Rachel Lyubovitzky: “Thought leadership helps to establish trust with your target audiences”

Thought leadership helps to establish trust with your target audiences. Trust helps drive business behaviors — but only if the thought leader lives up to his or her promises and provides valuable insights for their audiences. As part of our series about how to become known as a thought leader in your industry, I had the pleasure […]

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Thought leadership helps to establish trust with your target audiences. Trust helps drive business behaviors — but only if the thought leader lives up to his or her promises and provides valuable insights for their audiences.

As part of our series about how to become known as a thought leader in your industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rachel Lyubovitzky CEO, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of EverythingBenefits a leading provider of next-generation automated benefits technology that uncovers hidden costs, eliminates errors and helps keep companies compliant.

Rachel is an accomplished serial entrepreneur with the leadership experience that spans the full spectrum of strategic and tactical activities in the enterprise software technology industry, including being a co-founder of and She holds an executive MBA from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business and received both undergraduate and master’s degrees in Computer Science from Brandeis University.

Rachel’s engagement with the tech community expands beyond her commitment to EverythingBenefits, including her role as a total leadership program mentor at The Wharton School. Through this and other initiatives, she shares her passion for technologies that allow people to live longer and more productive lives and to engage with each other more meaningfully.

Rachel lives in New Jersey and enjoys spending time with her family. She is a woman of many hobbies, which include reading SciFi novels, running, traveling, and studying Sumi-e painting.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

I am a serial technology entrepreneur with a passion for building companies and tech. I was empowered to launch EverythingBenefits due to the lagging state of the industry- I found it ironic that something that touches us all is in such a “backward” state. Witnessing a lack of progress I knew I was in a position to make a difference.

Can you briefly share with our readers why you are an authority about the topic of thought leadership?

I’ve been in the HR sector for over a decade, and in benefits for about 5 years. EverythingBenefits supports over 6,000 companies with our benefits solutions so I also get the chance to learn from their experiences as well.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

A story that comes to mind helped put what our company and I do in perspective. An employee with one of our clients used to spend two weeks per month reconciling their insurance bill against who is actually enrolled. Not every company does that but it is important because there could be as much as 15% errors on the invoices, which could result in being billed for terminated employees or having enrolled employees somehow not make it to the bill — meaning they have no coverage. Now think about it — 50% of Margaret’s professional life was spent peering through pages of Excel spreadsheets and carrier invoice pages painstakingly checking off names and plans one by one. When her company adopted our automated benefits reconciliation solution, that process went down to 40 minutes per month. Later that year we were visiting her employer’s office and someone gave us a tour around. As we were passing one of the cubicles a woman grabbed my hand and said: “You’ve changed my life.” That was Margaret. We know the impact that our solution has on the companies but seeing her talk about it somehow made it more tangible on a human level. And the words she used continue to resonate with our team.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When configuring our clients, we sometimes use test users who we create fake usernames to show the different configurations and allow clients to experience their employee journey on the “dummy” employee. The system is trained to ignore users with specialized “dummy” names to avoid enrolling them in benefits. Turns out there was once a real person who the system thought was a test employee based on their name. Fortunately, they let us know beforehand what would likely have been a mortifying experience at their doctor’s office or at their pharmacy so we could take care of them and switch to a different name for our test user. Clearly that individual had been through that experience a few times before so we were fortunate that they were proactive in helping us to establish their identity.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define what a ‘Thought Leader’ is. How is a thought leader different than a typical leader? How is a thought leader different than an influencer?

I consider a thought leader to be someone who continuously drives forward new ideas based on understanding and interpreting the underlying trends. To be an influencer is similar, but less oriented around driving toward specific outcomes for their target audience.

Can you talk to our readers a bit about the benefits of becoming a thought leader. Why do you think it is worthwhile to invest resources and energy into this?

It’s a great idea to invest resources and energy into something one is passionate about, that way, as a thought leader you can take action towards progress. I am devoted to advocating for benefits because they are something that affects everyone, including myself and my loved ones. That said, benefits are the last frontier in the process of business automation — our experience is decades behind what it should be. We’re paying for this lag with feelings of frustration, miserable outcomes, and of course, our pockets. Ultimately, the desire to advance this area drove me to seek an understanding of the complex market dynamics that are driving this experience, to start looking for the answers and to advocate for a change.

Let’s talk about business opportunities specifically. Can you share a few examples of how thought leadership can help a business grow or create lucrative opportunities?

Thought leadership helps to establish trust with your target audiences. Trust helps drive business behaviors — but only if the thought leader lives up to his or her promises and provides valuable insights for their audiences.

Ok. Now that we have that behind us, we’d love to hear your thoughts about how to eventually become a thought leader. Can you share 5 strategies that a person should implement to become known as a thought leader in their industry. Please tell us a story or example (ideally from your own experience) for each.

1) Identify a topic you are passionate about.

2) Learn as much as you can on the topic and become well versed — both directly from the people/things affected and from the perspective of the market forces around the topic.

3) Prove you are an expert in a topic of interest.

4) Continuously engage with the people related to the topic of interest. For me, it’s clients, employers, carriers, brokers, regulators to try to understand their engagement dynamics with each other and help them engage in more meaningful ways.

5) Drive toward a specific goal of changing the experience for a specific group of participants and build on that for the broader reach.

In your opinion, who is an example of someone who has that has done a fantastic job as a thought leader? Which specific things have impressed you about that person? What lessons can we learn from this person’s approach.

Fard Johnmar, the founder and president of Enpektos, a global digital health innovation consultancy is someone I deeply respect for his work as a thought leader. I appreciate his focus on education and believe his futuristic approach is something we should all strive toward!

I have seen some discussion that the term “thought leader” is trite, overused, and should be avoided. What is your feeling about this?

I don’t feel this way. Until there are other ways we can refer to those centers of knowledge and innovation, the terms continue to work for me.

What advice would you give to other leaders to thrive and avoid burnout?

Invest in yourself as much as you do in others and take time to recharge your batteries and seek new experiences and inspiration, you will be surprised how it will help you do more in the area you are passionate about.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Take that vacation you’ve always wanted to take and use it to do something 🙂

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.”

-Denis Waitley

The nature of entrepreneurship is risky. When starting a new business, you need to be prepared that the idea may not progress and develop in the way and over the course of the initial timeline you expected. This is a risk my co-founders and I considered when starting EverythingBenefits, but to us, innovating and developing within a lagging industry outweighed any potential defeat.

We are blessed that very prominent leaders in business and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have a lunch or breakfast with? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Bill Gates — I’d love to learn more about what drives him every day, how he gets around the challenge of operating in places with such little infrastructure and resources, and what he uses to recharge.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Readers can follow my personal Twitter account, @rlyubovitzky or the EverythingBenefits Twitter and LinkedIn pages.

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