Getting Ahead

Why This Boomerang Employee Is Excited About His Second Act at Capital One

Stu Glaser, a director and program lead at Capital One
Stu Glaser, a director and program lead at Capital One.
| Courtesy of Capital One

Stu Glaser first learned about Capital One while researching a paper for a college course—and he liked what he read so much that he applied for a job there almost immediately. He was already working two jobs to help put himself through school, but when Capital One offered him a call center role, it was an easy decision.

“I found the work challenging and welcomed the predictable schedule, which was more accommodating for my classes,” he says. A competitive salary, tuition reimbursement, and the opportunity for upward mobility sweetened the deal.

Glaser never imagined that this position would jumpstart a long career at the financial institution—one that would see him leave upon graduating to pursue other jobs, only to come back nine years later. Today, he’s a director for U.S. Card Integrated Delivery, a role that includes strategic problem-solving and leading project management teams.

Here, Glaser talks about his long career journey at Capital One, the impact of one of the company’s leadership programs for Hispanic employees, and how growing up in a culturally diverse family has shaped his life.

How did Capital One support your career growth during your early years there?

My first manager always invested in her associates. She gave thoughtful feedback on how I could improve, laid out clear career path options, and was generous with introductions to peers and leaders to help me understand the business outside of the call center. Working with supportive leaders has been a consistent experience at Capital One.

After a year helping customers over the phone, I was offered a role managing a production team responsible for a range of back-office operations. My manager was an operations analyst who used decision making and storytelling methods that were new to me at the time. He made my professional development a high priority and continually sought out ways for me to stretch my capabilities. We worked together to develop metrics to measure the performance of my new team, which inspired my passion for data-driven decision-making.

A few years later, I was accepted as a management information systems analyst. And as I approached college graduation, I interviewed for and earned a data analyst position within finance supporting the treasury securitization team.

You left Capital One in 2006, worked as a consultant for a few years, then rejoined the company in 2014. What made you want to come back?

I’d built a large network during my time here, which enabled me to find my next roles as a financial analyst for a retail company and a management and IT consultant for a technology startup. Those years were frantic and exciting, filled with constant travel and tremendous personal development.

As the birth of our first son grew closer, I started to look for a role that would keep me closer to home. I joined a small, local consulting firm who asked me whether I’d want to work at Capital One again if the right opportunity came up. I accepted the position on a Friday. The following Wednesday, my first client was Capital One, working for my prior MVP within the newly formed operational risk management (ORM) group.

This was just after Capital One’s new mission around changing banking for good had been rolled out. I thought it was clear and clever, and mentally filed it away as the next iteration of Capital One’s brand. I was surprised at how much the mission permeated everything. It felt very subtle—shifting by degrees, consistently and over time. What started as a way to frame up strategic imperatives soon crept into conversations about building diverse teams. This was in the early days of ORM, so it was well timed with the coordinated push to find different types of talent to grow the organization.

After my two-year consulting assignment ended, a Capital One colleague from my data analyst days reached out about a senior manager role. It was a great fit and an easy choice to boomerang back.

What are some of your goals as national co-lead for HOLA, the company’s Hispanic business resource group?

HOLA is committed to increasing Hispanic representation, cultivating Hispanic Leaders, and fostering a close community through meaningful connections and growth. One of my personal goals is to connect more of our members to leaders and broader networks within Capital One. We have Hispanic associates who are taking oversized leadership roles in their local communities, mentoring and developing their peers and teams, engaging and embracing our allies, and becoming better allies to other underrepresented groups both inside and outside of Capital One. My HOLA role presents a great opportunity to spotlight more of these stories, and I’m excited about the possibilities.

Tell us about your experience with HOLA’s Hispanic Leadership Coaching Program and how it’s helped you in your career.

HOLA’s Hispanic Leadership Coaching Program is an annual development program for a small group of senior managers and directors focused on development, coaching, and collaboration across a handful of leadership dimensions. I experienced tremendous personal and professional growth during my time in HLCP. I often say that Capital One taught me how to think analytically, and HOLA and HLCP helped me find my voice. It’s a powerful thing to bring together high-potential leaders who share similar career experiences and challenges.

The learning was interactive and collaborative, and I was suddenly connected to a peer group of very talented leaders from all parts of the company. It was a place where we could discuss real-world scenarios, apply the tools and language we were learning, and problem solve together. I graduated from HLCP with more confidence as a leader, a newfound sense of community, and a shared responsibility to engage and give back. When I was asked to support HOLA Leadership Programs more formally, I jumped at the opportunity.

In what other ways does Capital One support growth from within?

For people starting their careers, Capital One offers rotational programs that focus on topics like finance, technology and commercial banking. The enterprise also offers countless other professional development opportunities, ranging from internal leadership programs to tuition assistance to machine learning training. These programs invest in high-potential associates who may not otherwise have an established path to bring their talents and expertise to all areas of Capital One.

I think of leadership and training programs as “push” support. They exist to help us become the strongest versions of ourselves and to understand, develop, and demonstrate our leadership potential. They also help us “push” our way over and up through the organization.

What has been one of the keys to your success?

My personal and professional success has come from being able to articulate “the thing” to develop and then finding a suitable opportunity to allow me to practice and demonstrate my growth in new ways. This is where the “pull” comes in.

There is only so far any of us can move the needle on our own. We need senior advocates who recognize our potential and want to invest time to help us find the right opportunities. I’m proud of my career journey, which required me to work hard and push my development—but it was also due to good luck and timing in the form of advocates who saw my potential and were willing to invest in me.

How has growing up in a culturally diverse home impacted who you are?

As a father, it is really important that my children feel connected to our family and appreciate and understand the path that brought us to this moment.  My Jewish and Puerto Rican families came from different backgrounds but shared some powerful experiences, including the immigrant experience and coming to New York. Both sets of my grandparents were denied housing and employment opportunities due to ethnicity, religion, and language. Both had tremendous hardship, work ethic, grit, determination, pride, and love for family. And although I never heard the word “ally” in this context growing up, at times both faced difficult situations made easier by the unsolicited kindness of strangers who stepped in to advocate on their behalf.

I am a white man with tremendous privilege. I have a college degree and a successful consulting and financial services career. I will never understand some of my family’s experiences as my own, but they are a part of me and they formed my worldview and who I am. How can I and my wife make sure our sons understand and represent this connection? There is no easy answer, but this blend of experiences and cultures comes with an obligation to keep pushing—and to find and support others who have or seek out these connections as well.

What hobbies have you picked up since the start of the pandemic?

We started camping as a family, including the dogs. We also turned what was a small storage space into a cozy record lounge. It’s been fun hitting the bargain record bins and watching our young sons’ musical tastes emerge. I have two new personal hobbies as well: woodworking and 3D printing.

What are you currently reading, watching, and listening to?

I like all kinds of books, but enjoy autobiographies the most. A few of my recent favorites include The Storyteller by Dave Grohl, Sigh, Gone by Phuc Tran, and When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmerelda Santiago. School, work, and kid sports don’t leave a whole lot of TV time, but as a family we are currently hooked on Abbott Elementary and The Rings of Power (prequel to The Lord of the Rings). And current albums in heavy rotation are U2’s The Joshua Tree, The Score by the Fugees, Radiohead’s The Bends, and Women in Music Pt. III by Haim.

Updated 10/31/2022