As Vice President, Business Development, Debra is responsible for developing new business/partner opportunities for Vertus nationally. She is charged with networking, researching, qualifying and aligning companies that are strategic, forward-thinking and congruent with the culture of Vertus’ thought leadership firm. Debra, along with her team, is fiercely dedicated to helping Vertus align with employers to lead the mission in creating more transparency and creativity in employers’ benefit programs as well as proactively work with employers to Exceed PAR – Protect, Attract & Retain employees.
With over 30 years of experience in the consulting arena, Debra brings to Vertus her passion for connecting with people. She genuinely cares about their wellbeing, protecting themselves and their loved ones. She started her career in the group insurance/employee benefits arena with Johnson & Higgins/Kirke Van-Orsdel, J&H/KVI (now Marsh & McLennan) in the national Group Universal Life Department. Debra held various positions over her 14-year tenure at J&H/KVI, including communications, analysis, project management, marketing and Assistant Vice President of Sales, where she worked on large national accounts including GTE, Ernst & Young, Bellsouth, IBM, Black & Decker, Texas Instruments and EDS. After discovering her passion for connecting people and business partners, Debra began creating Business Development divisions for a handful of other privately held consulting firms as Vice President of Business Development.
In 2000, Debra joined Universal Life Resources (ULR), a national life, accident and disability consulting firm, as Vice President, Southern Region. At ULR, she was asked to develop and run a National Business Development entity. Over a five-year period, Debra introduced 50% of ULR’s book of business. Companies she worked with included Dell, Accenture, Arco, Shell, Dow Chemical, General Dynamics, Southwest Airlines, Duke Energy, Clear Channel, Marriott, Perot Systems and Northrup Grumman.
In 2005, Debra joined Trion (now Mercer/Trion) to create and implement a National Business Development Program, followed by ACIUS/SOS TM and Holmes Murphy & Associates. Debra worked with a number of large national accounts and wore several hats at these companies, including overall business and marketing strategies, database development and management, product development, branding, social media as well as being involved in philanthropic events.
Debra holds a Group 1 Life & Health Certification and is HIPPA certified. She is active with a number of industry associations, including Integrated Benefits Institute, National Business Group on Health, Disability Management Employer Coalition, Human Resource Executive Health & Benefits Leadership Conference and WorldatWork.
Debra graduated from Mississippi State University with a Masters in Psychology and a Bachelors in Public Relations/Communications.