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Community Highlights: Meet John Hansbrough of The LBL Group

Today we’d like to introduce you to John Hansbrough.

Hi John, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
My story has roots back to when I was ten years old and I lost my father to suicide. He was a brilliant surgeon, he was the model of putting his patients first and caring for them not just through his advanced burn surgery but with a recognition in the value of emotional support as a part of quality care. Throughout his life, he struggled with chronic depression, didn’t get the professional help he needed, and existed in a culture insensitive to mental health and the needs of its people. As my mom, a nurse manager and now a nursing professor, has said, “My husband didn’t die from suicide, my husband died from untreated chronic depression that the culture of the medical community refused to acknowledge exists.” In my 20’s, I was looking for volunteer work and came across the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), which was in the midst of relaunching a Los Angeles chapter. Having previously participated in an event for the foundation and my mother being involved with the organization, I jumped in to help.

Over the next three years, myself and my “founding” board members developed an organization that was holding community events that reached over 5,000 people directly per year and was raising half a million dollars for suicide prevention and research per year when I finished my term as board member. One of my proudest accomplishments with AFSP-LA is helping push the organization to a level where it is self-sustaining and self-replenishing with new leadership and fresh blood routinely entering the organization. Professionally, I was drawn into financial planning and insurance during college via an internship with a financial advisory company in Pasadena, which I was able to balance with my time playing college football at Occidental College in Eagle Rock. I spent five years working with people on personal financial planning strategies before I moved into consulting with organizations where I help strategize, design, and communicate best-in-class employee benefits plans to clients throughout Southern California and the rest of the country. We tell our personal story through the work we do in a yin-yang dynamic, one where we reflect both what existed in our life as we developed, as well as that which was missing along our life’s journey.

For me, I have experiences of seeing healthcare in action firsthand and in stories at the dinner table, taking responsibility to care and to help others, of doing the right thing and putting the needs of others first. But I also experienced the lack of taking responsibility to care for one’s self, of not putting our own needs first, of letting the pendulum swing too far to one side without the balance needed to navigate life’s challenges effectively. I also never recall hearing my parents talk about how the amazing surgeries and work they did for people was to be paid for; healthcare isn’t free, it is bankrupting people, and important care is being deferred or avoided due to financial conditions of our most vulnerable people. So my purpose today is to create and execute employee benefit plans to care for and equip employees to live a great life.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
No one has had a smooth road. The uniqueness of our own life is not a reflection of our achievements but of how we’ve responded to the struggles and setbacks in our life. That being said, everyone’s problems and struggles carry common patterns and themes, and yours are no more different than anyone else’s. What is unique is how we respond and shape our life as we move past them. I, like most people, have dealt with periods of doubt, struggles with imposter syndrome, feeling a lack of control, the impression that I have let others down, the list goes on. I doubted myself as a high school athlete, then as a college athlete. I was driven to succeed but felt like an imposter whenever I did encounter success. I’ve feared that if I give too fully, I may burn out and follow the same path my father was subjected to. I have let other people down and hurt them, people I care about and was committed to, in various forms as an athlete, as a teammate, as a professional, as a partner, as a son and as a brother. But I’ve learned how to dust myself off. We have to. Otherwise, we’ll carry that dirt around the rest of our lives and it’ll be with us everywhere we go. At the end of the day, how boring would it be to meet someone who had lived their entire life as one long, smooth road? What would it be like to lack the depth, character, and experience of encountering struggles and issues? To lack any story about how one had dealt with and moved on from the problems that exist in our world?

As you know, we’re big fans of The LBL Group. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
I am a benefits advisor for the LBL Group where I design and execute employee benefits plans with companies that care for and equip their employees to live great lives. I help my clients design an overall benefits package then put these pieces in action for employees, things like health, dental, disability and life insurance. I like to understand why my client exists and what their employees mean to them, then craft a compelling story to communicate plans to employees in a way that they can feel well equipped and protected by their benefits. Employee benefits are not just who pays for what and when; they are also about who can you go see, when can you talk to someone, and how do you navigate our insanely complex healthcare system? This $4 trillion dollar industry already produces enough services and products for employees to get the care they need for themselves and their families. Yet the system is set up like the biggest buffet lunch in the world. People shouldn’t have to become professionals in this stuff but there is very little navigation available for people to find what they need when they need it.

As a 30 years old in an industry dominated by the old guard and entrenched in decades-long habits, I’m really excited when I can bring my focus on technology, mental health, and access to my clients and their employees. I’ve been involved with the mental health field for nearly a decade now and I can bring this experience to my clients in a way they usually haven’t seen before from their benefits advisor. Plus, the diffusion of innovation in healthcare and benefits is way behind other industries and it’s amazing to streamline systems and processes for employees who suddenly find they’ve freed up 10 to 20 hours of work a month, while they can also better manage the multitude of things asked of them as employers by the federal and state government. One of my core principles is that people want to do right by other people. I love that I get to help employers put this well-meaning intention into practice with how they can help their employees live a great life.

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Image Credits

Jim Claytor, The LA Sports Network

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