Behind the W: Meet Lisa Benoit

Behind the W: Meet Lisa Benoit
April 19, 2016

I had a great opportunity the other week to sit down with one of our newest thought leaders in the insurance industry, Lisa Benoit. She is one of a growing number of customers-turned-Workiva-employees. Read on to hear why she moved from user to promoter, and what kind of positive steps she thinks insurance companies can make in their reporting.

What originally attracted you to the accounting/finance industry?

I've always loved math and problem-solving, so when I took my first accounting class in high school I was hooked. I was intrigued by how it was logical and challenging, while telling a financial story. And of course, it didn't hurt that I excelled at it too.

What was your first job?

My first official job was a cashier at Caldors, a regional department store, when I turned 16. But I have been working since I was 11 or 12—I babysat for all of the neighborhood kids and for my cousins for $1 an hour. I also worked in the office at my family's small business, helping with typing and filing on Saturday mornings.

What attracted you to Workiva?

The short answer is the power of Wdesk. I am a former customer who quickly became smitten when I implemented Wdesk for statutory reporting. I was so impressed with how easy the application was to use—and how quickly I was able to see the benefits in my process—that I convinced my colleagues to implement it too. The more I worked with the application and the friendly Workiva staff, and as I helped others in my organization discover its value, I realized it: What I truly loved to do was teach others about the merits of Wdesk and how dramatically it could improve their job. And what better place to do it than at Workiva?

What is your favorite thing about working at Workiva?

Hands down, it's the talented, passionate, and fun people that I'm fortunate to work with every day.

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

I've always wanted to learn to play the piano.

Have you ever dreamed about financial reporting?

Absolutely! Who hasn't?

What songs would be included in the soundtrack to your life?

"Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey, "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten, "Happy" by Pharrell Williams, and "Where the Boat Leaves From" by Zac Brown Band.

Where do you most want to travel, but have never been?

I've always wanted to go to Australia since I was a little girl. I'm a sucker for cute animals and warm weather.

Do you have any professional passions?

I'm a process improvement nut. I never enjoyed performing the same task over and over again, even as a child. I love looking at an existing process to see if it can be streamlined into a way that's less complex and more efficient, ultimately freeing up my time to do something more challenging and rewarding. This passion was invaluable in my role in external statutory reporting. Without a constant awareness toward process improvement, my team and I would not have been able to keep up with the increasing regulatory reporting demands being made on us on a daily basis.

Do you have any concerns regarding the future of insurance reporting regulations?

In my previous role in external statutory reporting, I was exposed firsthand to the ever-changing and demanding regulatory requirements that insurance companies face, including the corresponding challenges associated with complying with them.

For insurance companies to keep up with the changing regulatory environment, they will need to look internally to address two growing concerns that I dealt with in my role on a regular basis. The first is replacing outdated legacy systems with more nimble and adaptable platforms that can accommodate the changing regulatory and insurance landscape. Second is attracting and retaining talented financial professionals to help grow the company and replace the aging knowledgeable workforce. Without responding to these concerns, meeting the complex reporting requirements like Own Risk and Solvency Assessment (ORSA), principle-based reserving, capital standards, model risk management and technology concerns like cybersecurity and privacy will be difficult.

Mitz Banarjee

About the author

Mitz Banarjee is the Executive Vice President of Global Operations at Workiva. Over the past 10 years, he has been heavily involved with technology companies of all sizes at an operational level driving customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.