a little bit about us…
Navia has been around since 1989. We started out as Flex-Plan Services, a family-owned and operated third-party administrator of FSA plans serving school districts and other public sector employers in Washington State. We’ve grown from our humble beginnings to be considered one of the premier administrators on the West Coast with a national reach of clients from coast to coast. Over time, even with our increase in service offerings and overall growth, we’ve maintained the qualities and principals that the company was founded on: respect, communication, and treating clients and participants like family.
Relationship with transparency means everything to us and it’s why many of our clients have been with us for decades. Whether you are an employer, broker or participant, you get the best of who we are as real people who care about your business and your employees’ well-being. We’re here to be your partner, advocate, and guide to help you create the best benefit package possible for your clients or employees.
our core values
nurture: We act as mentors, teachers and coaches to our employees, clients and participants. We are family.
advocate: We fight for our customer relationships and the well-being of our clients and participants.
visualize: We have a pulse on where the industry is headed, and are focused on discovering future benefit solutions for our clients.
innovate: We provide solutions in a nimble and flexible environment. We constantly strive to offer the best solutions.
amaze: We will amaze you with our energy, caring customer service and ability to create solutions that fit diverse needs.
To empower organizations with guidance, tools, and wisdom to advocate for the health, well-being, and financial welfare of their employees.
meet the leadership team at Navia
Hilarie Aitken is one of the owners at Navia, and has been an integral part of the vision and growth of Navia for over 15 years. Her passion and expertise in the field have been a driving force in the expansion of consumer driven employee benefits throughout the region.
Hilarie graduated from the University of Washington with a major in Political Science and a minor in Communications. She has served on the board of the Northwest Washington Association of Health Underwriters (NWAHU) and Employer Council on Flexible Compensation (ECFC), a national industry organization where she headed up the Education Committee. Hilarie enjoys sharing her passion, stories and experience to human resource professionals and consultants at various speaking engagements.
Hilarie loves spending time with family and friends. She is an avid cooker and wine enthusiast. The one thing that makes her most happy is her dog Anka. Hilarie loves to travel to new places and experience different cultures and people. She enjoys staying active with tennis, crossfit and running.
Matt Aitken is the current VP at Navia. He started working for Navia back in 1998, supporting his dad and uncle in the family business as the 8th employee of Navia. Ownership in Navia started for Matt about 5 years ago.
Matt is a business graduate from the University of Washington, class of 1998. He enjoys bringing the family atmosphere to Navia each and every day.
General Counsel and Compliance Officer
Tina oversees Navia’s legal affairs and advises the management team regarding business and compliance issues. Tina also handles the design, drafting, and administration issues related to welfare benefit and fringe benefit plans. She advises on issues related to HIPAA, COBRA, and ERISA compliance, as well as mergers and acquisitions as they relate to cafeteria plans. Additionally, Tina heads nondiscrimination testing for self-insured, self-funded and cafeteria plans and assists with corrective procedures and plan design changes.
Tina received her Bachelor of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Washington and her law degree from Seattle University. She is a member of the Washington State Bar Association and serves as Secretary and Activities Chair of the Washington State Corporate Counsel Executive Committee. She also volunteers for the Employers Council on Flexible Compensation (ECFC), a Washington DC based non-profit organization dedicated to the maintenance and expansion of private employee benefit programs on a tax-advantaged basis. Tina serves as a member of ECFC’s conference and legislative committees. Finally, Tina volunteers as a mentor for the Future of the Law Institute, a program for minority and economically disadvantaged high school students interested in learning more about a career in the law.
Tina likes cheeseburgers, golf, and beaches.
Her favorite things to do are nap, sleep, eat, read, hike and spend time with her hubby.
Tina used to play sports (fan favorite on the company softball team!!) but she blew out her knee while moonlighting on a non-company flag football team a couple years ago (and crushing our softball championship dreams in the process).
An outdoor enthusiast, Tina shot her first deer at age 12 after finishing gun safety school and has rafted the Rogue River, the Skykomish river, 100 miles of the upper Snake River in Idaho, the Deschutes, Salmon, Wenatchee, Wind, and Tieton rivers.
Oh, and she likes camping.
Principal, Sales & Business Development
Darab Sarbandi is the head of our sales and business development teams and is responsible for Navia’s overall growth and strategic partnerships. He joined Navia in 1998 and has held various roles within the company including client implementation, account management and program management.
Between his tenures, he served as the head of the Consumer-Directed Benefits division of RSMES, a division of RSM McGladrey, where he successfully launched a suite of CDB services for RSMES before its successful sale to ADP.
He serves as both a contract manager for our high-profile public sector clients and as a program manager for our new service initiatives. Darab is well-respected within the benefits community for his expertise, creative thinking and ability to help clients navigate through the changing benefits landscape.
