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Arie Van Zandbergen
In March, when COVID-19 shut down much of the country, Arie Van Zandbergen went into overdrive. As an Executive Marketing Director at Chase in Columbus, Ohio, it was his job to make sure that the bank's customers knew about the federal stimulus package, got the information they needed and knew where to find answers.
It wasn't Van Zandbergen's first time in a high-stress, high-stakes situation. A former Intelligence Operations Analyst for the U.S. Air Force, he knew the importance of providing immediate, accurate information to the people who needed it most. This time, though, he wasn't analyzing military hardware or threat assessments: He was helping regular people figure out how they were going to weather an economic and health crisis—and letting them know the tools that were there to help them.
"It was all about service, providing knowledge for our customers who are going through—like we all are—really trying times," he says.
What does success look like to you?
For me, success has always been about being happy. Whether that's through family, relationships, hobbies or work, it should all be enriching you as a person, and growing you and challenging you. It should be balanced enough that no single part overshadows the rest—and that takes a lot of work.
What do you consider the most valuable piece of advice you've ever received and where did it come from?
The immense amount of personal and professional development that I experienced in the Air Force is almost immeasurable. The amount of life that you squeeze into a relatively short number of years completely changed my life. I've been really lucky across my career path to have exceptionally strong mentors and supervisors, who picked up from the previous role and layered onto it. What's been reinforced to me again and again is: Understand how your role connects to a larger goal, whether that be personal or professional, and then run toward that goal. Find ways to grow that contribution. If you're able to understand how your role layers up to a larger strategy, then it really empowers you to get hyper-focused in what you do. If you're able to do that, there's no limit to how far you can go in this firm.
What has been your biggest obstacle?
When I was ten, my dad passed away. I lost both a parent and a hero, and my family was suddenly jolted onto a completely different life path. We leaned on each other a lot. For us as a family, there's really no problem that we could face that would seemingly be more difficult than that. When you're able to keep calm and collected, there's few problems that you can't overcome. As unfortunate of a life lesson as that was, it was also really powerful.
As the pandemic has allowed for comparison, do you prefer to work from home or the office?
For me, there's benefits to each. I think what we'll realize when we go back to the office — and what I'm missing right now—is that working from home can't replace the relationships we make at the office. I miss that quite a bit. On the flip side, working from home has allowed me to experience my growing family. I was at home when my daughter took her first steps.
Where will you be in 5 years?
The idea that I could become an Executive Director in five to six years is really exciting. If 20 years from now, I'm still working at Chase, that wouldn't surprise me at all. I have found so much of what I didn't even know I should be looking for in a company and a career path, and a team. The growth of the work I've been able to contribute to, and how it impacts our customers and the business, even after six years, still leaves me a little bit in awe.