Every so often we have a moment that holds out its hands and pauses time, stretching a hole in the space-time continuum. As we watch the river of time come to a standstill we can look to our left and to our right and see the past and the future. We can reflect on what has been and become excited about what will be. I recently had such a moment.
I was sitting on a stage in the parking lot of our newest building, next to South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. Mayor Joe Riley, in his 39th year as Charleston’s beloved leader, is speaking to an assembly of over a thousand people; he says, “Benefitfocus has the largest corporate presence, the most square feet, of any company in the city of Charleston, and they have led the tech boom for Charleston that is now nationally recognized.” In that moment, time stopped for me.
The city of Charleston, founded in 1670 and named after King Charles II of England, is more than 100 years older than our country. And Benefitfocus is the largest corporation in this city.
I looked to my left and saw our past--scrappy tech startup, against the odds boot-strap funded, a bit of a crazy culture, engineering software in the old South. I looked to my right and I saw our future—a massive new building behind me on a 40-acre growing campus, dignitaries here to celebrate the coming chapter of our growth, our team revolutionizing an equally massive industry with limitless needs and possibilities.
As the hands clapped shut and I snapped back into the flowing river of time, I looked all around for the most important thing I could find. That is the benefit of moments of reflection. When you snap out of them, you gain clarity, a sense of timeless perspective that allows you to zero in on the big stuff. What I saw brought tears to my eyes for several hours that afternoon. I saw a group of associates who are more committed to each other than they are themselves. I saw their parents, their children, their friends, and even some pets sharing a special afternoon with them as they beamed with pride at all they were doing. I saw my friends and my family all mixed in the big group together laughing and enjoying the celebration.
As I shook hands with moms and dads, cousins, sons and daughters, neighbors, I realized how impactful this company has become to so many. After those precious hours of enjoying our Benefitfocus family and their families, I came back to Mayor Riley putting our company into context. I came back to our Governor talking about the risk taking, the hard work, and the amazing group of people who have created this American Dream story. To me, it all comes down to the people we are helping and the togetherness we share at this very special and unique company we call Benefitfocus. I continue to be humbled and so very grateful for the opportunity I have had and the hope I have for our future. To my associates, and your families and friends, I continue to say, “You Cats are Amazing!” and I continue to believe that we are just getting started!