We’re thrilled to start another new year and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate than by visiting with HealthEquity veteran and SVP, Client Service Experience Melissa Phillips.
Melissa has been with HealthEquity since 2006, when she joined as an engineering and integration specialist. She’s excelled at many roles since and currently helps HealthEquity deliver on our promise of remarkable service.
HealthEquity: We’re so excited you agreed to be featured as our first Remarkable Leader of 2023. This year, you’ll celebrate your 17th anniversary with HealthEquity! What have been some of the highlights of your time with the company?
Melissa Phillips: I was the 43rd team member at HealthEquity and I joined when we were working in one room in American Fork, Utah. It’s been really fun to start at a small company, watch it grow through the years, go through the IPO and becoming public, and acquiring companies like WageWorks.
What I’ve really loved about working at HealthEquity this long is that I’ve never been in the same position for long. There are always new needs, new things to learn, and new opportunities to grow and try different things.
HealthEquity: That’s incredible. What are some of your goals for 2023?
Melissa Phillips: Professionally, my team and I are excited to take our department to the next level. We’ve solved for the basics, put metrics and forecasting in place, and now we’re talking about how to make our client experience even better.
Personally, my family and I are breaking ground on building a new house. It’s an exciting plan that’s been a couple years in the works.
HealthEquity: Sounds like this year is going to be a good one! Let’s start it off with our traditional 10 questions.
10 questions with Melissa Phillips, SVP Client Service Experience
1. What was your first job and what is your role now?
My first job was in high school at a clothing store. I would go to school, then volleyball practice, and then work a couple of hours to close the store and on weekends – Jay Jacobs, for those that know it. 😉 My first professional job was as a Performance Engineer for American Express. I have a BS in Industrial Engineering.
Now, I lead our Client Experience organization, which is responsible for interactions with our clients, brokers, and partners from the start of implementation to servicing.
2. What is your guiding principle or North Star?
YOU make it happen. Whether it’s personal or professional, YOU must be willing to take that first step, YOU must be willing to listen to others and engage, YOU must be willing to be vulnerable to learn new things, YOU must admit failure when things don’t go as planned, YOU must raise your hand, and YOU must give recognition where it’s deserved. YOU can make a difference—you just have to take action.
3. HealthEquity has a strong commitment to deliver a remarkable experience—how are we continuing to improve in this area?
For the past several years, we have been focused on simplifying our client experience and doing the everyday tasks well. We still have work to do, but have put many practices, measures, and technologies in place to succeed. Now we get to talk about the fun stuff—how do we delight our clients and go above and beyond? We ask our clients for feedback and it’s exciting when you can implement their recommendations to make a difference.
One important aspect of great service is diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). I’ve appreciated working at HealthEquity with the focus and education to always be better and do better. Our team is represented by team members from all over the country with different backgrounds and experiences, which only improves our ability to support the diverse groups of clients and perspectives we get to interact with every day.
4. What advice do you have for people just starting out in their career?
Say yes to new opportunities and figure out details as you go. A lot of career growth comes with learning new skills. I’ve always been willing to dive in and wear many hats where others aren’t raising their hands to figure out solutions or take accountability. Wearing several hats or taking responsibility for new things brings perspective and knowledge you didn’t have before, and that will always serve your career and company well.
5. What would surprise people to know about you?
I was born and raised in Montana.
My husband and I built a cabin by hand together in Wyoming (mostly before kids). That’s what happens when engineers get married.
In sixth grade, my team won the state Future State Problem Solving competition. I love solving problems.
Maybe not surprising… I’m competitive but can be reserved at the same time. I don’t always need to be the loudest voice; I like to listen and then articulate—and I love to WIN.
6. What is a defining moment in your life?
My husband and I were in a horrific boating accident before we were married. I’m happy to share the story sometime, but it may have sealed the deal for us to eventually get married and build a family. He saved his mom’s life, and it showed a lot of character. I also think accepting that first professional job sets forth a path that is in motion—be picky about where you choose to spend your time.
7. What book influenced you in your professional life?
You know engineers don’t love to read, but it’s something I’ve worked on over the last several years. There is a piece in Sheryl Sandberg’s book, “Lean In”, where she talks about always having a seat at the table. One of my pet peeves is walking into a meeting and watching colleagues take a seat on the outskirts of the room when there is an available seat at the table. Everyone is important and should have a voice. Take the dang seat.
8. What cause is closest to your heart?
I’m a big fan of rescue animals. It sounds silly, but animals don’t have a voice and are often mistreated. All of our pets have been rescue animals: our dog and nine siblings were abandoned on the side of the road during a snow storm and found by a service individual. We adopted him and he’s been one of the best.
9. What’s your favorite part of helping clients and members reach their goals?
I mentioned it before: I love winning. If our clients and members are winning, then so are we. I love solving problems and finding ways to improve to ultimately help us all jointly win.
10. What absolutely excites you right now about HealthEquity?
I’ve always loved HealthEquity. Year to year, it’s never the same job or never the same challenges to solve. We’ve grown rapidly, which brings its own challenges, but that’s how we grow, get better, and continue to provide value to the clients and members we support every single day. At the end of the day what we do matters, and it does make a difference. The people we get to do it with are pretty incredible too!
HealthEquity does not provide legal, tax or financial advice. Always consult a professional when making life-changing decisions.
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