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America's Benefit Specialist Aug/Sep 2016 : Page 8

PRESIDENT’S PAGE We face many challenges in the coming year with the uncertain political climate and the changes yet to come. But since we gather together like this only twice a year, today I want to concentrate my remarks on the big-picture issues that make us a unique and special organization. It starts with our clear mission and our aspirational vision. NAHU’s mission is: We advocate for our members, provide professional development and deliver resources to promote excellence. Our vision is: We are the preeminent organization for health insurance and employee benefits professionals. NAHU is a member-centric association. Members are the reason why we exist. Everything we do starts with serving the needs of our members. The dedicated volunteer chapter leaders, committees, Board of Trustees and professional staff work together to make membership valuable. Our unrelenting focus is to make each and every member feel valued. There are three ingredients that make NAHU so successful and unique: our heritage our culture and our vision. I want to address each component briefly. Our heritage: NAHU was founded during the single most challenging financial times our country has ever experienced: The Great Depression. In 1930, our founders saw the need to protect the financial futures of Americans in those tough times and to protect the role and interests of the professional agents, brokers and advisors through legislative advocacy and professional education. NAHU has led the health insurance industry ever since and along the way has cultivated a heritage of success. Today, we are all adapting to the challenges brought about by the ACA. But, for the past 86 years, NAHU has faced challenges and prevailed over such threats as Social Security, Medicare, national health insurance, ERISA, the emergence of HMOs and managed care, Hillary Care, COBRA, HIPAA, the Affordable Care Act and now the re-emergence of single payer. This doesn’t even count the reform changes in the states! At every turn and with every threat to our marketplace, NAHU has been there to protect the interests of its members and, at the same time, protect the interests of the American consumer. Whatever is in the best interest of our members is also in the best interest of the American public. NAHU represents over 100,000 health insurance professionals who in turn represent the health insurance needs of over 175 million Americans. I thank every single past president of our fine federation for their individual and collective leadership throughout NAHU’s existence. I also commend our EVP/CEO for embracing our vision of expanding our influence and brand in our nation’s capital. Janet and our staff have increased our reputation and sphere of prestige and influence in the tradition of NAHU excellence. She has honored the tradition of Harold R. Gordon, whom we honor every year with a black-tie formal celebration. He was our very first executive director at the first convention in Chicago on June 5, 1930. Next is our culture . Our organizational culture is rooted in shared and common values, beliefs, assumptions and tradi-tions. Everywhere you go in the country our members have shared values, shared purpose and shared direction. We work shoulder to shoulder to protect our profes-sion and our clients. Our culture binds us together because of what we believe. We believe in leadership support, learning and growth, relationships and friendships, team performance, influence, accountability, recognition and rewards, and, of course, a laser focus on members. By Jim Stenger For those of you who couldn’t make it to NAHU’s excellent convention in Albuquerque this summer, what follows is the text of my speech during the House of Delegates. I share this with you so that you see our priorities and philosophies for the next year. “Thank you to all the delegates for your dedication, interest and involvement in the governing process. This process keeps us moving forward and makes NAHU the best professional association in our industry. Congratulations to the new board members and congratulations to all of our many local and state chapter officers. Thank you to all new committee volunteers. Working together in the coming year promises to be a challenging and great move forward for our beloved federation. We ARE a federation, just like our country: many independent states together under one union. 8 HIU | hiu-digital.com

President's Page

Jim Stenger

For those of you who couldn't make it to NAHU's excellent convention in Albuquerque this summer, what follows is the text of my speech during the House of Delegates. I share this with you so that you see our priorities and philosophies for the next year.

"Thank you to all the delegates for your dedication, interest and involvement in the governing process. This process keeps us moving forward and makes NAHU the best professional association in our industry.

Congratulations to the new board members and congratulations to all of our many local and state chapter officers. Thank you to all new committee volunteers. Working together in the coming year promises to be a challenging and great move forward for our beloved federation.

We ARE a federation, just like our country: many independent states together under one union.

We face many challenges in the coming year with the uncertain political climate and the changes yet to come. But since we gather together like this only twice a year, today I want to concentrate my remarks on the big-picture issues that make us a unique and special organization.

It starts with our clear mission and our aspirational vision. NAHU's mission is:

We advocate for our members, provide professional development and deliver resources to promote excellence. Our vision is: We are the preeminent organization for health insurance and employee benefits professionals.

NAHU is a member-centric association. Members are the reason why we exist. Everything we do starts with serving the needs of our members. The dedicated volunteer chapter leaders, committees, Board of Trustees and professional staff work together to make membership valuable. Our unrelenting focus is to make each and every member feel valued.

There are three ingredients that make NAHU so successful and unique: our heritage our culture and our vision. I want to address each component briefly.

Our heritage: NAHU was founded during the single most challenging financial times our country has ever experienced: The Great Depression. In 1930, our founders saw the need to protect the financial futures of Americans in those tough times and to protect the role and interests of the professional agents, brokers and advisors through legislative advocacy and professional education.

