Ben Gehrki has already learned that managing client expectations can be a challenge. But by gaining experience in an evolving landscape, being proactive in communication and stepping up to help each client, the 24-year-old is confident that his age is no limiting factor.

The client manager at UnifyHR in Irving, Texas grew up in the benefits industry. His father, A. Allen Gehrki, has always been in this sector and is currently president and CEO of UnifyHR.

Throughout the younger Gehrki’s time in high school and the summer after college, he worked with his father and got a feel for the business. He started his career at CONEXIS, a division of WageWorks, before joining UnifyHR one year ago. “I had a knack for it. It caught on, and then I spun out and seemed to enjoy it,” he says. “One of the things I like the most is overcoming what can seem like a number of challenges that pop up rapidly.”

His secret is to stay nimble. “I like being able to be flexible and adapt,” he adds. “I enjoy that aspect of it.”

He currently serves more than 50 clients with an average client size of 3,000. His clients range from technology companies to municipalities, with the largest having 13,000 covered lives.

Gehrki’s successful client relationships are documented and validated through regularly recurring customer service surveys by UnifyHR. (Why is this bold?)

When he first starting serving the account of commercial real estate services company Lincoln Property Services Inc., Louann Hudson, the company’s director of payroll and benefits, was concerned because she had been working with a partner and was now going to work with an account manager.

But her concerns were soon forgotten once she started working with Gehrki. “We have not skipped a beat,” she says. “He has been really wonderful, very personable, and very responsive.”

Slideshow
20 young leaders in benefits
EBA’s 2017 Rising Stars in Advising are starting their own firms, experiencing monumental growth and embracing change at every turn.

“Just a joy to work with,” she adds of Gehrki. “Nobody is perfect, but he is close.”

Despite only being full-time in the industry for only three years, Gehrki knows that the industry is challenging and he can mask some of his inexperience with great client service, being attentive and open to their needs, as well as scheduling time with in-house trainers to make sure he is up to date on the fast moving and fluid pieces of the benefits industry.

Despite his limited experience, Hudson explains that Gehrki is always there to answer her questions, and if he does not know an answer, she knows he will get back to her. “I don’t expect someone to know all the answers,” she says.

Looking toward the future, Gehrki says since no one knows what is going to happen in the next six months or longer term; it has been advantageous to be on the ground level from the beginning. “You can see all the different challenges,” he says. “It may not be a direct impact, but indirectly, it all ties back together.”