News & Events

Learn about the latest company news and activities going on at CDB!

June 2024

CDB Summer Picnic

CDB held its 2nd annual summer picnic on Friday, June 21. This year family members were invited to join us at the Miami Township Community Center. We had a catered grill out for lunch, corn hole tournaments, a water balloon toss, Jenga and even bingo!

April 2024

CDB Named a Best Workplace in Ohio

Custom Design Benefits is honored to be named a Best Workplace in Ohio for 2024, our third year in a row! This award recognizes Ohio-based companies that make a difference in their employees’ lives and their community.

March 28, 2024

Executive Insights – Demystifying Self-Funding

Julie Mueller, Custom Design Benefits’ President & CEO, was recently interviewed for Executive Insights, an interview series with Greater Cincinnati executives conducted by the Cincinnati Business Courier. In this video, Julie demystifies self-funding from an HR perspective.

Executive Insights

April 8, 2024

Solar Eclipse

CDB employees were able to observe a major celestial event – the total solar eclipse! While we were not in the path of totality, it was still an amazing experience!

March 28, 2024

Tracey Lawson Retires

Our dear colleague, Tracey Lawson, retired on March 28th after almost 12 years with Custom Design Benefits. We celebrated with luau theme and a few of Tracey’s favorite things, Skyline Chili for lunch and chocolate cake for dessert.

We will miss you Tracey, but we wish you the best in retirement!

February 9, 2024

Year-End Celebration

Custom Design Benefits held its 2023 Year-End Celebration on February 9th at MadTree Brewing.  Fourth quarter is a busy time for us, so we celebrate in February!

This year’s celebration had a carnival theme, complete with a balloon arch for photo ops.  Everyone enjoyed a great lunch followed by some carnival games, including Ring Toss, Bank Shot, Plinko, Tic Tac Toe, and Bean Bag Toss.  We also continued our tradition of having our new hires performing skits, which were hilarious!  

Thanks to our FUNdamental Culture Committee for putting on another great event!

February 2, 2024

National Wear Red Day

CDB kicked off its fundraising efforts for the American Heart Association on February 2, 2024, National Wear Red Day.  

January 10, 2024

CDB Awarded Ohio Success Award Three Years in a Row!


Custom Design Benefits has been recognized as a 2024 Ohio Success Award winner!  This is our third year receiving this award.

The Ohio Success Awards recognizes the accomplishments of companies that have demonstrated growth in revenue and employees, as well as having demonstrated involvement in their community and service in their industry.

October 2023

CDB Wins 2023 Best in Ohio Award

Ohio Business Magazine’s readers have spoken and Custom Design Benefits has been voted the winner in the 2023 Best in Ohio Business Award in the Health and Life Insurance Company category!

Thanks to everyone who voted!

October 2023

Customer Service Week

CDB celebrated Customer Service Week October 2-6.  This year’s theme was “You Make the Magic Happen”.

The celebration began on Monday with team members arriving to a decorated office and small gift at their desk. On Tuesday and Thursday we had puzzle challenges and the employees fastest to complete the puzzles correctly received a prize.  Wednesday was our always popular photo shoot day, which included an award for most magical costume.  Friday ended our week with a delicious catered breakfast.

Thanks to our FUNdamental Culture Committee for planning such a fun week!

September 2023

Welcome Rachel Jones

Rachel Jones recently joined Custom Design Benefits as the Director of Client Services where she leads client support activities including plan implementation, strategic initiatives, and account management.

Before joining Custom Design Benefits, Rachel spent 13 years working for a local medical device manufacturer where she focused on team development, sales support, contract management and process improvement.

Rachel is a graduate of Mount Saint Joseph University and a native Cincinnatian (West Side!). When she’s not working, Rachel enjoys visiting the Cincinnati Zoo and other local attractions with her husband and two young children.

September 22, 2023

Aid for Maui Wildfire Victims

CDB recently held a drive for donations to help those affected by the Maui wildfires.  Employees donated cleaning supplies, personal care items and other necessities, as well as a cash donations.  The items were delivered to Matthew 25: Ministries for distribution to those in need.  A group of CDB employees also volunteered at their facility on a Saturday afternoon to help sort and prepare donated items for shipping.

