive of different types of people and backgrounds is central to retaining top talent as well as connecting with clients. "It's important to set a tone that values diversity within my department," she says. It's not uncommon for her clients to inquire about the firm's diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Beyond what diversity can bring to a team or client experience, Vinnett says it's been key to her longevity with the firm. "I've stayed at T. Rowe Price, because I know I can voice my opinion, and it will be heard," she says. "Being able to come to work and be my authentic self makes a difference."
Part of bringing your authentic self at work, according to Vinnett, is being very open and honest about what's important to you. "Every time I went out on maternity leave, I always got the question—'Are you coming back?'" she remembers. In response, she had to disavow that common assumption by being very candid about her own career goals and plans.
"When you choose to navigate your professional goals in concert with what you have going on personally, it may take a little more effort," Vinnett says. "But, you can absolutely do it." She advises others in similar situations to build a support system around themselves. "There are many other individuals that have gone through these life events or are going through it currently, and can share best practices and resources," she says. "The firm offers many resources as well that you can leverage to be able to balance the load."
To those just starting their career in financial services or perhaps considering building a family alongside it, the key, says Vinnett, is not to strive for perfection but rather, continuous improvement.