For Heather Gillow, vice president and account executive for Pacific Resources out of Boston, it pays to be a perfectionist. The honoree in EBA’s 2017 list of Most Influential Women in Benefit Advising has never lost a client.

“Heather has earned a deep respect among the carriers she works with,” says Nate Free, vice president of client services at Pacific Resources,. “She understands the importance of partnering not just with the client but also with the carrier to achieve the best results for all parties involved.”

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.

Heather Gillow

Gillow manages strategic plan design consultation, large case marketing and implementation, vendor management, process redesign, carrier negotiations and contract development at Pacific Resources to deliver increased efficiencies in plan administration and management for her clients.

“Heather joined the company in 2004 after working in Cigna’s National Accounts Division as an account executive and service representative focusing on clients with up to 10,000 employees,” Free says. “At Pacific Resources, Heather is the primary contact for Fortune-ranked employers, and partners closely with them to support their efforts to provide the best non-medical benefits to their employees and families.”

Free has worked with Gillow for eight years, and in that time, he says he has watched her have a strong impact on their clients and in the benefits industry as a whole.

“At Pacific Resources, our clients are primarily in the Fortune 500 and average 30,000 employees,” Free says. “Heather’s clients are some of the largest in the world with unique challenges, complex requirements and many stakeholders whose expectations are very high.”

Driving positive change
Free adds that in all of Gillow’s years at Pacific Resources, she has never lost one of her clients, and has helped grow and strengthen every relationship she has encountered.

“Over the past 12 years, Heather has had a significant impact on her clients and their employees, helping them reduce costs by hundreds of millions of dollars while enhancing the programs being offered and the employee experience,” Free says. “Heather drives positive change in our industry by constantly challenging the status quo and working with the insurance carriers, service providers and TPA’s to develop new solutions that meet her clients’ specific needs.”

Gillow has taken a personal interest in mentoring women in the client service organization. Pamela Sullivan, a senior account manager at Pacific Resources, has worked side-by-side with Gillow for more than a decade and Free says she has benefited immensely from this teaming relationship.

“Under Heather’s tutelage, Pamela has been promoted throughout her tenure with the company and has gained the experience and the confidence to work directly with clients,” Free says. “She is now considered one of Pacific Resources’ strongest employees.”

Free says Gillow makes everyone at the company better by leading as an example. [She] is the mold for current and future account executives within our organization,” he says. “Not only does she take time to mentor her colleagues, she has created many of the templates and work product that our teams use regularly. Heather is the gold standard in her profession, delivering unmatched service and solving the challenges for the largest and most complex companies in the world.”

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