What’s Your CEBS Story? Dottie Dykstra, 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 Dottie Dykstra, CEBS

Dottie Dykstra, CEBS
Manager–Employee Benefits

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

Once the CEBS designation is achieved, the learning never stops. There is so much to health and well-being benefits, and compliance is ever-evolving; it can be hard to keep up. What makes this easier is the wealth of ways to stay abreast or to ask questions of my benefits-professional peers. If I have a sticky question, most likely there is another benefits professional out there who has asked and gotten feedback on a similar question. Workshops, webinars, blog posts, connecting with peers on LinkedIn, community listservs and other types of networking are all easily accessible with ISCEBS.

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

The exams are intense! My formula for retaining the knowledge was to type up the course material in my own words; for some of the more complex benefits rules, I wrote up stories that helped me remember what I was learning. This method has helped me over the years as we have evaluated and changed our benefit plans. I may not remember all the intricacies of a certain benefit rule, but I remember enough to nudge me along in my research.

Could you describe how earning your CEBS designation has supported you in your role and professional growth?

I began my benefits career in 2002 as an administrative coordinator in the TDS benefits department, with absolutely no background in benefits. I was eager to learn, and my team taught me a lot about benefits while I took a variety of Certificate Series programs through the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. Eager for more, CEBS was the next logical step. The CEBS courses rounded out my education and helped me to understand options beyond how our benefit plans were designed. My benefits education, and more specifically the CEBS designation, primed me well. I was promoted to a benefits analyst role and then to a senior benefits analyst role. In 2017, I was selected to become manager–employee benefits with a focus on health and well-being.

Visit CEBS online for information about purchasing course materials, signing up for an Online Study Group, virtual exams and more details on earning your designation.

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