Editor’s Desk

What im­presses me most about EBN’s Ben­e­fits Pro­fes­sional of the Year isn’t just what she’s done at Face­book, but what she’s try­ing to do to move the en­tire in­dus­try.

Employee Benefit News - - Contents -

What im­presses me most about EBN’s Ben­e­fits Pro­fes­sional of the Year isn’t just what she’s done at Face­book, but what she’s try­ing to do to move the en­tire in­dus­try.

I al­ready knew we had cho­sen the right per­son as EBN’s 2018 Ben­e­fits Pro­fes­sional of the Year, but Face­book’s se­nior di­rec­tor of ben­e­fits, Re­nee Albert, re­in­forced my be­lief af­ter I emailed her with the news.

“Can­didly, I feel so very blessed to be able to be a part of a com­mu­nity here at Face­book that al­lows me to show my pas­sion and love for ben­e­fits through the ben­e­fit pro­grams we can de­velop for our peo­ple,” she wrote in an email to me. “I was ex­cited just to share our story with you around the work we’ve been able to do so far. We are only 1% done.”

I’ve spo­ken to Re­nee a hand­ful of times over the past sev­eral weeks, and she’s filled me in on the so­cial me­dia gi­ant’s game-chang­ing care­giv­ing, be­reave­ment and parental leave poli­cies, as well as its sab­bat­i­cal pro­gram, fer­til­ity ben­e­fits and men­tal health ini­tia­tives.

What makes me so ex­cited about Re­nee isn’t just what she’s done at Face­book, but what she’s try­ing to do to move the en­tire in­dus­try. Through con­ver­sa­tions, re­search and her work at the In­ter­na­tional Foun­da­tion of Em­ployee Ben­e­fit Plans, she is work­ing to en­cour­age other em­ploy­ers to rev­o­lu­tion­ize their ben­e­fits.

“Face­book is re­ally, re­ally open be­cause we are a mis­sion-driven com­pany,” she told me. “And that’s how we are with ben­e­fits. When we launch ben­e­fits and it works, we want to share it with other em­ploy­ers and have them come along with us on this jour­ney.”

Choos­ing the win­ners of the Benny Awards — which rec­og­nize four in­di­vid­u­als for ex­cel­lence and in­no­va­tion in the em­ployee ben­e­fits/hu­man re­sources field — each Septem­ber is one of my fa­vorite parts of the job. It’s also one of the hard­est — there are too many great peo­ple to choose from. (To ev­ery­one who nom­i­nated or in­tro­duced me to amaz­ing ben­e­fits man­agers to con­sider, thank you. And please, nom­i­nate again next year!)

Be­gin­ning on p. 12, you’ll also read about:

• Can­dace Shaf­fer, di­rec­tor of ben­e­fits at Pur­due Univer­sity (Ben­e­fits Lead­er­ship in Health­care win­ner)

• Jodi Bud­nick, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of tal­ent at Op­tanix (Ben­e­fits Lead­er­ship in Re­tire­ment win­ner)

• Milt Ez­zard, vice pres­i­dent of global ben­e­fits at Ac­tivi­sion Bliz­zard (Judges’ Choice win­ner) Our an­nual Benny Awards give me a chance to meet and talk to peo­ple com­mit­ted to im­prov­ing em­ploy­ees’ health and fi­nances while help­ing them deal with per­sonal chal­lenges — sim­ply put, mak­ing lives bet­ter. These awards are a re­minder that the work each of you do — not only the four peo­ple we have cho­sen to rec­og­nize as win­ners — is so im­por­tant.

Speak­ing of talk­ing to ben­e­fits pro­fes­sion­als, I hope to meet some of you at our up­com­ing Ben­e­fits Expo and Fo­rum Sept. 24-26 in New Or­leans. I’m so ex­cited that both Re­nee and Milt will be speak­ing dur­ing the event, join­ing a num­ber of ben­e­fits pro­fes­sion­als who are pas­sion­ate about their busi­ness and the in­dus­try in gen­eral. I hope you can join us.

Send let­ter, queries and story ideas to Editor-in-Chief Kathryn Mayer at [email protected]­me­dia.com

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