When Darren Dragovich first joined leading money transfer provider Western Union in 2003, he didn’t spend much time thinking about the company’s purpose. In the almost two decades since then, he has come to appreciate that purpose—“moving money for better”—for the ways in which it resonates with his own.
“It’s something that has kept me at Western Union,” says Dragovich. “One of the reasons I’ve stayed so long is because of the company’s alignment with the values I have and the things I’m trying to do in my life in general.”
Dragovich’s promotion in November 2021 has brought purpose even more to the forefront of his work. As vice president and deputy general counsel, he focuses on the services Western Union provides and the people delivering and receiving those services. His commitment to helping others, especially those most in need, is just as apparent in his efforts outside the company––and in the advice he offers here to attorneys still searching for purpose in their careers and their lives.
In his early days at Western Union, Dragovich negotiated large commercial contracts for the company. He aided in standing up the new corporate governance function when Western Union spun off from First Data Corporation in 2006 and went on to lead the function beginning in 2011. He also continues to serve as assistant corporate secretary after his most recent promotion, which has seen him return to his commercial roots.
Today, Dragovich oversees the business legal team for North and South America. As a result, he has attained a new level of proximity to the business. “My current role connects me directly to the agents, the relationships, and the services we’re providing,” he says. “It has really connected me back to the business and to how we serve our customers.”
For Dragovich, being closer to the business means being closer to Western Union’s purpose. He sees “moving money for better” as a call to serve and uplift customers, with an emphasis on communities whose access to financial services has historically been limited. “A lot of the customers we focus on are in many ways underserved by the traditional financial system. For instance, we serve a lot of migrant customers who are trying to start a new life in a new country and who are facing challenges because of that,” he elaborates.
The company’s purpose is a perfect match for Dragovich, who strives to give back in his personal as well as his professional life. “Every year our family travels to Juárez, Mexico, to partner with local community programs for children and help build homes for families who lack safe housing,” he says of his charitable endeavors. “My wife and I also helped form Hope for the Fatherless, an organization serving orphaned and vulnerable children in Ethiopia that rescues kids from institutional care and places them in families through reunification, kinship placement, foster care, domestic adoption, and small group homes.”
On the national level, Dragovich sits on the board of ElevateUSA, a nonprofit that places teacher-mentors in urban public schools to build long-term, life-changing relationships with urban youth, equipping them to thrive and contribute to their community.
“These things line up nicely with what I do at Western Union because, in all areas, we’re trying to serve people who are facing economic and other challenges in their lives,” Dragovich says. “I think we get the most satisfaction and fulfillment, ultimately, from serving others. It’s rewarding to see other people accomplish their goals or rise above challenging situations and circumstances—and even more so to know that, in some small way, we helped them to succeed.”
As fortunate as he is to have landed at a company that shares his values, Dragovich recognizes that not all attorneys have found the right fit yet. “You have to identify what your purpose is for your career and what your purpose is for your life,” he advises. “That may sound like a simple thing, but sometimes we don’t just sit back and think about our purpose and the ways we want to spend our time. If you can define that purpose for yourself, then you can start to look at your job and your career and see how you can use your training to contribute to your purpose.”
Dragovich’s idea of purpose is a holistic one. He encourages attorneys to consider how a prospective job would align with their purpose, but emphasizes that this purpose shouldn’t be tied exclusively to their career.
Although he has no plans to leave Western Union any time soon, Dragovich knows that his purpose will be waiting for him once he does. “At some point I assume I’ll retire, but I’ll never stop trying to serve other people,” he says. “What I want to achieve is not going to change based on my job or my retirement or anything else. I’m going to keep trying to achieve that for my entire life.”