August 31, 2023

16th Annual Customer Conference

Custom Design Benefits held our 16th annual Customer Conference at Manor House on August 31st. It was another information-packed event with several guest speakers.

Julie Mueller, President & CEO, started off the conference with a review of events from the past year and a look of what is coming in the area of health care benefits. Dave McLean, Emerging Therapy Solutions, provided an overview of cell and gene therapies and explained how the market is responding. Next up was David Galardi, Paydhealth, who explained why prescription drug advocacy is a necessary service for every health plan. Hannan Harnack and Catherine Caldwell of CuraLinc HealthCare reviewed trends in mental health care utilization and future offerings of SupportLinc EAP. David Walter, Everside Health, discussed ways to increase access to quality primary care while reducing employer health care spend. Alberta Manga, CDB’s Director of Medical & Risk Management, reviewed our population health management services available to all CDB medical clients. Burns Blaxall of The Christ Hospital discussed pharmacogenomics and implementing precision care based in part on a patient’s DNA. Amanda Guinan, CDB’s Vice President of Business Development & Compliance, provided an update on Lifestyle Spending Accounts and how they can be used to attract and retain top talent. Wrapping up the day was Ron Peck, The Phia Group, who told us everything we need to know about compliance but were afraid to ask.

CDB also held our 6th annual silent auction to benefit the American Heart Association.

July 21, 2023

Summer Fun Day

CDB took the afternoon of July 21st to have a Summer Fun Day in our back parking lot. The Leadership Team manned the grill, employees brought side dishes and desserts to share, and we all enjoyed a beautiful summer day together. After enjoying a great lunch, we all participated in a water balloon toss. Mary Spaeth, Account Manager, and Anthony Hover II, Staff Accountant, were the winning team. Next the ice cream truck arrived and the soft serve ice cream really hit the spot. Amanda Guinan, Debbie Sangermano and Tiana Shelby competed in giant Jenga. A bunch of employees played Bingo to win prizes of unspeakable value. Others tried their hand (or should we say hips) at hula hoop, hopscotch and corn hole. Thank you to our FUNdamental Culture Committee for planning such a fun event!

June 7, 2023

Custom Design Benefits is proud to announce we’ve been named a 2023 Top Workplace!

A BIG THANK YOU to all of our AMAZING EMPLOYEES who made this happen!

May 2023

Custom Design Benefits Named a Best Workplace in Ohio

We are pleased to share that we’ve been named a 2023 Best Workplace in Ohio by Ohio Business Magazine!

That’s two years in a row and counting!

April 2023

Best in Cincy 2023

Custom Design Benefits is proud to announce we’ve been named a Best in Cincy 2023 Professional Services Company.  This marks the second year in a row CDB has won this business award.

March 14, 2023

Ohio Success Award

CDB is proud to share we’ve been named an Ohio Success Award winner two years in a row.

February 27, 2023

Happy Birthday, Steve!

Steve Fiorino, our Vice President of Operations, recently celebrated his 50th birthday.  The team had to help Steve celebrate this milestone birthday, so they decorated his office “Over the Hill” style.  Steve was a great sport about it, even posing with his “50” glasses and walker.

February 24, 2023

Year-End Celebration

CDB held its Year-End Celebration on Friday, February 24th at Scene 75.  After we enjoyed a great lunch, in keeping with a long standing tradition, our new hires put on two hilarious skits.  Then we had a little friendly competition playing Putt Putt golf, racing go carts, and playing various games of chance and skill.  As you can see in the photos, lots of laughs and fun were had that afternoon!

February 3, 2023

National Wear Red Day

CDB started off our fundraising for the American Heart Association by participating in National Wear Red Day!

December 2022

Celebrating the Holidays at CDB

Giving to the community is important to CDB and its employees.  This holiday season we held a food drive for Matthew 25:  Ministries, completed another book drive for Side by Side, and donated gifts to the Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky.

CDB Employees also got into the Christmas spirit by decorating the office (even writing a letter to Santa) and celebrating as a team.

October 2022

CDB Celebrates Customer Service Week

During the week of October 3rd, CDB employees celebrated Customer Service Week.  This year’s theme was “Taking pride in the service you provide.”

