The Women Who Lead Us
Women make up nearly half of the U.S. labor force, but only 11.5% hold positions in the senior-most ranks of the company. New Benefits believes every employee can be a leader, and makes personal and professional development a priority. Because of this emphasis on growth, many of our employees, including a large percentage of women, have been with our company for the greater part of their careers, earning recognition for their achievements and climbing the ranks.
Four of our top leaders are incredible women who have made New Benefits their home for a combined tenure of nearly 80 years. Terry Ray, Marti Powles, Dulce Bozeman, and Amanda Franklin are evidence of what happens when a company invests in leadership potential. They have helped make New Benefits what it is today, shaping our culture, business strategy, employee development, and innovative spirit. All four women have their own unique evolution stories at New Benefits, and hope to continue the cycle by investing in the next generation of leaders.
Terry Ray, Chief Leadership Officer
Initially, I was a client of New Benefits. I loved what they were doing and wanted to be part of it, so I came on board as Director of Marketing in 1995. Within five years I advanced to President, and have now taken on the newly created role of Chief Leadership Officer. Working with Joel [Ray, CEO] and pairing our different business experiences together has greatly impacted my growth as a leader. Where he’s a self-taught entrepreneur and visionary, I have a formal, diverse corporate background from my time at Xerox and Apple. He’s inquisitive with keen instincts, and I’m incisive, organized, and unabashedly enthusiastic. Our complementary qualities and insights have made for a strong partnership.
Culture played an important role in my previous corporate jobs, and I used those experiences to help develop the New Benefits culture and values. An integral part of our culture is Dare to Dazzle™, which I created 20 years ago to make “great customer service” a promise to our clients rather than a corporate platitude. Every quarter, we hold company-wide training sessions on strategies and tactics to deliver exceptional service.
The Chief Leadership Officer position allows me to focus exclusively on investing in our employees’ personal and professional development. Everyone should be a leader, regardless of their title. By understanding the competencies of leadership, like emotional and social intelligence, our employees will carry confidence into both their work and personal lives.
I’ve been part of New Benefits since nearly the beginning. I joined in 1993 when Joel started a new concept, putting multiple benefits on one membership card. As a small, fairly new company, we all wore a lot of hats in the early years. I helped build the processes in our sales life cycle, from contracting a broker to sending out a membership kit. Over the years I’ve been involved in nearly every area of the company in some form or fashion, which has helped me be more effective in my current role as COO.
It has been an incredible journey over the last 25 years and I am proud of what we have become as a company, but I am even more excited about the future. We have some lofty and ambitious goals in the technology arena, but that is what makes New Benefits so special.
Someone asked me recently why I’ve stayed with New Benefits all this time. I told them it is because I love what I do and love the people I work with, who motivate me to improve and do better every day. Our employees are key to our success as a company and make me proud to be a member of the team.
I started my New Benefits journey in 1999 as a Member Services Representative. From the beginning, Terry Ray became my mentor and grew me personally and professionally, always challenging me to produce better work and go beyond average. With her guidance and a lot of hard work, I advanced through leadership roles in Member and Client Services, then entered the executive suite as EVP before becoming President.
I’ve loved every moment at New Benefits, but I’m especially proud of the relationships I’ve built and the management style I’ve developed, which is candid, yet human. I’m a strong believer in having the tough conversations, as painful as they may be, because a lack of transparency is a disservice to the employee. I love developing the potential in our employees, helping them understand their strengths and getting them out of their comfort zone. Any accomplishment I feel is from watching their success.
Entering into this new role as President, I’m excited to broaden my scope and influence, focusing on the individuals who make this organization thrive. I’d like to focus my efforts on engagement and communication, developing the middle layer of management, and creating a growth strategy to align with our company goals and objectives.
I came to work for New Benefits in 2007 as an Account Executive. More than ten years and five positions later, I’m excited to take on my new role as EVP Operations. On my path to the executive level, I’ve learned volumes about our business and industry, management, leadership, perseverance, and professionalism from Dulce and Marti. I was also able to stretch beyond my comfort level early in my career through our Emerging Leaders program, which gave me a direct line of communication to senior leadership.
While I’ve learned so much in my time at New Benefits, the greatest lesson has been about tenacity. When presented with something you aren’t sure how to tackle or solve, you don’t throw your hands up. You find the necessary resources, get advice from people willing to help (and everyone here is always willing), and keep working at it until you figure it out. There were several times I took on new roles with no idea what to expect, but I always dug in and figured out how to utilize each role to move the company forward and grow myself personally and professionally.
I’m excited for the direction New Benefits is taking. We’re building on our benefits core, heavily investing in technology, and improving client engagement tools. Stepping into the EVP Operations role, I’m looking forward to supporting strategic initiatives to help take our vision to a whole new level.
Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has famously said, “Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” New Benefits has made it a priority to develop our own leaders, investing in potential, recognizing achievement, and providing opportunity. Because of New Benefits’ investment in Terry, Marti, Dulce, and Amanda, we have a dazzling culture, ambitious goals, thriving employees, and the tenacity to be daring.
CEO Joel Ray says, “Leadership is about inspiring others to share your vision and implement it with passion. These four ladies bring their A+ game to the office every day, and as such, success is simply the byproduct of their determination and desire for greatness.” There are many employees within our walls with similar trajectories, and we can’t wait to see the impact they continue to have on our business. Under the leadership of Joel, these incredible four women, and every NB employee who steps up, the sky’s the limit to what we can achieve.