Remarkable Leadership: 10 questions with Jon Giffin, Talent Partner Manager Skip to content

Remarkable Leadership: 10 questions with Jon Giffin, Talent Partner Manager

5 min read

Read about Jon Giffin, Talent Partner Manager

In a large and growing company spread out across the country, there are a few threads that connect HealthEquity teammates. By now you’ve probably read several Remarkable Leadership profiles. While every leader is unique, it’s easy to spot what they have in common— a passion for empowering Americans to realize better health and financial security.

Jon Giffin shares this drive to work on efforts that support every person. Get to know this dynamic leader and find out how he strives to create inclusive spaces at work and in the community.

HealthEquity: Happy Pride month! Thanks for finding time to tell your story during a month that’s likely packed with activities.

Jon Giffin: Of course! I’m always happy to talk about the diversity activities here. HealthEquity is very inclusive and celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community is just one way this is a place where team members can feel comfortable being their authentic self at work. I’m sure we’ll get into it when we talk, but I firmly believe diversity leads to innovation. Supporting diversity of thought, culture, orientation, identity, and experience can enhance every aspect of what we do.

HealthEquity: Well said. Before we go through the questions, can you talk about your dog and your volunteer work with animal rescue groups?

Jon Giffin: I never pass up an opportunity to talk about dogs! I adopted my dog, Sparky, when he was one and he just turned two. I found him while volunteering at a rescue group in Park City, Utah. I have a history of adopting grumpy, problematic dogs.

Sparky is a Pomeranian-Dachshund mix who thinks he’s so tough. He was in the shelter for about eight months and wasn’t adopted because he can be a little aggressive. It’s about a year later, and he’s doing much better. Sparky is the reason I work in the office—if I worked from home, I would be too distracted and want to hang out with my dog all day. (Laughs) Here’s a recent photo of Sparky—he’s the best.

Jon Giffin Dog

HealthEquity: What a great story. Thank you for sharing a picture of Sparky. Let’s begin your questions!

10 questions with Jon Giffin, Talent Partner Management

1. What was your first job and what is your role now?

I was a junior in high school when I got my first after-school job at Office Max. It was the first role where I got to touch anything for technology. I was so stoked because I got to be part of the demo team for the release of Windows Vista and Microsoft Zune. Believe it or not, I was convinced the Zune was going to be the next big thing and take over the iPod. Whoops! (Laughs)

Not only did that first retail job reinforce the importance of being kind to people, but it also sparked my lifelong interest in technology. I initially thought about a major in public relations. Then my counselor said I had a talent in relationship building, so I studied human resources. I landed my first recruiting job after college and knew I found my niche. With my location in the Silicon Slopes of Utah, it was easy to find meaningful and rewarding work in technology recruiting.

I joined HealthEquity in 2019, and today I’m privileged to be a talent partner manager focused on building out our technology teams. Maybe I’m biased, but I think I’m on the best talent acquisition team—we get stuff done! I love the synergy on our team. With a fully remote team, we had to learn how to be cross-functional and work well together even when we’re physically apart—and in different time zones.

2. What is your guiding principle or North Star?

Mahatma Gandhi spoke about being the change you wish to see in the world. That’s the guiding principle I try to live by. The way that shows up for me in my daily life is through a positive, can-do attitude, a smile on my face, and assuming positive intent with everything I do. 

3. HealthEquity has a strong commitment to deliver a remarkable experience—how are we continuing to improve in this area?

Delivering a remarkable experience absolutely applies to my job. I want the candidates I interact with to have a wonderful experience in the interview process.

I go above and beyond by overcommunicating with both the internal hiring leaders and the candidates. I think my extra effort helps. Not only do prospective teammates want to work with us, but the hiring managers feel confident that their talent partners are invested in the right people to match their goals.

4. What advice do you have for people just starting out in their career?

For anyone new to the workforce, be okay with being comfortably uncomfortable. There have been so many times throughout my career where I have had to get out of my own way. Or, I was working on projects that I really didn’t enjoy. But 9 out of 10 times, those situations helped me stretch and grow. I think I learned more in those challenging assignments.