NAHU has led the health insurance industry ever since and along the way has cultivated a heritage of success. Today, we are all adapting to the challenges brought about by the ACA. But, for the past 86 years, NAHU has faced challenges and prevailed over such threats as Social Security, Medicare, national health insurance, ERISA, the emergence of HMOs and managed care, Hillary Care, COBRA, HIPAA, the Affordable Care Act and now the re-emergence of single payer. This doesn't even count the reform changes in the states!

At every turn and with every threat to our marketplace, NAHU has been there to protect the interests of its members and, at the same time, protect the interests of the American consumer. Whatever is in the best interest of our members is also in the best interest of the American public. NAHU represents over 100,000 health insurance professionals who in turn represent the health insurance needs of over 175 million Americans.

I thank every single past president of our fine federation for their individual and collective leadership throughout NAHU's existence. I also commend our EVP/CEO for embracing our vision of expanding our influence and brand in our nation's capital. Janet and our staff have increased our reputation and sphere of prestige and influence in the tradition of NAHU excellence. She has honored the tradition of Harold R. Gordon, whom we honor every year with a black-tie formal celebration. He was our very first executive director at the first convention in Chicago on June 5, 1930.

Next is our culture. Our organizational culture is rooted in shared and common values, beliefs, assumptions and traditions. Everywhere you go in the country our members have shared values, shared purpose and shared direction. We work shoulder to shoulder to protect our profession and our clients.

Our culture binds us together because of what we believe. We believe in leadership support, learning and growth, relationships and friendships, team performance, influence, accountability, recognition and rewards, and, of course, a laser focus on members.

Our member value comes from the fact that our members are valued.

Our cultural style derives from how we behave: We are resilient, adaptable and trusting of each other. We are in the business of serving each other and our clients. We are passionate about serving our clients, almost like social workers with insurance licenses.

We thrive because of our immense talents and determination.

Lastly, our vision: Like our predecessors who had the vision to guide our organization through plenty of past challenges, we must now set the vision for the future of our profession.

Throughout the history of America, we have been inspired by our leaders, people who articulated a clear message to define their vision: President John F. Kennedy with the mission to the moon, Dr. Martin Luther King with his "I Have a Dream" speech, President Ronald Reagan with his goal of tearing down the Berlin Wall. These were all very complicated issues but these leaders brought them into clear focus with simple, but powerful messages.

Well, our message is simple, too: We exist to serve our members so they can better serve their customers. We are America's Benefits Specialists, protecting the consumer's future.

My dream is that NAHU is the shining ideal of everything that a great association should be. My dream is that our awesome and talented volunteer members and professional staff will conquer all challenges to our livelihoods and those of our clients. My dream is that now is our time to create a new legacy of leadership!

This dream is becoming more of a reality every single day as we have evolved into higher and higher levels of influence and respect in everything we do. We know WHAT we do, we know HOW we do it and, most important, we know WHY we do it!

Our new legacy is to lead the industry into its future:

L is for legacy

E is for education

A is for advocacy

D is for development, both professional and personal

NAHU is structured to provide resources for these three major areas of service. Like the NAHU brand represented by our logo, our team of committee leaders has developed a brand logo for each of the critical committees that exist to serve the needs of our members.

Another team member I want to introduce is my ultimate teammate: my wife and closest colleague, Marilyn. Marilyn has served as president of two different state chapters, New Jersey and Florida. She served as NAHU's awards chair and chapter and leadership development chair, and is now media relations vice-chair. She was by my side for every step of the way, including the time I served as Region 2 vice president.

Thank you, Marilyn! I could never have become president of NAHU without your support, advice, counsel, friendship and love.

In closing, I challenge everyone to start looking at our profession through a wider lens. We must become more inspired–inspired by the vision that we perform an invaluable service to our corporate clients and their employees and families, and to individuals and their families and to seniors all across America.

Our success comes from having a noble purpose, the very reason for which we exist. Our purpose lies not in the products we sell or the many and varied services we provide, but rather in what we stand for. We must be defined and distinguished by this purpose. Our purpose goes well beyond selling a policy, handling a claim issue, conducting an enrollment meeting or negotiating a renewal. These tasks are what we do but why we do them is the truly critical factor.

Remember the saying "Nobody cares what you know until they know that you care"? Well, in today's language it is said this way: "It's not what you do–it's what you stand for!"

I believe that we stand for a cause: Our cause is to see that every American has the right health plan for themselves and their family at a price they can afford, and that everyone is protected from health and financial harm.

We all must raise our sights, honor our leadership heritage, culture and vision, and lift our aspirations to inspire our industry and profession to higher heights.

The true value of membership rests on three keys:

• we equip you to compete and win in the marketplace

• we advocate for better healthcare

• we develop tomorrow's industry leaders

We succeed because of our involvement in NAHU. NAHU is a place where we all feel safe from the threats of the marketplace, where we have colleagues across this great land of ours to share experiences with, to get help from and to look to–just like we look to our families. Rest assured that we have your back!

Our logo, our brand, says it all: We are America's Benefits Specialists and we are protecting the consumer's future!

Read the full article at https://mydigitalpublication.com/article/President%27s+Page/2571907/333607/article.html.

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