Adviser Rae Lee Clark thrives with a head full of knowledge

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In a benefits landscape that is constantly changing as a result of legislation and regulation, Rae Lee Clark, chief compliance officer at Vita Companies, knows her job is more important than ever.

Recently named one of EBA’s 2017 Most Influential Women in Benefit Advising, Clark, who has spent her entire 32-year career at Vita, helps the Mountain View, Calif.-based brokerage develop comprehensive compliance solutions for clients in all benefit areas, including ERISA, COBRA, Section 125, HIPAA privacy and security, as well as wellness solutions.

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.

Clark keeps everyone informed through an educational newsletter and blog called ‘Vita Viewpoints,’ which has seen a dramatic uptick in readership from clients and non-clients alike, helping the agency with its marketing efforts and reputation.

In a heated political climate, Clark “is a pillar of knowledge and leadership at Vita. … [She] keeps a cool head and ensures not only that she is educated about law and regulations that impact our clients, but also teaches our team through regular trainings and updates,” says Vita CEO Karl Hansen.

Clark has an impact not just in California but also nationwide. “She travels the country meeting with industry officials and brings her knowledge back to our clients,” Hansen explains. “Every major initiative at Vita passes through Rae Lee for her input and guidance, as her opinion is so highly regarded.”

Lee explains she is innovative because it is “rooted in my fundamental life purpose of making an impact in the world, specifically on people’s lives.”

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“At every turn, at every opportunity, the question is: What will make an impact on someone today?” she says. “Whether it be creating a kick-ass financial analysis so an HR professional feels empowered in decision making, educating people on complex legislative concepts so they are easily understood, or mentoring a colleague toward professional growth ... all actions are rooted in the question of impact.”

That impact is one she is spreading to everyone at Vita, as she regularly monitors both new and long-term employees to help them strive to become better selves, Hansen explains.

“Rae Lee is highly regarded not only for her industry knowledge and experience, but she is also the go-to source for life advice in our office,” he adds. “From professional development to personal life challenges, Rae Lee is a foundation of priceless knowledge.”

And although she has spent her entire career at Vita, she has no plans to leave. “My current formula works for me,” she says. “So, my plan for the future is simply more of the same. Make a difference. Do things well. Create impact that matters.”

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