What’s Your CEBS Story? Nicholas Landry, CEBS

Earning your Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) designation is a learning journey. Along the way, you acquire valuable employee benefits knowledge and relevant new skills. As you apply what you’ve learned to your work, you can forge a unique career pathway that is truly your own. Here’s a designee’s CEBS story.

A Chat with Nicholas Landry, CEBS

Nicholas Landry, CEBS
Senior Benefits Consultant

Nicholas Landry, CEBS
How Nicholas studied for his CEBS exam and applied what he learned to his work:

“Today’s curriculum is modern, with online study groups and study tools, such as live review sessions narrated by experienced benefits professionals. Having access to instructors has allowed me more opportunities for success. I appreciate that the new curriculum has become more accessible and streamlined for benefits professionals.”

Nicholas on professional growth with the CEBS designation:

“If your reason for attaining the CEBS designation is for a promotion, bonus or raise, I would humbly suggest that you are pursing this for the wrong reasons. 

My first experience with CEBS was when I was in my first role as a wholesaler for a major national insurer. Most of us neophytes were fresh-faced and straight out of university, all vying for head office management’s love and attention. Our corporate culture really promoted continuing education and pursuit of designations. We may have received a token amount of compensation for completing a course but earning a designation did separate oneself from the pack. Every year, the peer conversations would eventually lead to which designations you were pursuing. Management appreciated that you pursued a deeper understanding of concepts of insurance or government benefits, allowing you to be better in the field while trying to achieve more within your career. The real catalyst for me with CEBS was when one of our leading brokers successfully completed the CEBS program. Most of us had started or completed smaller designations or others specific to life insurance. The next logical step was CEBS or one of its specialty designations (GBA or RPA). Paraphrasing what our regional director told me, the CEBS designation was ‘The Big One.’ Together, we celebrated his accomplishment as his partner, but I was hooked!

The good news was just beginning for me. The quality of the content provided in the courses took me from being a competent broker to being the one you do not want to be up against in a competitive situation. I emerged from the courses speaking an entirely different language in relation to employee benefits, total compensation and total rewards. 

With more knowledge and experience, my problem-solving ability had grown immensely by applying the fundamental academic knowledge to real-life scenarios. I’ve been fortunate enough to apply the content by working with more challenging situations for plan sponsors. Often, being airdropped into unique scenarios where another broker with limited working knowledge has not satisfied the needs of the plan sponsor, anyone in the benefits practice can see challenges from another perspective thanks to the CEBS program. A colleague just recently passed his final exam to earn the CEBS designation, and I couldn’t have been happier for him. He’s chosen a path to be better than his competitors.

Although this ideology may be polarizing, the current employee benefits marketplace, for the most part, presents no inequality of opportunities. There is, however, an inequality of outcomes. The CEBS program has assured me that we are not equal in situation compared with non–designation holders. I would challenge the individuals reading this that if you are a passionate professional who adheres to a strong code of ethics, with the CEBS designation you, too, will separate yourself from the pack.”