A conversation with Debbie Westover, Senior Benefits Manager, SoFi
With 20 years experience in the world of employee benefits, Debbie Westover calls herself “the world’s biggest benefits geek”. She loves working at SoFi because she sees fantastic employee benefits tied to SoFi’s mission ‘to help people reach financial independence to realize their ambitions’; for Debbie, employees need best-in-class benefits and support to reach their goals. As Debbie says, “It makes me excited to be at SoFi to make it an awesome place to work.”
We spoke with Debbie about why she chose to partner with Maven to provide SoFi’s employees with personalized family benefits, the importance of mental health support, how COVID-19 has changed the workplace, and so much more.
SoFi by the numbers
- Locations: 11
- HQ: San Francisco
- Reach: 1,000,000+ members
- Impact: $50 billion+ in funded loans
Tell us about some of the challenges you heard from SoFi employees that led you to explore Maven.
Debbie Westover, SoFi’s Senior Benefits Manager: At the time, we were focusing on expanding benefits for our parents and families; so, we had increased parental leave, among other things. In looking at what we could do to better support our parents and employees who were on any journey to parenthood, it was really powerful to learn from some of our employees what they’ve experienced. We already knew that fertility was impacting more of our employees than we realized, but hearing from our employees made it clear we needed to do more to support them. I spoke with people who couldn’t be parents and wanted to be, and people who are parents but were struggling for a variety of reasons.
There are so many emotional challenges that are involved in fertility treatments, so it wasn’t just a matter of adding fertility coverage through our medical benefit plan. We wanted to find something that would complement that enhancement through our medical coverage so we went looking for something that would do that. Employees, in my opinion, really need to know that they are not alone and there is support available, and that’s not as easy as adding fertility onto the plan—there needed to be more.
Debbie: We needed a partner that provided a holistic approach and integrated well with our other medical benefits. And we only wanted one partner; we didn’t want to have to go to multiple benefits providers to address all of these various needs—adoption, surrogacy, fertility, egg freezing, loss, pregnancy and postpartum, return-to-work, partners—because everyone’s journey to parenthood is unique. We also needed a partner who could provide the high-tech that our employees love with the ease of use they expect through a mobile app. But at the same time, I was looking for the warm touch—the personalization and emotional support that our employees really need. It was that rare balance that I was hoping for, and we found it in Maven.
Among other things, SoFi is a benefits provider designing financial benefits for employers, which must mean you have strict criteria for choosing new benefits to roll out to your own employees. What are you looking for in partners?
Debbie: When we look for benefits partners, we look for programs that not only will help our employees be healthy and happy, but it’s also really important to me that they align with SoFi’s overall mission and values. I view benefits as part of SoFi’s mission, which is to help folks achieve financial independence so that they realize their ambitions. Maven supports this because so many of our people have the ambition to be parents or to be better parents! Maven also complements and supports one of our key values, which is to take care of our people and help them grow.
It’s also important to find benefits partners that provide a variety of solutions because we have all walks of life that work for us at SoFi, and so our solutions need to support our diverse workforce. The fact that Maven aligned so well with our mission and our values was one of the reasons why we decided to partner with Maven.
What have you heard from SoFi employees about Maven?
Debbie: Our employees love Maven! I get very passionate and excited when I talk about benefits—especially one like Maven that’s been very successful and embraced by our employees. And Maven has truly been a success story from day one. Our employees are so very appreciative of this program. I’ve had people call me and say, “I couldn’t have come back to work without the support through Maven and SoFi.” It just touches your heart, knowing that you’re making that type of difference for your employees and their families.
“Employees, in my opinion, really need to know that they are not alone and there is support available, and that’s not as easy as adding fertility onto the plan—there needed to be more.”
— Debbie Westover,
Senior Benefits Manager at SoFi
What has surprised you about the impact and engagement you’ve seen with Maven?
Debbie: I’m big on data and analytics. Prior to launching with Maven, I had an estimate of what I thought engagement would look like based on data. But our enrollments with Maven went through the roof! Our employees have been highly engaged from day one, and what really surprised me were the number of employees we had enrolling in Maven’s programs for egg freezing, breast milk shipping, support for partners and dads, return-to-work transition, and those who may have experienced a miscarriage or loss who need support.
Mental health is one of the top provider types booked on Maven for pregnancy, fertility, and postpartum by SoFi’s members. Why do you think specialized mental health care is making a difference for your employees?
Debbie: Being open and talking about mental health in the workplace really promotes a healthy and positive work culture, which is what we want here at SoFi. And it’s also been shown that having a strong mental health program is directly linked to productivity. We want to bring out the best in our people and to give them the space to talk about things that may be preventing them from being their best selves. Maven’s mental health care is a key piece of a supportive culture for our employees.
How has COVID-19 impacted your employees’ needs and your benefits priorities? How has Maven supported you?
Debbie: I never would have guessed that we’d be dealing with a pandemic in 2020. It moved our workforce from being in offices to all of us working remotely. And it really created a sense of uncertainty about so many different issues—from parents dealing with child care and schooling issues, to employees needing to care for a parent. We needed to address these needs quickly, and Maven has been a valuable resource and support during these times.
And as a benefits leader, I love your Maven Mail [our newsletter exclusively for clients]! I learn a lot about your programs, and I use those materials to promote Maven with our remote workforce. It’s actually improved our communication—it makes it so easy for us to share more about Maven with our employees.
What would you tell fellow benefits leaders about Maven?
Debbie: I think Maven has made a very meaningful, impactful, and comprehensive solution for employees—no matter where they are in their parenting journey. Whether they’re just thinking about becoming a parent or they already have three little ones and they’re trying to juggle everything, or they’ve recently experienced a loss. To be able to offer that variety to employees and to support all working families is tremendous. I would also add that Maven isn’t just about the technology and the ease of use, it’s also the warm touch that is so vital when it comes to providing meaningful benefits and helping us stand apart from other workplaces. Having a benefits partner in Maven that helps us show our employees that SoFi truly cares is so extremely valuable.
Maven is changing the way SoFi employees and their families get care
Improved health outcomes
- 4,500+ member-provider interactions
- 20+ specialties booked on Maven
- 61% of pregnancy members enroll during their first trimester
- 4.95 out of 5 stars: Maven Provider rating
Engagements across diverse platforms
- Enrollments across all of Maven’s programs: Pregnancy, Fertility, Egg Freezing, Partners, Loss, Adoption, Surrogacy, and Breast Milk Shipping
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