Employees enjoyed fun activities during the week, a catered breakfast, and photos with our own Lion King pride.

October 2022

CDB Ranked 25th in Revenue Among Women-Owned Businesses

Custom Design Benefits, a leading third party administrator providing innovative cost containment solutions to employers with self-funded plans, was ranked #25 for revenue among women-owned businesses in the Cincinnati area by the Cincinnati Business Courier.

October 2022

CDB Raises Funds for Alzheimer’s in More Ways than One

At CDB, we know the impact of Alzheimer’s isn’t limited to just the person with the disease. It extends to family members, caregivers, healthcare workers, and the public at large.

And as diagnoses continue to grow at a rapid rate, so does the need to support efforts to work toward a cure and provide the best care possible to help those living with Alzheimer’s.

That’s why this year, we jumped at every opportunity to help raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association. To date, our employees have overseen a spare change collection, participated in Cincinnati Bengals Football Squares, and organized a lunch fundraiser prepared by CDB’s FUNdamental Culture Committee. These fundraising efforts culminated with the Cincinnati Tri-State 2022 Walk to End Alzheimer’s event on October 1, 2022.

Why join the fight against Alzheimer’s?

    • More than 6 million Americans age 65 and older are currently living with Alzheimer’s. By 2050, this number is projected to rise to nearly 13 million.
    • More than 11 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.
    • In 2022, Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the nation $321 billion. By 2050, these costs could reach nearly $1 trillion.
    • 83% of the help provided to older adults in the U.S. comes from family members, friends or other unpaid caregivers.
    • People living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias have twice as many hospital stays per year as other seniors.

To learn more or to donate, visit

September 2022

CDB’s President and CEO Julie Mueller Named One of Ohio’s Top Leaders

Julie Mueller, President & CEO of Custom Design Benefits, was recently named among the top 500 “most powerful and influential Ohioans” by Ohio Business Magazine.

To learn more about Julie and the other influential leaders driving the Ohio business community visit:

Read More

September 2022

CDB’s Amanda Guinan Explores Renewed Popularity of Lifestyle Spending Accounts on Podcast

Amanda Guinan, Vice President of Business Development and Account Management for Custom Design Benefits, sat down with Strategic Benefits of Cincinnati to explain the growing interest in Lifestyle Spending Accounts among employers.

According to a recent Mercer Insights Survey, more than 70% of employers are currently considering adding a Lifestyle Spending Account to their benefits package. With Lifestyle Spending Accounts, employers have the flexibility to offer multiple benefits, such as reimbursement for childcare, student loans and gym memberships to pet insurance and more, without having to go through multiple vendors.

To learn more, catch the podcast “Let’s Talk with Jen Homer” here:

Watch Here

September 2022

Office Book Drive Contributes to Larger Community Initiative

Here at Custom Design Benefits, we recognize that learning to read is a fundamental part of early childhood development. However, some families lack access to the essential resources children need to flourish in this area – like books.

According to the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, nearly two-thirds (61% of low-income families) have no books in their homes.

Having books in the home is the single biggest indicator of academic success, which is why it’s important for businesses and individuals with the financial means to consider supporting book drives.

We want to be part of the solution, so we recently participated in a local book drive to support Side by Side, a volunteer organization that supports low-income residents in northwest Hamilton County.

To date, Side by Side has distributed more than 75,000 books to children and adults through federal Head Start programs, senior centers, food pantries, local school districts and events held in Colerain and Green Townships. They also continue to help fill 22 Little Free Libraries in the community.

To learn more about Side by Side and how you can help, visit:

August 2022

15th Annual Customer Conference: Stop the Panda-monium of Rising Health Care Costs

Custom Design Benefits hosted the 15th Annual Customer Conference on August 25th at Manor House in Mason, Ohio. Starring a Panda as the conference mascot, the 2022 conference focused on the latest strategies for calming the unbearable uproar of rising health care benefits costs.

