Reflections on our 25 Year Journey

Today, it’s a rare thing for a company to celebrate 25 years in business. As a pioneer in the non-insured benefits industry, New Benefits is proud to accomplish this milestone. As such, this is a good time to take a step back and reflect on how we arrived at this point in our journey. Below are memories and stories from a few of the people who have contributed to our success along the way.

Joel RayJoel Ray, CEO & Founder, 25 years

What is the biggest change you have experienced at New Benefits?

“Going from a single health product (Coast to Coast Vision) in 1990 to providing customers with an array of 35 health and lifestyle related products today. The expression, “the only thing constant is change” really resonates at NB because I never would have dreamed in the beginning that one day we would service millions of members across such a wide spectrum of broker relationships and industries.”

How would you describe New Benefits’ culture?

“In the beginning, our culture was: all hands on deck; do what you need to do to keep the lights on. As in all early cycle companies, many of us wore several hats. A vivid memory was a client calling after we were in business approximately three years and asked why I was answering the phone. While I no longer answer incoming calls in customer service, our culture has never wavered from being a company ‘with all hands on deck.’

Additionally, our culture has always been one of innovation, flexibility, leadership, integrity and passion. I’ve always believed if a company  stops pursuing perfection,  it will become less relevant over time and vanish along with Blockbuster, Polaroid, and Worldcom – just to mention a few.”

What are your favorite or funniest memories?

“For many years at our annual holiday party, Terry and I would sing karaoke. Terry would have the song and act picked out, bring in a boombox, and we would practice for hours.  Most memorable were “I Got You Babe” by Sonny and Cher (I was Cher and Terry was Sonny) and Grease (John Travolta and Olivia Newton John).”

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Terry Ray, President, 20 years

What is the biggest change you have experienced at New Benefits?

“In the 25 years we’ve been in business, I’ve been part of this company for 20 and a client for three years before starting here, and the biggest change is what we learned about ourselves—that we could overcome just about any hurdle. When you’re small, the ups are really high and the lows are really low because you tend to put so many eggs in one basket. We’ve overcome every hurdle and come out stronger on the other side. We’ve learned from every challenge. And we found out when we set our mind to something, there isn’t anything we can’t do.”

How would you describe New Benefits’ culture?

“I’d like to think I’m personally responsible for crafting the culture we have. I’ve always understood the importance of culture because of my seven years at Apple where culture was huge. After coming to New Benefits, I thought we could make this even better than Apple—we can craft our own culture and values. If you don’t have certain inherent values and you don’t look for those values in your candidates for hire, you won’t be able to sustain the culture. I’ve always looked for people who are going to reflect our values… people who have a sparkle. People who look at this as a journey, not a job, and want to make a difference. That’s the glue that holds us together culturally. We do everything in our power to invest in our people so they are constantly prepared to carry the value torch.”

What are your favorite or funniest memories?

“One of my favorite memories was years ago, when we were in the old building, and we got our first big fulfillment order and most of us stayed until the wee hours of the morning stuffing envelopes. That’s a fond memory because most of our employees today will never understand what we went through to make this company what it is. We had to get our hands really dirty! Clean toilets, sweep floors–do whatever it took to launch the business.”

Marti Powles COOMarti Powles, Chief Operating Officer, 21 years

What is the biggest change you have experienced at New Benefits?

“When Mike and I started working at New Benefits, there were four other employees. We now have 85 employees in the company. Additionally, over the years we have moved from the very small office space we occupied in 1993 to our current building which we have remodeled to feel like a home.”

How would you describe New Benefits’ culture?

“Our culture is a friendly, family environment. When guests visit our office they often comment how happy our employees are and want to know our secret. The secret is to hire employees that live our core values on a daily basis and want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.”

What are your favorite or funniest memories?

“Employee events such as Joel Ray Day (Chili Cook-off), Cinco De Mayo, Halloween Costume Contest, Thanksgiving Lunch and Holiday parties are the most memorable to me. We work hard, but always take time to celebrate.”

small dulceDulce Bozeman, Executive Vice President, 16 years

What is the biggest change you have experienced at New Benefits?

“The biggest change I have experienced is the automation of processes and the impact it has had on our growth.  Working smarter and aligning ourselves with individuals who see the bigger picture has played a significant role in our success over the years.”

How would you describe New Benefits’ culture?

“NB’s culture is largely comprised of individuals who consider their jobs an extension of themselves.  Individuals who operate differently but toward the same goal.  Individuals who know how to have fun while getting the work done.  Individuals who develop relationships with other another and, ultimately, people who care about their success and the impact they have on the business.”

What are your favorite or funniest memories?

“There have been so many memorable moments during my tenure with New Benefits but I would say holiday performances at our company party have always been the most entertaining.  Some of the best and worst singers/dancers have surfaced during karaoke and/or choreographed performances.  To think our karaoke was once held in Joel’s office behind his desk in the early 2000’s further illustrates the fun family environment we’ve worked so hard to maintain over the years.”

Mike-Crop-RT small squareMike Vance, VP Print Services, 21 years

What is the biggest change you have experienced at New Benefits?

“The evolution of our membership materials and the print process has been the biggest change I have experienced. We started with a machine which printed plastic cards one at a time by hand insertion. Now we have a fully automated color printer where we can produce 3,000 cards an hour.”

How would you describe New Benefits’ culture?

“Creative, fun, and ever-changing… but the biggest is passion. People here have a passion for the concept and each other—we stay late and get the job done. Joel isn’t a typical CEO. He comes in on weekends and stays late; he has the same passion today as when he started the company.”

RichardBrown_ImageRichard Brown, Programmer & Analyst, 21 years

What is the biggest change you have experienced at New Benefits?

“All change has been positive and moving us forward. Hiring Mike, Marti and Terry was probably the most important change. Joel brought some very smart people into the operation to advance the firm, even though he may not have been able to afford to at the time.”

How would you describe New Benefits’ culture?

“Never stay stagnant.”

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