What’s Your CEBS Story? Christine Sebranek, CEBS

What's Your CEBS Story

Earning your 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 Christine Sebranek, CEBS

Christine Sebranek, CEBS
Director, Employee Benefits and Well-Being
Children’s Hospital and Health System

Could you describe how expanding your professional network has helped you attain success?

When I obtained my CEBS designation, I was a few years out of college and did not know many people in the benefits field. Having my CEBS, being involved in the Milwaukee Chapter of ISCEBS through the monthly meetings and participating in the local chapter as a newsletter editor, secretary, vice president and then president allowed me to work with people in the field from many of the employers in Milwaukee. It enabled me to expand my professional network and make many lifelong friends.

Could you share some insight about how pursuing your CEBS demonstrates that you are a lifelong learner and an expert in your profession?

When I pursued the designation, ten tests were required and two were very focused on areas of benefits I was not working in initially—pensions and investments. Learning about all benefits formed a very strong foundation for my career. That foundation allowed flexibility for me to be employed as a broker, a consultant and a benefits director. It gave me the credibility to be seen as an expert in the field of benefits and showed my commitment to lifelong learning in that field. It gave me greater confidence—especially when I was new in my career— to operate in a benefits position in either welfare or retirement.

Could you share a story about how you prepared for your CEBS exam and applied what you learned to your work?

At the encouragement of my employer, I took some of the exams right after I graduated from college. Gallagher was very supportive—They paid for the designation and provided small bonuses for passing the exams. As you can imagine, all this encouragement made me want to achieve the CEBS designation, so I set a goal to get my designation done within three years.

My tip for success is to self-study, create a “study timeline” and take notes using the outline in the Study Guide and the key terms/concepts.  The level of detail in the exams helped prepare me well for all the details of administering benefit plans. Also, although the retirement courses did not resonate with me at the time that I took them, they ultimately helped as I moved through different positions in my career. I feel that I stood out as a candidate for jobs because I had my designation. I do feel I have gone much further in my career—I have been promoted, and was able to move between consulting and working for an employer—because of the CEBS designation.