Lean into the challenges, learn from them, and embrace them. Change is the only constant you can always count on.

5. What would surprise people to know about you?

I went to college on a full-ride ballroom dance scholarship and competed at a national and international level. It was a blast. I represented my college at a competition in Blackpool, England as an individual competitor and as part of the formation team.

HealthEquity: What!? That’s fascinating. How many dances do you know?

I know the 10 classic dances. Five Latin dances: Cha Cha, Samba, Rumba, Pasa Doble, and Jive. Plus, the Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, and Quickstep.

People outside of Utah may not realize that ballroom dance is huge in the Salt Lake City area. I started dancing when I was seven years old and practiced six hours a day. Here are two pictures of me dancing at a competition.

Jon Giffin Dancing 2

Jon Giffin Dance

6. What is a defining moment in your life?

When I entered the workplace in 2010, I was scared to be out at work. At that time, I could have been fired for being openly gay. My boss asked about my personal life. He wanted to let me know he welcomed talking about my identity if I was comfortable. It helped me realize it was OK to be who you are—at home, at work, everywhere. That experience ignited a fire within me and empowered me to always be my authentic self.

Another defining moment for me was when I moved to Utah from Honolulu, Hawaii. At the age of 15, I went from living in the most diverse state in the nation to Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2004 there was not a lot of cultural diversity in Utah. Let me tell you, it was a big culture shock. I adapted by joining the dance community and I made friends. I also continued playing the viola in orchestras and that’s how I met my husband. He plays violin and we connected through the symphony. To this day I appreciate the arts community for helping me find my people and thrive.

7. What book influenced you in your professional life?

Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, is my favorite leadership book. The core of the book discusses trust as the baseline skill for any winning team. When you have trust you can have constructive conflict, commitment, accountability, and transformative results.

8. What cause is closest to your heart?

I’m passionate about creating safe spaces for gender identity, race, religious affiliation, you name it. We’re all human beings. I believe in working together and finding common ground. I look for opportunities to celebrate my Hawaiian culture and promote LGBTQIA+ rights.

9. What’s your favorite part of helping clients and members reach their goals?

I love my job because I get to help people take the next step in their career. Whether it’s getting a promotion or helping a candidate secure a fair salary, it’s the best feeling to support people in their professional journey. And I get to tell the HealthEquity story. Explaining why it’s a remarkable place to work is a big energy boost. When I’m a part of bringing in talented people who love making a difference, I get to help keep our culture strong and provide the incredible service we’re known for. If you’re reading this and it sounds good to you, come work with me! Browse our open positions and apply.

10. What absolutely excites you right now about HealthEquity?

First, the cloud transformation we’re doing from a technological standpoint is incredibly exciting. Eli Rosner talked about it in his profile last year. His team is continuing to incorporate newer technologies to better serve our customers. It feels amazing to be a part of product enhancements, especially features that improve functionality for people in marginalized communities. And more than anything I’m energized by our wider mission to help Americans better understand the healthcare system and how to stretch their healthcare dollars.

And then I love how HealthEquity supports diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. Not long after I joined the company, I worked with teammates to launch the Created Equal Connections groups—self-directed, teammate-led employee resource groups (ERGs) or affinity groups working to advance the understanding and inclusion of team members with a common background or set of interests. I’m currently co-chair of our Pride+ group. We officially launched the group in 2021 as our third Connections group. We now have five groups—African American Black Connections, Elevate for Women at HealthEquity. Pride+, Unidos, and Veterans of HealthEquity.

The sense of belonging in Pride+ is incredible. We’re a safe space for teammates to talk about their partners, share their lifestyle, and find allies. We have an ongoing chat where teammates share volunteer opportunities, ask about the best places to find nonbinary clothing, and cheer each other on. We’re a dynamic group.

HealthEquity does not provide legal, tax or financial advice. Always consult a professional when making life-changing decisions.

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