WRS News Online

Outreach and Education: Pep Rallies Optional!

by Janet StutzCleven and Steve Norris, ETF Benefit Specialists

In 2014, Department of Employee Trust Funds benefit specialists travelled more than 38,000 miles across the state. Our travels take us from Ashland to Kenosha, and everywhere in between. To put that into perspective:

  • President Obama logged 38,000 miles on Air Force One in 2014.
  • If you were to travel around the world, that would be just 24,901 miles.
  • With nine benefit specialists on the road, that works out to an average of 4,222 miles per individual each year.

We deliver Wisconsin Retirement System benefits-related information through presentations, informational booths at benefit fairs and via small group retirement appointments. Members can also take in live webinars.

In 2014, specialists conducted 87 presentations, staffed booths at 44 benefit fairs, and conducted185 small group appointments. All told, we met with more than 14,000 WRS members in 46 different cities!

We also began presenting live webinars on a full-time basis last year, providing even more opportunities to interact with members. In 2014, we conducted 156 webinars covering 17 topics ranging from how additional contributions can enhance your WRS retirement benefit to WRS annuity options. Nearly 7,000 people participated and we hope to reach even more members in 2015.

What, no treats?
Members often tell us how much they appreciate our presentations and services, although we do get chided for not providing coffee or donuts. We are happy to fulfill our mission – to provide accurate information about your WRS benefits, regardless of where you live or work. We also know to expect the unexpected. No two events are ever the same. Here are some examples:

  • When locations changed at the last minute and there was a scramble to get attendees to the right spot.
  • When we are in front of an audience of hundreds of people, the microphone is malfunctioning and the technology staff person isn't immediately available.
  • When one of us walked into the presentation room and realized it was a science lab, complete with hard metal stools and a cadaver.
  • When one of us walked into a large auditorium and realized there was a pep rally happening at the same time on the other side of the curtain.

In the end, we are all about providing information so you make well-informed decisions. Our treat. Use our interactive map to find out when one of us will be in your area.