In addition to sharing news about a significant reduction in COVID-19-related claims and the positive effects on our clients’ healthcare plans, conference highlights included:

  • CuraLinc Healthcare’s personalized employee assistance and mental health programs
  • Lifestyle Spending Accounts and how they can be used to pay for the mental, physical, and financial needs of employees, such as childcare
  • A panel discussion addressing how to attract and retain talent in a tight labor market
  • RxResults and an evidence-based approach to pharmacy risk management, patient safety, and clinical efficacy
  • Paydhealth and alternative funding options that can be used to avoid the high cost of specialty medications
  • What plan sponsors can do to prepare a compliance strategy to keep up with new regulations

For further coverage of these conference topics and more, keep your eyes peeled for our Fall 2022 newsletter!

August 2022

Learning Care Group Brings Employer-Sponsored Child Care Within Reach for Families Nationwide

For working families in today’s changing work landscape, access to high-quality child care is everything. As workers seek to secure quality child care solutions without sacrificing work or family life, early childhood education leader Learning Care Group is offering companies a new way to assist their employees through LCG Open Access.

Read More

June 2022

Ohio Business Magazine named Custom Design Benefits as a Best Workplace in Ohio

We are honored to receive this recognition! We take great pride in being a company our employees love to work for and our clients love to work with.

May 2022

Columbus Business First Executive Insights: A Q&A with Julie Mueller, President and CEO of Custom Design Benefits

Join us for Executive Insights, where Columbus Business First President and Publisher Nick Fortine interviews Custom Design Benefits President and CEO Julie Mueller. Learn more about Custom Design Benefits services, including self-funded health plans, FSAs, HRAs and how companies can attract new employees during the great resignation. What behaviors are most important to company culture? What should companies do to alleviate stress? Get answers to these questions and more.

Read More

April 2022

CDB Earns Two High-Profile Business Awards

We’re honored to report that we have once again been recognized as a business leader by two prominent publications:

Ohio Success Award, Ohio Business Magazine
This award recognizes companies that have demonstrated growth both in revenue and employees, as well as having shown involvement in their community and service in their industry.

Best in Cincy Business, Cincy Magazine
In an online competition, readers of Cincy Magazine voted for their favorite Cincinnati businesses in 74 categories, and Custom Design Benefits was named as a top Professional Services firm.

March 2022

CDB Makes a Splash with a Party at the Aquarium

After cruising through the choppy waters of 2021, the CDB crew set sail for its annual year-end celebration at the Newport Aquarium on March 4, 2022.

Every year, CDB takes time out to reflect on the previous year’s successes with an activity that brings employees closer together. This year’s event was no exception.

The event included lunch in the Riverside Room, skits performed by our newer CDB employees, and a scavenger hunt that had us work together in teams to locate and snap a group photo at several of the aquariums’ key attractions.

Together, we visited every exhibit and (sea creature) you can think of – from the Shore Gallery and Stingray Hideaway, to Gator Alley and Penguin Palooza.

A big “Thank You!” to the Newport Aquarium staff for their hospitality and to everyone on our team for their hard work and dedication. Together, we made 2021 a real whale of a year!

January 2022

Terri’s Retirement

It is with bittersweet feelings that we announce the retirement of our dear friend and colleague, Terri Martin, effective January 28. Since joining Custom Design Benefits in October 2017, Terri has been a tremendous asset to our team. Her contributions and intense focus on continuous process improvement have helped CDB set new standards for client service and customized health insurance solutions.

From Director of Medical Management, Vice President of Medical and Risk Management, to her most recent role as Chief Operating Officer, we have benefited greatly from her wealth of knowledge and leadership. We will miss your energy and enthusiasm, but most of all your dedication to improving health outcomes for our clients and their members.

Please join us in congratulating Terri on a remarkable career. Best wishes on this next chapter, Terri!

January 2022

Bengals Tailgate Potluck

On January 14th, we wore our favorite orange and black and enjoyed a tailgate potluck together to show our support of the Cincinnati Bengals ahead of the playoff game this Saturday. Who Dey! #RuleThePlayoffs #ShowYourStripes

December 2021

Ugly Christmas Sweater 2021

Today was our annual holiday lunch and ugly Christmas sweater day. From all of us here at CDB, we hope you all have a very happy holiday season and look forward to the new year!

October 2021

Custom Design Benefits Celebrates 30 Years As Area’s Largest Independent Third-Party Administrator of Self-Funded Health Benefit Plans

Custom Design Benefits (CDB), a leading third party administrator providing innovative cost containment solutions to employers with self-funded health plans, today marks a 30-year milestone serving the greater Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky markets.

