VanAken retired from Visa International in San Francisco, Calif. following 10 years service as Executive Vice President of Human Resources at both Visa U.S.A. and Visa International. His responsibilities included establishing the first professional human resources department for the world's largest payment system. Prior to Visa, VanAken held senior human resource positions at several bank holding companies in New England. He was also President of Conifer Personnel Resources, the first non-banking subsidiary approved by the Federal Reserve System for a member bank. In addition to his financial services career, he also served on the faculties of The Graduate School of Business, Anna Maria College; The School of Banking at Williams College; and the American Institute of Banking.
He retired in 1994 from the United States Army Reserve Medical Service Corps with the rank of Colonel.
VanAken is a graduate of Washington and Jefferson College, The Pittsburgh Institute, and The United States Army Command and General Staff College.