On January 26, sixty Delbarton Macro Economics students accompanied teacher Tom Brady (the original one) for a tour of Fiserv's new $100 million Innovation Center @the Park in Berkeley Heights, NJ. Delbarton faculty members Chuck Johnson, Rick Cimino, Alumni Teaching Fellow Pat Cummings '18 and Jessica Fiddes, Director of Marketing & Communications, completed the group.
Fiserv is an S&P 500 (#127 market cap) company based in Milwaukee that enables money movement for thousands of banks and millions of businesses and touches the lives of people around the world every day. Have you ever deposited a check online, bought a tank of of gas with your credit card or paid for a fast food meal using your phone or smartwatch (a 'wearable' in Fiserv-speak)? If so, chances are that Fiserv seamlessly, securely enabled your transaction. Their cloud-based point of sale tool Clover is just one example of the Company's many brands and products; Every day the company enables people to move money without ever actually touching it. In a world of money movement and e-commerce, Fiserv literally never powers down.
The company's new corporate complex in New Jersey attests to this ground-breaking spirit. In the building's spacious entry atrium, Delbarton students were greeted by twin three-story video screens running a customized 'Welcome Delbarton students' loop.
The daylong immersive experience began with a brief presentation by Nancy Hall, SVP of End User Computing, followed by a tour that included a sneak peek at the in-process cybersecurity hub and an impressive demonstration of the connectivity technology in the building's one hundred meeting rooms.
Next, VP of Operations Allison Edwards shared compelling facts and figures about Fiserv and its many business functions. Edwards was followed by Chris Augustin, Fiserv's Chief Information Officer, who leads Fiserv's tech strategy, software engineering, architecture and data management, and shared facts about his education, career path and philosophy. "Establish your own personal operating model," he advised, and he encouraged students to assess their skills and preferences, and match those attributes to a career path. Then, and this is key, work harder than anyone else in the room.
A panel of five Fiserv Innovation Experts spoke about their roles, ranging from risk assessment and cybersecurity to application architecture, data banking and merchant reporting. Each talked about the path and decision-making that led him to Fiserv. Consistent among their comments was finding what you're good at, continue to learn, take risks and look for opportunities, work extremely hard (again) and be a supportive, collaborative teammate. Linda Wellbrock, VP of Community Relations and Strategic Partnerships, adeptly led the discussions and served as moderator during the dynamic program. Our students were also informed of Fiserv summer internship and post-college analyst programs, an excellent way to jump start their careers.
Lunch came next (several bold Delbarton diners took a RoboBurger kiosk for a test drive) during which our young men were treated to a fascinating Evolution of Money presentation -- from cowrie shells to bitcoin -- by Matt Wilcox, President of Digital Payment Solutions.
Fiserv's Chief Operating Officer Guy Chiarello was next, sharing his inspiring personal story with the boys that was peppered with sage 'Guyisms' including "If you operate in the top 20% you will dictate your future. If you operate below that, someone else will dictate it for you." Three AP Macro Econ students, Yash Bhandari '23, Matt Pasko '23 and J.P. Smart '23, joined Chiarello for an informative Q&A session that broadened the group's knowledge of Fiserv's business, giving the boys an insider's perspective on the future of money (hint: think of hard currency as a quaint memento).
Finally, Frank Bisignano, Fiserv Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer dropped by, picked up a microphone and launched into a fascinating behind-the-scenes look of his firm's evolution (he previously led First Data which merged with Fiserv in January, 2019), and his personal career path while sharing advice on how to navigate to a gratifying career. Bisignano credited Brady as 'the architect' of the impactful day and told listeners that the benefits of their Delbarton years will give them a distinct advantage moving forward.
Throughout their day at Fiserv, our young men were privileged to hear lessons from the masters, highly skilled women and men who generously took time from their busy lives to share guidance, advice and wisdom.
Later, when the Delbarton Instagram feed shared a group photo and video clip from the Fiserv visit, chaperone Rick Cimino commented, "I've been on hundreds of trips in 38 years...this one was transformative. Thank you, Mr. Brady, for allowing me to chaperone and thank you Fiserv for hosting us. This was without a doubt the best 6 hours I have ever spent on a field trip!"
We are grateful to Curt Dahl P’23 who initiated connecting Brady’s students with Fiserv. We also thank the many Fiserv colleagues, from Frank Bisignano and Guy Chiarello on down, who greeted our students so cordially and orchestrated a day that, for some young men, may echo in their minds, and be reflected in their actions and life choices, for many years to come.