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October 2021

Halloween 2021

This Halloween, the CDB team celebrated all things fun and festive with an office costume contest and chili cook-off! Although it was spooky season, the day was full of more treats than tricks.

We loved seeing our friends show off their show-stopping outfits and scary good cooking skills. From friendly bees to a brave knight in shining armor, the team really displayed some fearsome creativity. Congratulations to the group costume contest winners, the Trolls: Shalana Caldwell, Tianna Shelby, Sue Frank, and Marcia Homer. Dressed to the nines as a dinosaur, Kim Cassell was crowned the individual winner of the costume competition!

And to the victors of the chili cook-off, we also tip our hats. Thank you for creating such wonderful dishes, Katie Vollmer, Noah Carlisle, and Matt DiBella! We always love to see our friends’ talents in action, both in and out of the office.

October 2021

30th Anniversary Vegas Trip

On October 15, we celebrated three decades of providing employers and their brokers throughout the tri-state area with innovative self-funded benefit plans the best way we know how – Vegas style!

Hard work, determination, and passion have helped make Custom Design Benefits the strong, successful company it is today, so we made sure to go all out with an anniversary party to remember complete with card games, good food, and camaraderie. Lady Luck made her presence known, granting cash prizes to the top 3 gambling participants and five raffle winners.

September 2021

What Employers Need to Know About Behavioral Health and Telehealth Services

Addressing employee mental health issues has been a focus of concern for some time, but the lingering psychological effects of COVID-19 pandemic fatigue are raising the stakes for employers to do more.

Read More

September 2021

14 Annual Customer Conference

Custom Design Benefits hosted our 14th Annual Customer Conference on September 23rd at the Hard Rock Casino in Cincinnati, OH. With a bull as the conference mascot, the 2021 conference focused on the latest strategies for wrangling in cost savings.

In addition to sharing updated data on how COVID-19 has impacted our clients’ healthcare plans, the 2021 agenda also included a conversation about near-site clinics and the positive impact they have made on patient outcomes, a presentation by Dr. David Galardi from Paydhealth about alternate funding and specialty pharmacy costs, and a discussion on addiction and mental health in the workplace with Dr. Marc Whitsett.

Mary Piecuch from Payer Compass gave an overview of a new cost transparency tool called TrueCost Connect and Ron Peck, Chief Legal Officer of The Phia Group, updated everyone on the legislative landscape in regard to the federal government’s “Transparency in Coverage” rule, the “No Surprises” Act and the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate for large employers.

We’d like to thank the team who helped make this year’s conference a success and everyone who attended. See you all next year!

September 2021

Alzheimer’s Association Reverse Raffle

This September, our office supported the Alzheimer’s Association with a reverse raffle. We had fun “selling” lottery tickets, in the end raising over $130 for this impactful cause.

The Alzheimer’s Association is an incredible organization seeking to end Alzheimer’s and all other forms of dementia, furthering research efforts and offering resources to help patients and their loved ones find excellent care.

We are proud to support this community, and thankful to our employees for their fundraising efforts.

September 2021

Hat Day 2021

The Friday before Labor Day weekend, CDB celebrated our team in a new way – with Hat Day! Ranging from silly to casual, these hats brought a little extra personality and energy into the office. And we love any chance to celebrate what sets our team apart!

May 2021

The 5 Levers of Health Plan Cost Control for 2021

Benefits advisors can help employers offer great, and even improved, health plan benefits to their employees, often at reduced costs, by breaking out of the box defined by traditional health plans. The trick is finding solutions that provide flexibility.

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May 2021

GO Pantry Food Drive

We recently hosted a food drive for GO Pantry. The food drive collection will help GO Pantry tackle childhood hunger in Northern Kentucky. GO Pantry uses donations like these to provide food to local children outside of school hours. GO Pantry provides GO Boxes (food boxes for school break) and GO Bags (weekend food packs offered during the school year).

GO Pantry started as an operation of a few families helping seven kids and has since evolved into a much larger organization. Today, it helps more than 750 children through the efforts of more than 2,000 volunteers. We are thankful to be a part of such an amazing cause.

