Debbie Schultz is not afraid of a challenge. When a client presented her with a unique communications need she solved their problem and then some by publishing a magazine on the topic: The Ridiculously Simple Guide to Health Insurance, a resource on general health insurance terms.
The published author’s day job is president of Totem Solutions, a Johns Creek, Ga.-based benefits firm, where she manages all aspects of the business, including building long-term relationships with clients, identifying business needs and developing innovative products and services to meet their unique expectations.
She has also served as president of the Atlanta Association of Life Underwriters, of which she was the first female president.
For all of these accomplishments, Schultz was recently named a 2017 Most Influential Women in Benefit Advising by EBA.
To select this year’s honorees, EBA editors asked readers to submit the names of thought leaders who are making their mark on the benefit business through their unique approaches to client relations, benefits technology and/or mentoring other women. From the dozens of submissions received, the editors chose 30 benefit advisers to recognize for their outstanding achievements.
With 38 years in benefits, Schultz now serves as Totem’s visionary for long-term business strategies, says Katherine Clements, vice president of sales and marketing at Infinity Software Solutions in Scottsdale, Ariz. “[Schultz] fosters and promotes a positive and dynamic work environment,” Clements says.
When a large corporate client had a communication challenge of trying to simplify communication on otherwise complex concepts, such as high-deductible health plans, health savings accounts, health reimbursement accounts and more, to a population of primarily hourly employees — most with no computer access and many with Spanish as their primary language — Schultz developed the book to teach these terms.
It was published in both English and Spanish and serves as an employee educational tool. It continues to be used as a training/reference tool for Totem’s benefits specialists, who work in the firms bilingual benefit service center.
She hasn’t stopped there with innovative products for clients. For a client that had no wellness services available, she developed a wellness solution by enhancing Totem’s technology, which expanded and advanced every aspect of the business. As a result, Totem was able to surpass client expectations and increase services to other clients.
What causes Schultz to be innovative? It’s a part of who she has always been. She is the third generation of her family in the insurance industry. “Innovation is in my blood,” she says. “I love the challenge of delivering solutions where there doesn't seem to be an answer.” Now her son is following in her footsteps as a 4th generation in this industry.
Totem plans to continue to expand the services of its service center. “We look forward to the yet unknown challenges that lie ahead and to the opportunity to expand our services to meet these needs,” Schultz says.
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