Leadership Insights from IBM’s North Carolina Senior State Executive, Tim Humphrey

Timothy Humphrey, IBM Vice President, Chief Data Officer and NC Senior State Executive

Note: See links to my past leadership lesson blogs from the Raleigh Chamber C-Suites series as well as the Triangle Business Journal’s Power Breakfast gatherings at the bottom of this post.

The Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce holds its “C-Suite Perspectives” breakfast meeting several times per year and features area senior level executives sharing their leadership stories and insights. The November session with IBM Vice President, Chief Data Officer and NC Senior State Executive Timothy Humphrey provided another excellent session with several important leadership lessons.

After sharing his own unique career journey from NC State University to IBM to Lenovo and then back to IBM (sprinkled with a sense of humor – Tim labeled himself “a goofy engineer who cares about people”), Tim shared 10 main points organized within 4 topics. Here they are.

Topic A – The Foundation

1) Be Authentic. That is the foundation for all leadership, and Tim found that trying to be someone he wasn’t simply does not work.

Topic B – Personal Leadership

2) Build Diverse Teams. Diversity does drive innovation.

3) Engage Employees. It is important for leaders to set an example and create a culture that engages employees which drives positive business results. And build a culture where employees feel free to ask questions, get coaching and take chances.

4) Give Back. It is important for leaders to give back to the community. For example, Tim serves on the Wake County Boys & Girls Clubs Board of Directors and on the University of North Carolina’s World View Advisory Board.

Topic C – Personal Growth

5) Have a high performance mindset …. Even when no one is watching.

6) Have a vision and a long-term perspective.

7) Go beyond just networking and build relationships. Great leaders have a ton of strong relationships.

Topic D – Business Leadership

8) Focus on measurement and outcomes.

9) Visualize success and adjust your plan along the path as you need to.

10) Make data-driven decisions. It is important to remove bias, including seeking others’ opinions to assist with this.

* * * * *

My earlier C-Suite Perspectives Leadership Blogs:

September 2017: Six Leadership Insights from a local “Fortune 1000” CEO – with Martin Marietta CEO C. Howard Nye.

November 2016: Learning about Leadership through Life – with Duke Energy NC President David Fountain

May 2016: Seven Insights on Leadership, Success and Diversity from Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good

Feb 2015: Raleigh Chamber of Commerce CEO Harvey Schmitt shares about leadership and collaboration

May 2014: Exploring Leadership, Talent Development and Innovation with a Local Senior ABB Executive

March 2014: Leadership Advice from a Senior Lenovo Executive

Social Security Benefits for the LGBT Community

Laws around equal access and treatment of LGBTQ people, including same-gender couples, continues to evolve and change, some for the better, and some for the worse. The following information is a resource provided by Disability Benefits Help, an independent organization dedicated to helping people of all ages receive Social Security benefits. If you have any questions on your family’s eligibility for auxiliary benefits or how Social Security works in general, feel free to reach out to their team at [email protected]

* * * * *

If you’re currently receiving Social Security disability or Social Security retirement benefits, your family may be eligible for additional financial resources. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers monthly benefits for dependent family members of disability or retirement recipients. Obgerfell v. Hodges made gay marriage legal in all 50 states, meaning LGBT married couples are now eligible for additional financial planning options through the SSA.

What Benefits Are Available?

Benefits for your family members are known as auxiliary benefits. Spouses, children, and even parents can receive auxiliary benefits. Who can receive benefits will vary depending on the type of Social Security you’re drawing from yourself.

For Those on Retirement or Disability Benefits

If you’ve retired or disabled and started drawing Social Security, your spouse will qualify for auxiliary benefits under your account. Your spouse can receive up to 50% of your own retirement benefits on top of your monthly benefits as soon as your spouse turns 62. If you’re receiving retirement benefits, any minor children* will be eligible for 50% of your benefits until age 18. You will have a household maximum income limit of around 180% of your entitlement, meaning that even if your spouse and multiple children are eligible for 50% of your benefits, your monthly payment will be capped.
*Who counts as a “child” to the SSA? Biological, adopted, and step children will all qualify. You will not need to adopt your spouse’s child if he or she was adopted or is from another marriage, but you will need to wait one year after marriage before applying for auxiliary benefits on behalf of a stepchild.

Your child could be eligible for auxiliary benefits well beyond age 18 if he or she has a disability that began before age 22, such as autism or cerebral palsy.

Survivors’ Benefits

If you or your spouse were to pass away, additional benefits will be available to your family. Surviving spouses are eligible for between 75%-100% of a deceased spouse’s benefits starting at age 60. Minor children are also eligible for 75% of a parent’s benefits until age 18.

Your parents would also be eligible for survivors’ benefits if you were to pass away so long as your parents are over age 62 and were dependent on you for at least 50% for their daily living expenses.

What Benefits Can’t Be Claimed?

The only benefits that can’t be claimed by the LGBT community (yet) are auxiliary benefits from a disabled or retired spouse after divorce. Typically you can claim 50% of a spouse’s entitlement after a divorce once you’re over age 62, so long as you had been married for 10 years and did not remarry before age 60. Because the Supreme Court did not recognize gay marriage until 2015, it’s unlikely anyone in the LGBT community will be eligible for these resources until 2025 at the earliest.

Starting Your Application

If you need to add beneficiaries to your account, you’ll unfortunately only be able to do so at your closest Social Security office. To make an appointment to fill out the paperwork in person, simply call the SSA toll free at 1-800-772-1213.

Helpful Resources

The SSA’s Website: https://www.ssa.gov/

Types of Beneficiaries: https://www.ssa.gov/oact/progdata/types.html

SSA Offices Across the Country: https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/social-security-disability-locations