April 2021

Women Presidents’ Organization Announces Julie D. Mueller as Newest Member of Prestigious Women’s Business Organization

The Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), a peer advisory group for million dollar plus women-led companies, has announced Julie D. Mueller, President & CEO at Custom Design Benefits as the newest member of the Greater Cincinnati II Chapter of the WPO.

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April 2021

American Heart Association Fundraiser

Custom Design Benefits raised $10,000 for the American Heart Association through several fundraisers. The fundraising effort officially began during Custom Design Benefits’ 13th Annual Customer Conference on Sept. 15, 2020 at the Hard Rock Casino in Cincinnati, Ohio.

During the conference, Custom Design Benefits held a silent auction to kick off the fundraising campaign for the American Heart Association. Afterward, 56 Custom Design Benefits employees and family members registered for the Heart Walk, the American Heart Association’s primary fundraising event.

During February and March, Custom Design Benefits hosted several additional fundraising events to aid the cause, including multiple raffles (basket, lottery board, mystery box), Split the Pot, Balloon Pop, after hours wine tasting, and Ultimate Chair Race.

While all of these efforts encouraged the giving spirit, the Ultimate Chair Race provided the most entertainment. Representatives from each team faced off in a chair race around the office, except they had to race backwards. To make this even more interesting, participants could purchase “accessories” for the other teams, such as a Teletubby costume or a weighted backpack, to make the race more challenging. Additionally, the race featured a variety of obstacles, including maneuvering around cans, breaking balloons, doing burpees and taking pit stops.

These fundraising efforts, spanning from September to March, helped Custom Design Benefits raise money for a great organization and a great cause, while also providing plenty of laughs and great memories along the way.

We’d like to wholeheartedly thank our employees, customers, and vendor partners for their fundraising efforts. Without them, none of this would have been possible.

February 2021

2021 Outlook for Health Benefits

Julie Mueller and Custom Design Benefits were featured on the ManageHR website, with Julie’s timely predictions for Health Benefits in 2021. One thing that remains constant from year to year, is employers’ need to balance great employee benefits with cost control and Julie shares some of the tools available to employers to do just that.

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December 2020

Cincy Magazine – An Adaptable Company

The Custom Design Benefits team prides itself on being nimble and strategically partnering with clients to bring them the best employee health benefits for their budget. Read more about how we adapt to be a David versus the Goliath of the big, publicly traded insurance companies as they focus on bringing exceptional service to our clients.

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December 2020

CDB Awarded Top Benefits Administration

Custom Design Benefits is honored to be included in Manage HR’s annual listing of 10 innovative benefits administration consulting/services companies that are impacting the industry, and to be deemed a Top Benefits Administration Consulting/Service Company for 2020.

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September 2020

13th Annual Customer Conference

Custom Design Benefits hosted our 13th Annual Customer Conference on September 15th at the Hard Rock Casino in Cincinnati, OH. With a bee as the conference mascot, the buzz at the 2020 conference was all about the latest cost savings strategies.

In addition to sharing data about how the COVID 19 virus has impacted our clients’ healthcare plans, the 2020 agenda also included a conversation about self-funding in a COVID world, a presentation by L.G. Hanzel from RxResults about soaring drug costs, and a discussion with Rob Previte from Call A Doctor Plus about the increased need for mental health services during the pandemic. Terri Martin, CDB’s COO, provided an update on our Custom Care population heath management program. Dr. David Galardi from Paydhealth gave a special presentation about how alternative funding solutions can take some of the pain out of specialty drug costs.

We’d like to thank the incredible team at Hard Rock Casino for helping us implement precautions to make the event safe for everyone who attended.

June 2020

CDB Named Top Workplace for Fifth Time

We are proud to earn a fifth Top Workplace in Cincinnati award from The Cincinnati Enquirer. Culture is central to our success and is key to maintaining our Top Workplace company culture. Custom Design Benefits follows what we call “The Custom Way,” 23 fundamental principles that describe who we are, how we do our work, and how we treat our clients, members, partners, and each other.

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March 2020

Vistage Perspectives Magazine – An Intentional Change in Culture

Julie Mueller and Custom Design Benefits were featured in the Spring 2020 issue of Vistage magazine, as a case study on changing your culture to deliver extraordinary client service.

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