In this series, Nava will introduce you to a different member of our team who'll share their thoughts on Nava, the industry, and the mission ahead. Read on to learn more about what brought Veenal to Nava:
Tell us a bit about yourself:
To put it simply, I'm a southern boy, born and raised in Georgia. Growing up, I had about a hundred interests and extracurriculars, and was a huge Atlanta sports fanatic.
That jack-of-all-trades mentality became a challenge when I enrolled in college at Georgia State. I didn't want to be pinned down by one single major or career path. On top of that, I was paying my own tuition. Safe to say I quickly learned the importance of hard work.
When I eventually chose to pursue business, I saw an opportunity to put my wide range of knowledge, skills, and interests to work. Even now, I love that I have the freedom to shape my own experience at Nava.
I joined the company very early on, bringing a solid background in sales training with me. At that point our sales team was doing a lot of learning on the job. Based on what I discovered through client interactions, I helped develop the scripts and strategies we use today.
My favorite part of the job, though, is the opportunity to meet and talk to new people every day. Building relationships is my superpower.
Even outside of work, I'd definitely describe myself as a social butterfly. I love to travel and explore new places, especially when I can take my friends and family along for the ride. As a history nerd, I also do a lot of research on my own time — I'm fascinated by the history of big cities in particular.
Why healthcare? And why Nava?
Nava's mission really hits home for me. From an early age, I have been personally impacted by the many problems in the health insurance industry.
I was born with cataracts and lost some of my vision when I was 15 years old. Over the years I had countless experiences with doctors, hospitals, and insurance providers — and not all of them were good. I can't tell you how many times I've had to stand up against unexpected (or unwarranted) healthcare bills.
No one deserves to feel cheated by their insurance. But joining Nava opened my eyes to how universal this unfortunate experience can be.
In addition to its stellar mission, the Nava team goes above and beyond to create an inclusive culture where every team member can #OwnTheOutcome. To me, that means that each of us is able to hold ourselves accountable to our own projects and take pride in a job well done.
I especially appreciate that every member of the sales team has the opportunity to weigh in on strategic planning. Being a part of planning meetings and town halls — I had never experienced that in a sales position.
Our team also knows that we have a unique level of support backing us from all sides of the company. The executive team consistently surprises me with how far they'll go out of their way to help us solve problems and support our professional development. Whether it's encouraging an open-door policy, or supplying us with innovative tech to help us do our jobs well, I know I can count on the Nava squad.
What do you find so interesting about the benefits brokerage space specifically?
To be honest, I never knew it existed until I joined Nava. But now I see what a huge role brokers play in shaping the overall healthcare experience.
In short, our system is set up so that your broker is the end-all be-all in benefits. They hold the keys to your health plans, and they help determine your plan's cost, quality, and ease of access.
But therein lies the problem. Many employers don't know how the healthcare benefits space works, so they put a lot of trust in their broker to guide them through it. That leaves a lot of grey area — and when their employees' health is at stake, it becomes very personal.
I recently spoke with a client who knew that her broker was getting paid, but didn't realize how much. She also didn't realize that an increase in premiums means bigger checks for the broker. When she heard the exact dollar amount, she was shocked. This lack of transparency contributes to overall trends of skyrocketing health costs.
I believe that choosing the right healthcare plan is a huge decision, and it shouldn't be based solely on the employer-broker relationship. So I'm stoked to be part of a team that's focused on changing this status quo.
What's one aspect of employer benefits that you are most excited to reinvent?
The broker model is wildly outdated. And the Nava team wants to change that. Let's make it about the employee, not personal relationships. Let's put the focus back on the people.
Working at Nava has also helped me realize the importance of price transparency. When it comes to paying for healthcare, knowledge is power. By making this information widely available, we could create a domino effect to reduce costs across the entire healthcare system.
For example, most HR leaders don't really know how much their broker makes. Sometimes they'll have an idea of what they're paying, but it'll be way lower than the reality. If they only knew the extent of it, it would change their entire perspective.
Nava wants to change the game on cost containment in the brokerage space. By taking our profits and reinvesting them into the client, we can provide hands-on support and lead by innovation — with a more manageable price tag.
Before working at Nava, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
In college, I worked for a beverage distribution company, unloading trucks at stores or gas stations. I had to wake up at 3:30 AM, just to spend hours lugging heavy boxes until the sun came down. Most days I didn't get home until 8 PM. I won't lie, it wasn't an easy job. But it taught me hard work and resilience.
What do you hope to accomplish with Nava over the next year? The next five years?
In the near term, I want to put in work to build a solid foundation for our sales team. I want them to feel supported and empowered to do their best work. In general, I have the opportunity to help make Nava a great place to work.
In five years, I want to accomplish my goal of becoming a broker myself. I want to help people understand their healthcare. I want to increase price transparency and healthcare accessibility among all employees, regardless of their background.
Above all, I want to help Nava achieve its highest mission: to revolutionize benefits. To the moon!