General Manager of Client Development in Payment Solutions
Rob has stayed true to his core, while growing and evolving his career
First of all, to Rob and his family, we’ll take this and every opportunity to say “Thank you!” for all that you’ve done in the service of our country.
Rob has a message as well, a clear one for veterans and their families considering a career at Synchrony: “Synchrony really values the veteran community and the leadership we all bring – and that’s regardless of rank. As veterans we have core tenants – chain of command, attention to detail, commitment to delivery, and integrity. They’re important in any company, but Synchrony really respects them as skills, and they’ll be a differentiator for you as you advance your career here.”
Today, Rob is a multi-faceted leader for Synchrony’s business and our people. His career began at the Air Force Academy and Rob spent 7 years on active duty with the Air Force as a civil engineer, achieving the rank of Captain. After separating, he joined GE appliances, where he’ll lightheartedly say he had to “soften up,” learning to adapt to a less rigid culture that also featured more grey area in day-to-day operations than the military.
It was a challenge, but one that Rob was equipped to face thanks to the perseverance that was a key element of his military training. “I was in tough situations while in the military, and there will always be tough times. I know I have the fortitude to gut it out, to persevere, and to continue to improve until things are in a position to be successful again.”
After a few years and a few roles (and a Six Sigma black belt!) at GE appliances, GE Capital (GE Capital is now Synchrony) was looking for Six Sigma talent. Rob moved to Raleigh and into a master black belt role, supporting loss mitigation in mortgage insurance. In that role, over just 2 years, he led 70 people on the team to achieve their Six Sigma green belt.
“The biggest skill you take away from your time in the military is leadership. Not just chain of command, but more in being able to motivate people regardless of rank – understand their personal goals, show them how those goals align with the unit’s goals, and how working hard will help the unit and the person achieve their goals side-by-side.”
Up to this point, Rob had always been tapped on the shoulder to take on new roles. At GE Capital, he was given a mentor who, for the first time, challenged him to proactively take control of his career. After hard thought, Rob decided his goal was to be the general manager or CEO of a small company. His mentor guided Rob through exploration activities so that Rob could evaluate his current skills, find the gaps to focus on for development, and build that path to lead himself to where he wanted to go.
When his family needed him, Rob moved to Dayton to be the Project Management Leader for a team of project managers in the Operations center, and kept looking for more development opportunities. He didn’t have to wait long. They needed to launch a new sales program through the customer service team. Rob stepped in, built out the sales capability, and networked across the business, which lead to being asked to move to the front of the business and replicate his latest results with the client development team, building a stronger sales culture.
Then the recession hit. Policies changed. Life changed. This changed the way our business made money and we tasked a team with solving for how our business needed to change in this challenging time. Rob led that cross-functional team – bringing people together across legal and business functions. It was a huge opportunity for him with our Payment Solutions group, even positioning Rob to request his next big project – leading a major acquisition – directly from our CEO.
In 2010, Rob was awarded the VP of Sales role in Payment Solutions and filled that role for 3 years. In 2013, he’d been with GE for 17 years. Then the opportunity to be a CEO of a small startup in Denver crossed his desk – the goal he’d set out years before. Rob spoke with his direct leader, who not only supported him, but made sure he knew that if it didn’t work out, that Rob would be welcomed back.
Rob took the leap, but it didn’t work out, and he was welcomed back in 2016 after robust dialog about the right role for him upon his return. It was Rob’s old title, VP of Sales, but the role had transformed. GE Capital was now Synchrony and Rob noticed that, “It’s more entrepreneurial now. I think we act more swiftly and are less afraid to take risks.” In the fall of 2016, Rob was promoted to the role he has now, General Manager in Client Development in Payment Solutions, with a team of 6 who collectively own about $1.2B US in volume.
“My military training is still a factor in how I lead my team – from knowing how to motivate them, to being a champion of work/life flexibility. I have a busy family too – and being a veteran is an important part of my life at home and at the office.” Around Synchrony, Rob partners with other veterans, their families, and passionate patriots through our internal Veterans Network. The Veterans Network, most importantly, works to identify opportunities for veterans to contribute their unique skills to Synchrony’s business – in addition to organizing unique veteran’s events including community service, skills development and networking, a flag ceremony on Veteran’s Day, and more.
“People here take the time to say ‘thank you’ and share their appreciation for my military service.”
Learn more about our Veterans Network.