April is Financial Literacy Month. As we show ways Americans can be financially savvy, we want to introduce you to a leader with an extensive financial background. Robert Miller, SVP Product, led investor education teams in the financial sector prior to joining HealthEquity. Get to know his leadership principles and get his best advice for ways to not just understand your finances but to make your money work harder for you.
HealthEquity: Robert, thank you for shining a light on Financial Literacy Month and why it’s important to have basic financial skills.
Robert Miller: I sincerely appreciate the invitation. And I’m always happy to talk about finances, especially if I can show people that it’s not that complicated after all. But I have to say, I’m not used to talking about myself. I try to be on the quieter side of leadership and opt for letting my work speak for itself.
HealthEquity: That’s totally understandable, and perhaps one of the great aspects of leadership at HealthEquity—there are many ways to be a leader and champion teammates who are passionate about helping people have more choice and control over their healthcare and finances. So, let’s get started with the questions.
10 questions with Robert Miller
1. What was your first job and what is your role now?
The summer after my freshman year of high school, my basketball coach helped me get a job selling programs and doing set up for box seats at the Hollywood Bowl. It was a fun summer job where I got to work with friends and stay out until the wee hours of the morning. But I remember being challenged for the few weeks when my job overlapped with the start of school. I would get home at 1 a.m. and then had to scramble to make it to 6 a.m. basketball practice.
Over the years I’ve worked primarily for financial firms. I’m proud to say that most of my career has been in financial education. From financial planning and analysis to coaching and developing investor education tools, I consider myself fortunate to do this work that helps people build up their financial knowledge. In my current role, I have the privilege of leading an immensely talented and committed team of product professionals at HealthEquity. We are responsible for ensuring HealthEquity solutions are and continue to be the market-leading solution for our partners, clients, and members.
2. What is your guiding principle or North Star?
For me it all comes down to caring deeply about the quality of my work, but caring even more deeply about the people in my life. Prioritizing people over work extends beyond my family to include colleagues. At the end of the day, relationships are more valuable than things.
3. HealthEquity has a strong commitment to deliver a remarkable experience. How are we continuing to improve in this area?
I’m grateful to work closely with scores of HealthEquity teammates that are dedicated to scaling the magic to help Americans achieve wellness and financial wellbeing. Of course it’s a focus of our product work. But in reality, the entire HealthEquity team is dedicated to ensuring our partners, clients, and members have remarkable experiences. Some of the items we’re excited to bring to our stakeholders this year include:
- Simplified online COBRA rate renewal process
- Rapid reimbursement account renewal process
- File processing enhancements to speed up the busy season
- Barcode scanning for expense eligibility validation
- Continued Help Center enhancements, including mobile chat access
- Unified login for clients and members
- IVR improvements to bring callers a better overall experience
- And many, many more features
I also want to point out how much of our work relates directly to Financial Literacy Month. We know from studies that there’s a growing retirement savings gap and we know that healthcare in retirement is expensive. I love that one of the best ways we can provide a remarkable experience is to continue to develop the resources, tools, and education to help Americans really make that connection between their health and their wealth. For individuals just getting started, our HSA guide lays it all out. And if you’re an employer or benefits advisor reading this, I have to make a plug for our upcoming webinar on April 27—Health Savings Accounts and the Secret to Closing the Retirement Savings Gap. It’s free and I hope you can attend.
4. What advice do you have for people just starting out in their career?
My advice centers on encouraging people to think about compensation in a new light. For example, I believe employers pay you in a variety of ways. Early in your career, you’re compensated both monetarily and through opportunities to gain experience and develop new skills. Take roles early in your career that require you to think differently and learn new things. Don’t be afraid to be uncomfortable because growth only happens when you’re stretched. Growing your skillset and capabilities will increase the value you can bring to an organization. Overall, this will open you up to more opportunities later in your career when the financial implications of your work may be more important.
5. What would surprise people to know about you?
My wife and I are blessed to have five amazing daughters. Undeniably, they have helped me to be a better person. I wouldn’t trade the joy of living with six wonderful women for anything.
6. What is a defining moment in your life?
I have to say visiting my father at work made a big impact on my life. My father was an administrator in the Los Angeles County Office of Education. He led a large department that helped over a million welfare recipients in the county find jobs and become self-sufficient. I knew his work was important, but I was inspired to see his enthusiasm for his work. I watched how he treated everyone with genuine kindness and respect. It didn’t matter if he was interacting with a Los Angeles County Councilperson, one of his direct reports (who were like extended family to us), the janitor, or a welfare recipient participating in the program. He saw the good in everyone and treated them accordingly. It was a common occurrence on these “workdays with dad” for people to wait for me to be alone so they could pull me aside and share how much they loved my dad. Those moments opened my eyes to the influence a leader can have. And his leadership style of universal kindness and respect became a model for me as I became a leader.
7. What book influenced you in your professional life?
This is a really hard question because there have been so many influential books in my career. If forced to choose only one book, I would have to say “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. I love the book’s focus on effectiveness. I could go on and on about the importance of being efficient with things but effective with people. I’ve strived to incorporate the habits into my life, albeit I have a long way to go. It helped that I spent the first six years of my career at the Franklin Covey company and saw the content being modeled everyday by my teammates and leaders.
Just slightly behind Covey’s book would be “How Will You Measure Your Life” by Clayton Christensen. I love how he advocates for people management as the most noble of all professions. It’s clear that managers can profoundly influence people’s lives, so I like the focus on how to use that influence to help people grow, take ownership of projects, and get the recognition they deserve for their work.
8. What cause is closest to your heart?
Child hunger. This world is so amazing, yet there are hundreds of millions of children who do not have enough to eat, including ten to twenty million right here in the most prosperous nation the world has ever known. It’s important to me to do what I can to make a difference in this area.
9. What's your favorite part of helping clients and members reach their goals?
Isn’t helping others what life is all about? What I love about HealthEquity is the tremendous opportunity it provides. We’re just around 3,500 team members, and yet we are helping millions of American families to save money and better prepare for their future.
10. What absolutely excites you right now about HealthEquity?
Is it weird to say that our product roadmap gets me excited? I love the enhancements we’re working on today. Overall, these products will help partners and clients deliver remarkable benefit programs to their people and help members connect health and wealth. Check out What’s New to see our recent releases as well as brief summaries of the more notable enhancements you’ll see from us soon.
HealthEquity: Robert, thanks for your time today. It’s clear that you get a lot of energy from helping people, especially when it comes to showing people how to get the most from their HSA accounts.