Getting to Know BenefitEd’s Jelisa Burney

Posted on: November 29, 2023

We talked with BenefitEd’s Account Manager Jelisa Burney about her role and her past experience – and why it’s important to her to help employers with the onboarding process as they implement new education benefits for their employees. Discover what she likes about working with employers, what changes she’s seen in the employment market, what she brings to her role, and more.

How long have you been with BenefitEd?

I’ve been with BenefitEd since February 2022.

What interested you about this position when you started?

The first thing that stood out to me was BenefitEd’s programs. It was exciting (and still is!) to go into a role in which I help employers across the nation provide a new, life-changing benefit to their employees. It feels great to be a part of something that positively impacts thousands of people.

How has your role evolved since starting with BenefitEd?

As the company has grown, I feel that my role has evolved in a few different ways. The foundational pieces are still there, but the possibilities of what I can do are always evolving. Every time we roll out new products or features, my role grows a bit because I am learning and understanding how it can best be utilized now and for the future.

How has your past experience prepared you for your current role?

My past experience with client relationships and retention has set me up for success in my current role. Working with clients daily, it’s important that I build a strong foundational relationship to ensure that they feel comfortable and confident in understanding and utilizing our services.

Do employers seem to have more employees participating in education benefits today than when you started?

Yes! Now that student loans are in repayment, I’ve seen more participation in Student Loan Repayment programs. What’s been most shocking to me is the high interest in Tuition Reimbursement. It’s exciting to see so many people have access to the opportunity to begin or continue their education through our partnership with their employers.

What do you most enjoy about working with employers?

I really enjoy being a resource for my clients. When I first meet employers, one thing I always say is ‘I’m your go-to gal.’ This is my way of letting them know that I’m here to support them with anything that they may need.

What do you see as employers’ biggest challenge when it comes to implementing employee benefits?

When starting something new, learning and understanding the processes can sometimes introduce a challenge, especially if it’s nothing like you’ve ever seen before. Working in a new program can be a bit intimidating when clients first get started. The good news is that clients are not alone if they ever feel lost. The BenefitEd team is here to help along the way by providing demos, information documents, and post-implementation assistance.

Tell us about one of your biggest recent challenges.

I’ve seen employers feel pressured to start BenefitEd at the same time as open enrollment. For many of my clients, open enrollment is a very stressful time. They are often relieved when they learn that, while they can launch in November, BenefitEd enrollment can be launched year round and isn’t as restrictive as other programs.

What do you think are major obstacles to getting employees participating in our benefit programs?

Sometimes, employees are hesitant about signing up because they fear that participation will interfere with their current loan status—deferment, paused, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, etc. There’s always a bit of relief when they discover that participating in BenefitEd’s Student Loan Repayment program will not negatively affect their student loan status.

What’s an important skill you bring to your role?

One of my most important skills is sort of a 2-for-1. For me, empathy and problem solving go hand in hand. When faced with a challenge, whether it be with a person or situation, I always try to first approach it from a place of calm and understanding. This then allows me to develop solutions that best fit the needs of the situation. And if it’s a person, at minimum, it may give them the opportunity to feel understood.

What skill have you developed from being in your role?

I’ve become more tech savvy. As a young Millennial, I have always been computer literate and knowledgeable of the basics, but being in this role has introduced me to a few new elements, specifically in tech language and tools.

Heading into 2024, what’s a goal you’d like to achieve?

I’d like to learn more about SECURE Act 2.0 and how it could be incorporated into the programs that we have today.

Is there one BenefitEd program you’re excited when clients implement – and why is that one special to you?

I’m most excited when clients launch tuition programs because it’s an opportunity for me to get my creativity flowing. I love when I can build out a tuition application that makes sense from a workflow point of view (POV) and aesthetically looks neat as well. Clients are also vocal about what they would like to see as well, so in the end it turns into a collaborative project that we can all be proud of.

If you weren’t Account Manager at BenefitEd, what would you be doing for a career instead – and why?

I’d be in a user experience/user interface (UX/UI) role. I get excited about creating or changing something with the consideration of others in mind, and I usually view projects from various POVs.

Share a particularly useful piece of advice you’ve received that’s helped you on the job and/or in life.

My favorite pieces of advice are rooted in mindfulness, gratitude, and being true to self. How we consider ourselves and interact with those around us affects how we move about in life.

Do you have any activities or hobbies you enjoy outside of work?

Outside of work, I enjoy dancing, making art, and traveling.