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Sep 26, 2017

Their website claims that the “annual Benefits Forum & Expo offers a one-stop shop for insights into the best benefits strategies and tools available, along with great opportunities to learn, meet with your peers and get a fresh approach to the challenges in 2016 and beyond.”

With over 50 sessions and 100+ speakers the event had something for everyone and did not disappoint. While I couldn’t physically make it to every session, I had discoveries from each one that I did. 

Below are my top 5 learnings…

1. Be the greatest version of yourself  

It’s not all about “employee benefits.” Amazing feats of strength from strong man, Dave Whitley, inspired us to leave our limitations behind and be the best versions of ourselves. He broke chains and bent huge nails – that was cool, but his message of how to live a success-filled and happy life was even more incredible. I left the session knowing that with the proper mindset and preparation, I can accomplish my goals. 

2. The emergence of Gen Z

New generations of employees present new challenges for employers. Jim Link, Chief Human Resources Officer at Randstad North America, presented the first keynote. His focus was the emergence of Generation Z and the challenges that they present to employers (warning: these people have never lived without wifi). As of 2015, Generation Z was 25% of the population making them larger than Boomers and Millennials. While most of this population hasn’t quite entered the workforce, employers have to be prepared because they will be a force when they do.  

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3. Trends in benefits offerings

Parental and tuition assistance were discussed in different keynote sessions as emerging benefits being offered by employers. Maria Burns (Director of Human Resources at Boca Raton Resort & Club) and Tammy Yee (Vice President, Benefits and Mobility at American Express) discussed how they recently added paid parental leave as a benefit and the positive effects it has had on their employees and culture. Lance Salsman (City Leader at Yum Brands!) and Zoe Weintraub (Director of Sales & Corporate Partnerships at Guild Education) had a great discussion about how offering tuition assistance has helped improve recruitment and reduce turnover at their companies. The argument was that education may be expensive, but the numbers presented showed that employee turnover was more so.   

4. Performance-Based consulting

David Contorno, Employee Benefits SuperHero at Lake Norman Benefits, discussed how perverse incentives in the healthcare industry have been widespread for ages. He explained that, if everyone involved in the delivery of healthcare profits from higher prices except the customer, then prices will continue to rise. He also acknowledged that, while fee-based consulting was an improvement over the straight commission structure, it still didn’t align the financial motives of the advisor with the client. His solution to the problem is performance-based consulting arrangements. This is where the advisor actually makes more when they save the client money. David refuses commissions from carriers and moves himself around to the same side of the table as his client. During the session, he shared many stories from real clients about how this is working.

5. Learning from the best 

When I saw that all five 2017 EBA Advisers of the Year were going to be on stage at the same time, I had to get to this session and it did not disappoint. Mick Rodgers and Eric Silverman both shared that, while they stumbled into the insurance industry, they love it and the impact they get to have on business and their clients. This all struck a chord, since it’s exactly how I ended up in the industry. Sometimes you find a career and sometimes it finds you! 

Our freshbenies CEO, Reid Rasmussen, recently wrote an article about the importance of reading. He quoted Charlie “Tremendous” Jones “You will be the same person in five years…except for the people you meet and the books you read.” I appreciate conferences like EBN Benefits Forum & Expo because they allow me to meet, rub elbows with and get to know some amazing teachers and success stories in my industry. 

Now it’s your turn! If you attended the EBN Benefits Forum and Expo, what sessions did you attend? How do you implement top learnings from conferences into your business? Comment below or email me at


Adam helps educate Americans on how they can bridge the gap between what their health insurance covers and their out-of-pocket costs. With 4 children at home, he’s personally seen the perks of non-insurance benefits. Adam is a broker sales executive for freshbenies where he strategizes with brokers and employers daily about how to take the headache out of healthcare. He can be reached at

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