Heidi tenBroek

I’d describe myself as a problem solver and translator. I help employers communicate effectively with their employees, especially in the area of benefits and other HR issues. I translate the complicated world of benefits so that employees can understand what it all means for them.

At Milliman, we don’t chase after fads and quick solutions—and we don't advise our clients to jump too quickly or take shortcuts, either. We're in business and in our relationships for the long term.

Milliman has created a culture in which careful consideration, painstaking peer review, and long-term thinking are not only valued, but also part of our work every day. What’s more, the work our actuarial colleagues do often has an impact on employees. When we team up at the decision-making stage, we can help the group take into account likely employee reactions to certain plan design decisions.

How I got here…

I worked with our team leader Denise Foster at another firm for a number of years. Her outstanding, ethical consulting and her management style brought me to Milliman.

I get to work with a lot of very smart, very nice people. Everyone is intent on their work, but there's an open-door feeling—if you stop by to chat or ask a question, you're welcomed.

The best thing about my job is my clients—and the variety of interesting issues they let me help them solve.

… and why I’m staying.

I believe the ownership structure has a huge impact on Milliman's culture. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well here. It's so empowering to know you can do what’s best for your client in your area, even if it's not the way they do it somewhere else. If you have a good idea, you can go for it. The other very important thing about the structure is that it allows for long-term strategies—we're not trying to satisfy shareholder demands every quarter.

We're very good at listening to the client's point of view. It's not just about selling consulting services-- it's about finding a solution. We don't walk in with a pre-packaged idea of what they need to do.

I have small children, so home is the center of my world when I'm not at work.

The nature of my work—and of modern technology—allows some flexibility. If I need to get home for a family event, I'm able to take care of my family obligations and finish up my work later in the evening. When I’m with my family, we like to get out to parks, the zoo, and to see children's theater.

The most significant outcome of my work is helping employees navigate during a time of change.

People have so much going on in their lives that they don't have time to be experts on everything—and not keeping up with what they need to know about HR and benefits issues can have a real impact on their lives.

What’s one aspect of your work that you never expected to find yourself doing?

Growing up, I never thought of myself as a writer but I find I really enjoy that aspect of my work.

Joining the Millimadness committee is a terrific way to connect with others.

Millimadness is our fun committee. They organize social events for the office, such as the holiday party and smaller events throughout the year. It's made up of people from throughout the practice and it’s a good place to meet others and find out what they do. Get up from your desk and go chat with people. Find out what they do. Everyone is willing to help here, but you have to put yourself out there and get to know people.