The Value of Community

Last week, we hosted our 5th annual One Place conference—for the first time, we held it in Orlando, FL. It was a huge success, with new technologies being unveiled to a record number of attendees! As I walked on stage to deliver my keynote address to a massive crowd, I couldn’t help but be awed by how much the company and our customer community event have grown since our first One Place in 2011.

Back then, as the company grew and grew, we had reached a point where we were supporting millions of people through our platform. We were rolling out exciting new features and enhancements to our technology, as well as introducing new product offerings. We decided to host our first One Place not only to collaborate on technological advancements with our rapidly growing community, but also to share with them the best ways to use these new tools to deliver maximum value from their investment. These reasons are every bit as relevant today as they were five years ago—perhaps even more so with our industry undergoing massive and disruptive change.

Fast-forward to 2015 where we kicked off One Place by unveiling that we now have more than 25,000,000 members on the Benefitfocus platform. With so many employers and insurance carriers using our products, we focused on how to help them unlock the value of their benefits as we introduced a host of exciting new products and technologies. The keynote auditorium was jam–packed, and people from around the country and the world watched live online. Add to that three days of breakout sessions ranging from workshops and panel discussions to informative presentations featuring industry luminaries, including healthcare futurist Jeffery Bauer, as well as healthcare and benefits experts from companies such as Forrester Research, Blue Shield of California, Mercer, Twitter, Equifax Workforce Solutions, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, New Balance, Welch-Allyn, Under Armour, CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, RedBrick Health and SuccessFactors, to name just a few.

The original vision of the conference is still there, but wow, how it has grown!

Once we had the initial One Place idea, we naturally set out to build upon it. We wanted to bring together some of the best thought leaders in our industry to share ideas, collaborate on strategies and work together with us to drive innovation in the benefits industry. And we also wanted to create a community where benefits folks from carriers and employers alike could share ideas and learn from each other how to improve the year-round experience for themselves, their associates and their members’ families.

It truly takes a huge team effort to pull off an event like One Place. Our engineers and product leaders collaborate on developing industry-leading products that solve the problems of today and tomorrow for our customers. It takes a dedicated events team a full year to plan and coordinate all the logistics just to make sure it goes off without a hitch. It takes associates across the company in all different roles contributing in a thousand different ways to make every One Place the best possible experience for everyone who attends. For them—their time and incredible talent—I’m grateful. Thank you to all of our folks who made this our best event ever!

As you build your career, your team and your products, look for ways to bring the customer and partner community together. Big and small community events will stimulate creativity, provide feedback and make your personal experience come to life. We spend decades working and those years should be full of friendships and shared experiences. For me, it is the friendships and long-lasting relationships that make my career so rewarding and full. Building those relationships is in your hands, and community events can be a very big part of that success.