By: Ann Gods​ell, CEBS ​

​Is 2015 the year you plan to add the coveted CEBS designation to your name? A new year brings a new sense of motivation—Run with it. But before you do, consider what you’ll need to stick with your plan to finish the year as a Certified Employee Benefit Specialist.


Every year when January rolls around, I know I’m going to have a hard time finding a parking spot at the gym. Over the next month or two, the crowd fades and resolution season comes to an end. It’s a sad pattern that most of us have experienced. It’s no different with professional development—We have solid intentions but it can be so hard to follow through as work and life get in the way.

Fortunately, when it came to earning my CEBS designation, I managed to stay motivated and on track. What’s the secret to success? Based on my own experience and seeing many of my peers succeed in the program, here’s what you need:

  1. Detailed, incremental goals—A vague goal like “I’m going to work out more this year” doesn’t work. Neither will “I’m going to earn my CEBS this year” with no set plan. Take a look at your life and determine a realistic goal date to complete your GBA, RPA, CMS or CEBS. Plan exam goals for each course needed and post the dates prominently.
  2. AccountabilityTell someone about your goals and give him or her permission to get on your case if you aren’t reaching them. A little peer pressure and encouragement can help, too! Get connected with other students through online study and on the CEBS Facebook page.
  3. The Right ToolsIf your studying leads to frustration, confusion or boredom, you’re going to have a hard time sticking with it. Make sure you have the right resources for your style of learning. If you like to have structure and instruction, online study provides both. If you prefer independent study, a Learning Guide breaks the course work into a series of assignments and useful review resources. 
  4. Vision—Few things motivate me during my swim workouts quite like a buff triathlete hopping into the lane next to me. I want to swim like her and feel like part of that group of fitness achievers. For me, the Employee Benefits Symposium is like the party after the triathlon—a chance to associate with a distinguished crowd, sharing stories and learning together about common interests. Plan to attend this year. When you need a little motivation, imagine yourself at the Symposium with “CEBS” on your name tag.

Arming yourself with these four keys to success will be a great help as you work through the CEBS program. But the most important step you can take is getting started—Start working through your plan NOW. I look forward to seeing you at theSymposium​ in Vancouver this August!

Get more CEBS stu​dy tips from recent graduates on
our YouTube channel!​

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Social Business Strategist at the International Foundation

Favorite Foundation service/product: Face to face conferences.

Benefit topics that grab her: B​enefit communication, preventive health, health care cost management, workflex

Favorite Foundation conference moments: Meeting Dr. Andrew Weil at the Annual Employee Benefits Conference was a cherished opportunity. She also loves the times when she and a member recognize each other at a conference because of interacting on Twitter!

Personal Insight: Known around the office as “appropriately paranoid,” Ann is usually prepared for a variety of potential outcomes in most every situation.

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