For anyone who has led so much as a youth group or a project team at work knows being in charge isn’t easy. The often thankless tasks are compounded in volunteer positions or where extra income isn’t guaranteed. People who find themselves in leading roles with IndyAHU are not immune. Someone has to organize events, make sure the CE filings are done, find speakers, talk to new members, recruit sponsors, and roll with news and policies that come from across the country.
Thomas Mackey is picking up where Allie Gorgol leaves off as IndyAHU President this July 1. His one-year term, he says, “All comes down to membership.”
Mackey lives with his wife of five years and their eighteen-month-old daughter in Noblesville. He’s lived in the Indianapolis area for thirty years. Looking back, his career into benefits and insurance has taken a few turns to get here.
“I started in the golf industry,” says Mackey. “I was working at a country club and decided to switch jobs and work at a rental car company.” A couple of promotions later, the phone rang. “The VP of PrimePay called me a couple of years ago after finding me on LinkedIn.” In addition to being a reminder to update your LinkedIn profile, the call found Mackey in a sales role at PrimePay.
“I didn’t know anything about the industry,” he recalls. He joined in 2018 after attending an evening happy hour hosted by IndyAHU at Hotel Tango. Mackey is a relative newcomer compared to many members who can boast decades-long membership cards. “I joined because I was looking to network with others in the industry. I was a relatively new sales exec in the room. I thought there was no better way to know more than to do more in it,” says Mackey.
That notion to do more extended to its logical end when Allie Gorgol heard he wanted to be more involved. “I asked how I could be more involved and she suggested the Board could certainly find something for him to do.” Now, a year and a half later, he’s becoming its President. He probably didn’t know he’d be picking up his position in the middle of a pandemic, however.
“NAHU does so much more for our industry than people realize. Creating a Chapter and industry leadership that our community can be proud of. Allie’s made great strides,” says Mackey. He follows in a long line of Presidents who have made signature projects part of their tenure, from dramatic increases in membership, Sales Congresses, Gorgol’s new Medicare event coming next year, to the creation of Indiana’s first statewide smoking cessation hotline.
Despite the effort required of a volunteer role, and the challenges put in place by shrinking sponsorships and events amid COVID-19, Mackey is excited about what he can do for the Association and what it can do for him. “You meet people, and that’s what you’re going to hear a lot from me. Focusing on bringing people together and fostering an environment where they can grow together is what will help our chapter come out of this pandemic stronger,” he says.
“It all comes down to membership — I think every chapter has that issue. How do we get more people involved?” Mackey points to the way he got involved as a way to keep moving forward. “I want to rely on the happy hours and make more of a networking group as opposed to just an education group,” he says. “I think a lot of people think it’s all about education, and a lot of it is, but it’s also building relationships and creating new friendships,” he says. Those relationships help the Association with efforts in politics and policymaking.
“But it starts with relationships, there’s a ton of young people in the industry that don’t know we exist. They’re out there and missing out,” he says. “When I got promoted with PrimePay I was able to grow myself as a leader. This is another opportunity for me to do that now I realize what Health Underwriters does for our business and industry. It keeps us stable.”