What inspired you to become a benefits professional?

I committed to the industry during my senior year of college, joining Principal Financial Group’s rookie sales training program. It didn’t take me long to realize the job wasn’t right for me. I met one of BBG’s clients who connected me with the company, and I made the leap to Washington, D.C., within a few months. I think most advisers want to say they joined the industry to help people. Though this was a critical piece for me, it really came down to the culture and mindset of the agency I was going to work for.

What is your boldest prediction for the industry over the next decade?

I believe over the next decade we will see a clear separation between the types of brokers and agencies within the market. We will see advisers who are experts in analyzing claim data and designing self-funded plans become known as expense reduction consultants while agencies that provide support on benefits without the results continue to take on the broker name. I see employers hiring both, using them to fill a different role within the health plan and employee experience. This is happening already and I see the trend continuing.

What has been your biggest professional challenge and how did you overcome it?

I moved into a new role, within a new company, in a new city, all at the same time in 2018. I was self-aware of the challenges ahead. I knew building a network would be difficult. The first year, I attended three networking events each week, and before I knew it, I was speaking and hosting some of these events. Moving into a new company was the more challenging piece. A benefits adviser is a team leader, and I had to build trust and rapport within a tight-knit agency. This will be a continuous goal, but I really try to help anywhere I can, be humble, and show people I care about them and our mission. As a young female in the role, it’s difficult to drop the obsession with likeability and to keep the balance between being seen as a leader but not “overly aggressive.” I have found solidarity in knowing that I am doing the best I can, and that I am here to help anyone who wants to follow in my path.

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