|CEO Message |
Creating a company built around customers depends on the individual contributions of thousands of associates each and every day. Their efforts to create a culture of trust and compassion for each other and for our customers are the secret to our success, and part of the reason the companies of OneAmerica have stood strong for more than 140 years.
Here are just a few of our associates’ stories:
HR Benefits Manager
The toll of COVID-19 is often framed in terms of physical health, but the pandemic has also had a profound impact on the mental well-being of associates. HR Benefits Manager Stephanie Kaiser, responsible for the health and wellness programs at OneAmerica, worked quickly to respond to this need.
“Over the last two years, people have sought out mental health care more than ever before, and so we needed to scale up and equip ourselves to respond,” Stephanie said. “We overhauled our employee assistance program to increase the access people had for counseling and support services.”
Stephanie, who also serves as the OneAmerica pandemic response team lead, worked with her team to knit together a robust program with extended partners that would support associate mental and physical wellness, with the flexibility to meet individual needs. These efforts were recognized when OneAmerica was named one of the 2021 Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America by Healthiest Employers® and received a Gold Recognition from the American Heart Association. Stephanie also credits the supportive company culture for helping associates pull through a difficult time.
“You can feel the empathy for people that radiates through OneAmerica. There’s a real openness about sharing concerns and vulnerabilities to support mental health,” Stephanie said. “I think it’s made our relationships stronger.”
James Yang Vice President, Information Security & Chief Information Security Officer
As a Vice President of Information Security, James Yang is tasked with protecting the data of anyone that does business with OneAmerica. Cybersecurity threats pose risks to our customers, James explained. As data breaches proliferate, it’s more important than ever customers know their data is safe.
“We started tracking our customer inquiries on Cybersecurity since 2019, and it has grown exponentially as other companies have had major data breaches. Their customers come to us because they want to know their data is safe, and that we have a Cybersecurity plan in place to protect them,” James said. “I feel very grateful that security is such a priority here. From the CEO down, everyone understands that it’s critical.”
James leads a team that touches all aspects of the business, embedded deep within every major project. By virtue of this, it’s important to James to build good relationships, both within his team and with the company at large.
“When you’re running a team, you pass on energy very easily,” James said. “If it’s positive, people will feel it, but if it’s negative, they’ll feel that too. For people to do their best work, they need to feel they’re at ease. I try to model those healthy relationships so we can come together to protect the people we serve.”
Nelvia Washington Rent
Contracts Consultant, Legal
The curiosity that drives Nelvia Washington Rent is what established her as a trusted resource within the Legal division of OneAmerica. For more than four decades, Nelvia has leapt at each opportunity to learn more about regulatory compliance, contract administration and the ever-evolving financial services industry.
“Part of my job is to understand how we administer business and serve our clients so that our contracts are in compliance with state law,” Nelvia explains. “That means I’m constantly learning, to stay abreast of any changes that might affect us or the people we serve.”
Nelvia is also a relationship-builder, bringing people together to ensure the company produces a product that serves customers while complying with state insurance departments. Thanks to her long-standing experience and her deep sense of empathy, she’s particularly skilled at understanding where other people are coming from. This also means that, whenever a question arises, Nelvia knows where to begin looking for answers.
“I’ve always felt empowered to own problems and find solutions, but especially since the pandemic began, there’s been a greater need for us to step up and adapt to new changes,” Nelvia says. “So has my entire team. No matter what’s going on, our focus is on how we can move forward and serve people well.”