Meet the Navanauts: Nick Severson, Client Manager
Meet Nick Severson, Client Manager at Nava. In his role, Nick works one-on-one with clients and their employees to help them navigate the complex world of benefits. Read on to learn more about how Nick got his start in benefits, his hidden talent for Open Enrollment presentations, and his favorite outdoorsy (yet techy) hobby.
Give us the cliffs notes of your career, pre-Nava.
Having received a degree in communications, I started my career in commercial production. I quickly transitioned to client management and post-sales support and supported groups with everything from IT project management to strategic planning for the next few years.
My employee benefits career began at Jellyvision, a Chicago-based benefits company that created the interactive enrollment experience ALEX. After some time at Jellyvision, my wife and I moved to Los Angeles and I transitioned to Client Management at a traditional SoCal Brokerage.
After four years at the traditional firm, I decided change was necessary across this industry. When I found Nava, the mission caught my attention first. The rest is history.
What made you want to join Nava?
Nava is applying the SaaS or Silicon Valley model to the traditional brokerage space. With this comes transparency, honesty, and innovation. Nava’s mission to fix healthcare is widely supported and I feel I can really make a difference here.
Biggest piece of professional advice?
Don’t fall victim to the sunk-cost fallacy at work. If something isn’t working — whether it’s a tool you’re using, a project you’re managing, or a process you lean on — don’t be afraid to speak up and propose a change.
Odds are high that you’re surrounded by people who want you to succeed, so they’ll help you find a way to fix the problem. If you aren’t surrounded by folks who want you to succeed, it may be time to make a change.
How do you see your role connecting to our mission to bring high quality, affordable healthcare to all Americans?
As a Client Manager, I work where the rubber hits the road every day. Our clients look to the client service team to get support with day-to-day issues, claims questions, strategic planning, compliance guidance, and so much more.
If we’re doing our jobs well, we’re not just providing support — we’re helping Americans navigate this broken system, putting into action the cost-saving strategies we’ve developed with our clients, and bringing transparency to this arbitrary and opaque industry.
Every day, I get to drive progress through action on one (or all) of these fronts and I couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve accomplished so far.
What's your hidden talent?
My hidden talent is my ability to make open enrollment (OE) meetings fun, informative, and engaging.
Most folks working in benefits might agree that open enrollment isn’t the most exciting part of the job, but I can’t get enough. There’s something about having a captive audience and a dry topic that presents quite a challenge — how do you engage, entertain, and inform your audience?
I LOVE giving PowerPoints, especially to an employee-facing audience. Whether it’s using fun trivia, prize-backed Q&A, or multi-format presentations, it’s definitely a hidden talent that I’m proud of.
What keeps you going on the good days (and the not-so-good)?
Whenever I'm feeling the need to re-center or re-charge, I go on a motorcycle ride up through Malibu and beyond. Riding a motorcycle in Los Angeles can be dangerous if you’re not paying full attention, so when I ride I’m extremely focused on the task at hand. This high-intensity focus becomes sort of a meditative experience. I can’t let anything else take my attention or distract me during a ride. So it’s a great way to clear my mind.
During the height of the lockdown, I heard about a new hobby that combined my passions for technology and hiking outdoors: Summits on the Air (SOTA).
This hobby incorporates radio technology with outdoor hiking. The whole goal is to hike a summit and then make radio contacts from the top. Depending on the height of the summit, there are more points to earn (and more bragging rights).
I decided to get licensed as an amateur radio operator and started participating in SOTA. Most recently, I worked the summit of Ryan Mountain in Joshua Tree National Park with a fellow operator and we made contacts out to Sweden, France, and Chile.
Nava is hiring! Learn more and see available roles here.