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Growing Your Career in Stock Administration

May 02, 2019

Whether you’re new to the field of equity compensation or have been with us for a while now, there’s always room to grow. While much of our time is spent staying on top of new developments, navigating regulatory and plan requirements, and administering the day to day processes that support a plan, there are other aspects to blossoming your career.

Add New Skills

When we land in this industry (for the vast majority of us, finding the world of equity plans is a surprise career development – one not likely planned back in our college days), the focus of learning often seems to be on figuring out the many regulations (tax, accounting, securities, labor, global and beyond) that govern stock plans. This makes perfect sense, because there is so much to learn (I’m not sure we ever stop learning.) However, we want to make sure that we also pursue the development of other skills to support and enhance our performance.

When I worked on the issuer side of the industry, one of the most valuable classes I ever took was an advanced course in Microsoft Excel. It sounds so straightforward, right? Learning how to do Vlookups changed my life when it came to navigating stock plan data and addressing the reporting needs of various internal stakeholders.

You don’t necessarily need to take a full course to access tips on using Excel. In a recent NASPP Blog “Excel Tips to Change Your Life: Index/Match,” guest blogger Elizabeth Dodge of Equity Plan Solutions urges all of us to ditch the Vlookups and use other features of the software as a first step in parsing or matching data. If you haven’t digested that blog already, take a moment to learn a thing or two about getting the most out of Excel when it comes to your data.

Join a Networking Group (aka Your Local NASPP Chapter)

I personally can correlate many learning experiences and career moves to participation in my local NASPP chapter. I have an early memory of, during my first months as a new stock administrator, navigating a particularly complex issue. In my pursuit of an answer, someone directed me to a board member of my local chapter. That person not only provided me with the information that I needed, but became a mentor to me and, later, became my boss. There are so many obvious benefits to a network of stock plan professionals – I doubt that I need to list them all here. However, it’s one thing to know that a network is a good thing, and it’s another to actually actively participate in cultivating that network. The NASPP has over 30 active chapters across the country. If you aren’t regularly plugged in to the one in your area, I challenge you to attend a meeting. We’re all busy, but one of the best investments of time is that spent on developing the network of people who will help support our career growth and development on a personal level. Our chapters are open to both NASPP members and nonmembers.

Visit the Chapters area in the Community section of our site to find your local chapter (tip: both NASPP members and nonmembers can subscribe to chapter communications from any local chapter’s page on our website).

Confidently Demonstrate Your Value

Having a knowledge base in the field of stock compensation has tremendous value. We’re a niche industry that operates in regulations and technicalities; acquiring the knowledge and learning the nuances takes time. Growing your career in the world of stock plans can be closely tied to your ability to demonstrate your value. One skill to aid in being able to do so confidently is mastering the art of negotiation. It’s one thing to know what you bring to the table. It’s another thing to ensure that others comprehend what you have to offer.  Learning to negotiate can help in any situation, including career discussions with your employer and network. Our most recent NASPP Podcast, “Tips for Successful Negotiating with Carine Schneider, AST,” focuses on this exact topic.

Career Resources

Stepping away from day to day processes can be a challenge for any stock administrator – there’s always an abundance of things to do. It’s important to make time for your own growth in ways that will compliment your stock plan knowledge base. For additional resources and ideas, visit our NASPP Career Center. You’ll find a myriad of career content for stock administrators, including interviews with several industry veterans who describe their own experiences in navigating their career development (among them: “Take This Job and Love It!” with Kim Arnold from United Health Group).

  • photo of author
    By Jennifer Namazi

    Content Director