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UP CLOSE: Valerie Houghton

UP CLOSE: Valerie Houghton


NEW JOB TITLE: Atlanta-based health risk manager for the Southeast region of Lockton Cos. L.L.C.

PREVIOUS POSITION: Baku, Azerbaijan-based nutrition consultant for S.O.S. International Clinic.

GOALS FOR NEW POSITION: The Southeast (division of Lockton) has done a great job of implementing (health risk management). My goal is to keep that moving forward. One of the goals is to look at the risks from a client's standpoint and to reduce the risks..Getting to that point requires a team of experts. We want to affect the lives of the employees while helping clients meet their objectives.

INDUSTRY CHALLENGES: The changes in the overall health care scheme will have a huge impact. Being able to recognize the changes and being able to forecast how they will impact our clients' costs and finding the best strategies to manage that before it hits. We know health care costs are going to go up and risks are going to follow that. We are working with clients to strategize that.

INDUSTRY OUTLOOK: I think technology will impact this business; the people who are in their 20s and 30s grew up with the Internet. They will be our CEOs and (chief financial officers) and that will be their way of business.

ADVICE: Anyone who works with health care needs to understand disease management and case management. It helps when looking at a group of employees and the diseases they are managing. You have to understand what has to be in place to work with that. A huge portion of that is understanding how to implement health management from a preventative standpoint.

OUTSIDE THE INDUSTRY, A DREAM JOB: I would love to dance. I like dancing, not that I have the talent; but if I did, I would love to do that.

HOBBIES: I'm an avid reader. I love off-road biking and motorcycling. Exercise is a big part of my week.

FAVORITE MEAL: A really good peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Chunky peanut butter and a small amount of jam or honey on thick slices of wheat bread. I travel with peanut butter; it's a staple in my life.

ON A SATURDAY AFTERNOON: Catching up on my laundry, unpacking my suitcase, repacking for my next trip. Or I'm outside walking, riding my motorcycle. I really love the outdoors.