Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust announces two changes as it implements five strategic goals

A release from BBT

Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) made two changes beginning Jan. 1, 2022, to proactively live into its strategic goals, which are designed to enable the organization to adapt as denominational demographics and societal pressures continue to evolve. For now, these BBT changes include where staff work and organizational structure, with additional changes expected to be announced later this year.

Beginning Jan. 1, BBT officially adopted a work-from-home model for all staff, a strategic move that now allows all positions to be remote from a centralized office space. This will allow BBT to hire staff from around the country to be more effective and nimble in providing service to its members and clients. It also allows BBT to continue to be competitive in an aggressive employment market where employees increasingly are demanding more flexibility in where they work.

“In the 21 months since our staff members were forced to begin working from home, we have learned, adapted, grown, and thrived in our ability to serve our members and clients in a new way,” said Nevin Dulabaum, BBT president. “In a continued but hopefully post-pandemic landscape, we believe this model will serve us well.”

BBT is maintaining a small suite of offices at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., where teams may gather to work on collaborative projects and processes. However, more than half of the organization’s former office space has been relinquished to accommodate this new model with the expectation that the entire team will gather in person at least twice annually for business and team-building purposes.

“We view this change as the first step in maintaining operational excellence with those we serve,” Dulabaum said. “But that excellence starts with a great staff, and today’s employees are seeking flexibility in working location, competitive salaries and benefits, meaningful work, and a work environment that balances both professional and personal demands. BBT is addressing all of these needs.”

BBT also began implementing a new organizational structure on Jan. 1 that is designed to meet several additional strategic objectives–addressing the need to increase its member and client base so as to achieve more economies of scale, utilizing marketing and communications initiatives that are commonplace in today’s business community, and increasing long-term business continuity and succession planning preparedness. The former seven-person management team has been succeeded by a four-person executive team consisting of the president; CFO and vice president of investments; vice president of products and services, which includes retirement, insurances, organizational investing, and client relations; and the vice president of vitality, which includes support areas to ensure the firm is successful, such as data, IT, marketing, sales, communications, HR, and special project management.

Critical to BBT’s success is the relationship with its members and clients. Loyce Borgmann and Steve Mason are taking the lead in serving members and clients as part of the Client Services team. Borgmann is leading that team. Ed Shannon is product director for Pension, Jeremiah Thompson is product director for Insurance, and Dan Radcliff is product director for Organizational Investing (formerly known as asset management).

Other directors include German Gongora (IT), Huma Rana (Finance), Tammy Chudy (Special Projects), with several positions still being shaped and finalized. BBT plans to create several new positions, which includes directors of Marketing, Sales, and Data. While some staff are remaining in their existing positions, several other staff are moving to other places in the organization. This movement is a combination of these strategic changes and the retirements of Scott Douglas (at the end of January) and Connie Sandman (April).

“BBT was created in 1988 by the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference to work on employee benefits and organizational investing,” said Dulabaum. “Over the years, the complexity of the business and the scope of our client base and assets under management have grown. Now we need to address that growth to work more collaboratively across program units as we seek to be responsive to the changing dynamics of the marketplace, the needs of those we serve, and to be able to scalable with strong business continuity and succession planning processes built into our daily operations.”

These steps are part of the organization addressing five strategic goals of growth, marketing, right positions/right people, location of workforce, and identity. Additional announcements about further changes to BBT are expected this summer.

“Our intent is to continue providing excellent service to Church of the Brethren employees and organizations,” Dulabaum said. “That commitment will never waver, and so we need all members and clients and organizations of the denomination to support and use our products and services. That will ensure that those we serve will receive top-tier service for years to come.”

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