EBA Magazine Rising Star 2020

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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Branding Employee Benefits for Open Enrollment

Many employers have fallen into the trap of surrendering to the negative perception around open enrollment and benefits, not realizing the massive opportunity to stand out as an ’employer of choice’. What if you allocated 5%-10% of your total cost of benefits (e.g. healthcare, dental, life insurance, gym membership) and spent that money on marketing the benefits to your number one customer: your employees? Open enrollment acts as the perfect time to re-invent your strategy for communicating the value, tools, and resources you provide to your employees through employee benefits. 

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The weather is cooling down and the end of the year is approaching us. For many, this means it’s open enrollment season for our employer-sponsored benefits and only a few months to spend the rest of our Flexible Savings Account (FSA) dollars.

Should your company move to a PEO? The 5 questions no one is asking you.

The 21st century HR manager is juggling tasks from all levels within an organization. From manifesting the perfect culture, hiring and onboarding employees, to managing and enrolling employee benefits. HR managers are commonly taking on an impossible balancing act on a daily basis. Realizing the overwhelming amount of tasks expected of HR and the fear of the unknown with compliance, organizations often look towards a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) as the ‘easy button’ to streamline these functions.

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