Nelnet's culture of greatness allows each associate to do what they do best, innovate daily, create long-lasting friendships, and give back to their communities with support from their leadership and the company. See how the experience of working at Nelnet has been for a few of our associates highlighted below.
Barb StrombergManager, Operations Risk Management
"I don't know that there are many companies like Nelnet that support their associates' goals so fully and that have built a true culture of friendship."
In her 20 years at Nelnet, Barb has seen the culture of the company shift as it grew, took on new businesses, and diversified. But there are two aspects she says that have always remained the same—support and family.
"One of the questions I always get from family, friends, and even strangers is, 'How have you worked at the same company for all these years?'" Barb says. "My answer is that I've gotten so many great opportunities to move around and use my skill set in various ways. But what really provides continuity and foundation has been the support I feel from leadership and the friendships I have with my co-workers."
Barb says one of her best examples actually came away from the office and in the mountains of Colorado. A team of 12 Nelnet associates—10 runners and 2 drivers—came together to compete in a Colorado relay, running a combined 170 miles in 24 hours. Morning, noon, and night they ran through the mountains together, encouraging each other and forming great friendships. It's something she will never forget.
"I don't know that there are many companies like Nelnet that support their associates' goals so fully and that have built a true culture of friendship," Barb says. "Running through the mountains with people I work with is something I never thought I would do, but I would do it again in a heartbeat, and I'm so thankful for the opportunity."
Tia MackeRepresentative, Enrollment Processing
"Being a student, I see firsthand how much Nelnet cares about their employees’ education. Their daily action speaks louder than words."
Tia Macke made the transition from small local businesses to working at Nelnet a year ago. Transitioning from a workplace with five to six employees to a large corporation can be daunting, but for Tia, the management and culture of Nelnet made her transition smooth and comfortable as she became a member of the Nelnet community.
"Some of my favorite things about Nelnet are their stance on diversity and the way that they interact with their employees. It stood out to me that you see upper management interacting with different people in the departments daily. You can tell they genuinely care about their employees, which is an incredible feeling."
Tia was introduced to Nelnet through a class at Southeast Community College called Delivering Customer Experience, which motivated her to apply to the call center. She is currently working in the Enrollment Processing department. She takes pride in the department’s mantra to "do what is in the best interest of the borrower." Tia says that the constant reiteration of this commitment is what makes Nelnet a superior loan servicer. As a student herself, she has a personal appreciation for this promise.
"Being a student, I see firsthand how much Nelnet cares about their employees’ education. Their daily action speaks louder than words. Things like webinars that equip employees and borrowers with tools for financial health and success are so helpful. Some of those things are hard to find independently, let alone from your loan servicer. Nelnet provides tuition reimbursement and works constantly to aid their employees’ educational goals."
Vino RodriguezTrainer, TPD Headquarters
"Nelnet knows that there’s value in investing in their employees and teaching people how to do their job well. They give us the tools to be successful, which is surprisingly rare in corporate environments."
Despite several moves out of state and even out of country, Vino Rodriguez continues to return to the Nelnet family. As a trainer, Vino has gained an appreciation for the Nelnet approach to new hires and its commitment to their training and education.
"The culture and the people keep me coming back. I like how Nelnet treats me. I like how they treat all of their employees. It’s consistent, even as the company grows. Nelnet knows there’s value in investing in their employees and teaching people how to do their job well. They give us the tools to be successful, which is surprisingly rare in corporate environments."
Vino says it’s hard to pick just one person that embodies the Nelnet culture. His experience with supervisors and management has been overwhelmingly positive. Without assignment or instruction, his supervisors naturally became mentors who he credits for helping him become the trainer he is today.
"These were dynamic relationships where my mentor would greatly influence me and took my work to the next level. They support growth while letting me be on the right seat of the bus and to do what I’m best at. Now, as a trainer, I encourage trainees to ask questions. I want to create an open learning environment so that people can learn in a way that’s best for their learning style. I’m proud to work somewhere that invests in training and company culture."
Support from Leaders
Jeannie CronerSupervisor, Nelnet Customer Interaction Center
"I've worked a couple places and never had someone in a leadership role really truly care about how I'm doing and make it their goal to get me where I want to go. But I have that here, and I love it."
In Jeannie Croner's office there is a sign that states: "Love what you do." Jeannie says this is her motto at work and has been for the last six years.
"I just believe that loving what you do is important for associates personally and professionally," Jeannie says. "I want to provide my team with the connections and resources they need so they can do what they love. And, by default, I think they contribute more of themselves."
This leadership philosophy has been solidified by Jeannie's leaders throughout her time at Nelnet. From direct leaders to executives, she has always felt supported and encouraged to pursue her goals both professionally and personally.
In fact, her recent request to take on more responsibilities was rewarded, and she now leads two teams within the Customer Interaction Center.
"I have really open relationships with my leaders all the way to our directors and even our executive leaders," Jeannie says. "They genuinely care about you even when the world is crazy, taking those precious moments to really make a connection. I've worked a couple places and never had someone in a leadership role really truly care about how I'm doing and make it their goal to get me where I want to go. But I have that here, and I love it."
Internal Growth; Career/Skill Development
Matt OsmondDirector, Diversified Servicing Center
"It is empowering to be given responsibility and room to grow. And it's fulfilling to spend your days doing something you enjoy and are interested in. I'm lucky to have that at Nelnet."
Within nine years, Matt Osmond has overseen 17 different teams in several different departments and in various roles. Now as the manager of the Diversified Servicing Center, Matt says his goal is simple—pay it forward.
"I've had so many great opportunities to move around and find different positions that really interest me and that I can be successful in," Matt says. "As a leader, I want to give the associates who work with me the same experience."
Matt emphasizes the importance of one of Nelnet's core values: "Create an environment in which associates can do what they do best."
This value is important for both the individual and the company, he says. With a company goal to provide the best possible service and products to customers, associates need to be passionate and committed to what they do and have what they need to get the job done. Through learning opportunities and career pathing, Nelnet supports these objectives.
"It is empowering to be given responsibility and room to grow," Matt says. "And it's fulfilling to spend your days doing something you enjoy and are interested in. I'm lucky to have that at Nelnet."
Managing Director of Communication Services
"In today's world we can't be satisfied. We keep pushing, ideating, and improving, so we can be successful in a quickly changing market."
When Ben Kiser started at Nelnet in 2003, it was a pretty different company in terms of what it offered to customers. For many years, Nelnet was primarily known for originating and servicing student loans, but that has definitely changed.
"We continue to be leaders in servicing, technology, and finance, but have also added payment processing, enrollment services, and education planning as areas of expertise and strength within the education space," Ben says. "It's important for us to use this knowledge and, combined with some creativity, develop innovative products and services that will add value to our customers and create opportunities for our associates."
With this focus on innovation, Nelnet encourages every associate to be innovative, think differently, and submit ideas for new business, products, or services that improve a service or process, enhance customer experiences, or increase associate engagement.
"In today's world we can't be satisfied," Ben says. "We keep pushing, ideating, and improving so we can be successful in a quickly changing market.
"This is a very exciting time for Nelnet because we have so much talent and existing success that there are so many different ways we can meet the needs of our customers and innovate around our core. This means the door is wide open for our associates to explore and make an impact on the company."