Daniela Londono never anticipated that she would work in the health insurance industry. But taking a job at a nonprofit that helps people sign up for government benefits set her on that path.
“This tiny-but-mighty office helped thousands of low-income families in the community and it’s where I learned firsthand the difference that having benefits like health coverage makes,” she says. “I like to say I did not choose benefits, but benefits chose me.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic started, Londono saw so many people losing their jobs and coverage at a critical time of need. “I was beginning to doubt if there were companies in this space that actually wanted to change how we use healthcare for the better,” she says.
Then she found Stride, a startup that helps people enroll in affordable health insurance, regardless of their employment status. As a partner success manager, Londono works with organizations to offer benefits to part-timers and contractors. “It’s very fulfilling to work at a company where my expertise is being used to make a positive impact on the health insurance industry,” she says.
Here, Londono talks about why the candidate experience made her want to work at Stride, her proudest achievement since joining the company, and the TikTok trend that’s become her go-to activity.
You joined Stride less than a year ago. Tell us about the candidate experience and onboarding process.
The candidate experience is what actually sold me on Stride. With each interview, I got to know a different person at Stride and I could see how proud they were to work here. The interviews weren’t intimidating; rather, they felt like conversations, and I walked away from each stage of the process more and more convinced this is where I wanted to work.
The onboarding process was great and probably the most welcoming experience I’ve had at any new job. I was greeted by coworkers from different departments. I felt embraced and supported, which made asking questions and reaching out easy. With all the support I had during my onboarding, taking over the role was seamless.
What is your favorite part about working in client-facing roles?
Every day is different! When I was younger, I always worried that it’d be hard for me to find a career where I wouldn’t get bored.
I also enjoy getting to know our partners and collaborating with them on how to help their workforce take charge of their healthcare and finances. No partner conversation is ever the same and the needs can vary, but the mission remains: Health insurance should be easily accessible to everyone.
What are you responsible for as a partner success manager?
I oversee and manage our relationships with small- and mid-size partners. We provide our partners with all of the assets and guidance they need to help their communities of independent contractors and part-time employees get access to affordable healthcare and financial tools. This ensures that they and their families can stay physically and financially healthy. We also make sure our partners are up to date on open enrollment deadlines and changes in government regulations.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
My biggest achievement has been re-engaging with many of our partners, and reintroducing them to Stride. My approach is that no partner is too small. I learned about their workforces to see how we could help them access healthcare and financial tools. This led to better and ongoing collaboration and preparation for the current open enrollment period. It has also motivated many of our partners to go the extra mile in helping their workers access affordable healthcare, which is something I’m really proud of. Seeing the members’ feedback is confirmation that my work has made a difference in their lives.
What skills are necessary to succeed in a customer success role like yours?
Listening to and understanding the customer is key. I could give each partner the same information and assets. However, a partner in the gig economy is vastly different from a partner with part-time W-2 employees, and with that comes different approaches to communicating with their workforce. The opportunity to listen and collaborate with our partners allows us to identify shifting trends in the world of portable benefits and implement changes to better suit their workforce.
As someone who’s worked in this field for a few years now, it’s safe to say you’re an expert on benefits. What is your favorite perk or benefit offered at Stride?
Our dental plan, which is covered 100%, is my favorite. I had always wanted to get my teeth fixed growing up, but it wasn’t an expense my parents could afford. When I found out how much our dental insurance covered for Invisalign, I finally went for it. It may sound funny, but the day I started the Invisalign treatment was really emotional. I’m now near the end and I couldn’t be happier with my smile! Having not just our dental, but also our health and vision plans covered 100% shows me how much Stride really cares for their employees’ health and wellness.
Outside of work, you’ve volunteered at organizations like Habitat for Humanity and the American Red Cross. What are some skills or lessons you’ve learned as a volunteer that have helped you in your career?
My main takeaway was that hard work pays off, even if it takes a long time to see results. Sometimes when I volunteered I didn’t see positive results or changes right away and that made me doubt if I was important to the cause. The first time I donated blood for the American Red Cross, I didn’t think much of it until I learned how many people benefitted from my donation. After that, I was motivated to not only continue donating, but also to help organize blood drives and get even more people involved. I’ve learned that each person who volunteers or works together for a great cause is a small piece of a large and impactful puzzle. There is no role too small—every bit helps when you’re working towards a common goal.
What’s one positive change you’ve made to your workday routine since COVID?
The TikTok-famous “Hot Girl Walks”! Being fully remote has given me the opportunity to get back the time I was previously using to commute. Like many others, I was getting cabin fever during quarantine, so I decided to use my newfound free time to focus on self care and staying active. I moved to Miami this year and discovered a group of women in my area who plan “Hot Girl Walks.” It’s been a great opportunity to exercise while networking with other women in tech and make friends.
What has been the biggest challenge of your career and how did you overcome it?
There have been times when I felt imposter syndrome or that I did not bring enough to the table. This feeling took away from moments in my career that should have felt like triumphs, but instead they were filled with doubt. I think many people, especially women, can relate to this feeling.
Once I started to lean into the fact that my hard work got me to where I am—that I earned and deserve my success—my outlook changed. I'm more confident, don’t second guess myself, and allow myself to enjoy the wins. This change in perception has motivated me to take risks and aim for even bigger goals.