Darab graduated in 1998 with a B.A in Philosophy and a B.S in Molecular Biology from the University of Washington.
When he’s not daydreaming about being a Jedi and going on adventures, Darab is too busy being the Lord of Catan and schooling Matt and Marty at Carcassonne. Around the office, he’s known as “The Essence”… alluding back to the days of sporting a pony tail. When he’s not busy working on a new project or bustling around the office, you can find him at a local Taco Time…his favorite place to eat…seriously, it’s his mission to eat at every location in the greater Pacific NW. Go Seahawks!!!
- Never forgetting a face
- Eating an unlimited number of tacos
- Guessing where people’s accents are from
- Eating Taco Time for 5 straight meals (including breakfast)
- Feeding his kids ice cream and cake for breakfast
- Celebrity twin: David Schwimmer… when I had hair
- Favorite toy: Legos
- Favorite cartoon as a kid: Robotech
Employer Services Manager
Lisa Cook has managed the employer services team of Navia since the fall of 2013. Prior to that, she spent 6 years as an account manager building relationships with broker partners, educating clients, and managing plans. She began her career with Navia right out of college as a customer service representative.
Through her growth with the company, she has enjoyed guiding people through the ever-changing healthcare landscape and has developed a passion for educating others within the organization as Navia continues to grow.
Lisa graduated in 2006 with a B.A. in Geography from the University of Washington.
Because we spend such a large chunk of our lives at work, Lisa believes that coming to work should make you happy – and what better way to accomplish that than to marry your best friend and co-worker, right? So, she did just that and married Navia sales representative, Cody Cook, in 2013. (Added bonus to marrying a co-worker – carpool buddy!)
Outside of work, Lisa enjoys staying active through crossfit (her favorite Olympic lift is the overhead squat), tinkering around in her garden (her husband wishes she would never plant zucchini EVER again), and spending time with her growing family, which consists of Cody, Ollie (their 20 pound cat), and Baby #1 due in September 2015.
Customer Service Manager
Teresa manages, inspires and mentors our customer service team. She has been with Navia for over 8 years and has 20 years of experience in customer service. Her foundational understanding of customer service and her human approach have helped in developing the best participant-facing service team in the industry. Teresa understands that when serving people, it’s not just about answering questions, really serving someone means that you are advocating for them, and that is exactly what her team does.
When Teresa is not managing the entire customer service department, you can find her rocking out to the oldies (90’s grunge) and writing her name repeatedly as Ms. Teresa Vedder. Her day dreams include holding hands with Eddie Vedder, hippie dancing to Dave Matthews at the Gorge or being a cast member of Sons of Anarchy. Originally from SoCal (the LBC), she has a love affair with everything hot (hot places, hot foods)…. and tacos. She’s the cool mom that gets invited to rock-star barbecues or to hang out with musicians. Some interesting party facts about Teresa:
- She’s seen Dave Matthews Band (18 times) more than the age of her kid
- She has a cat name Kit-Kat
- She would burst into rainbows and fire if she met Eddie Vedder
- She likes to laugh…a lot… really a lot
- She has a life-size cut-out of Charlie Hunnam in her office
Administration and Finance Manager
Mellissa has more than 15 years of finance experience working for small, medium, and large companies. Specializing in taxes, general ledger, and financial analysis, Mellissa has previously managed AP, AR, general ledger, and tax departments including international tax and joint venture management. “Navia has given me the opportunity to expand my experiences beyond strictly finance and use my MBA in a much broader way. Every day is a new challenge and a new learning opportunity.”
Growing up in Chicago gave me a great appreciation for the finer things in life like pizza and air conditioning. I’ve been a loyal Cubs fan since birth, which is a gift and a curse at the same time. When I’m not working, I enjoy binging on Netflix shows, reading, self-improvement, and listening to my 8 year old son’s thoughts on life. If I could have any job in the world I would love to drive the karma bus and dole out just desserts, good and bad. The top 3 items on my bucket list are to follow New Kids on the Block for a year attending all of their events, participate in a flash mob, and watch the Cubs win the World Series.
Software Development Manager
Marty joined Navia in 2009 and oversees all software development operations for Navia, which includes the website, mobile applications, and all the internal software that helps run the business.
Marty is proud to lead a development team that is smart and innovative and can quickly respond to the needs of the business. He believes that the best measure of progress on a software project is actual working software.
Prior to Navia, Marty spent 15 years programming and leading teams in commercial software, corporate IT, and IT consulting. Marty holds a B.A. in Computer Science from the University of Washington.
Top 10 Coolest Things to Know About Marty:
- His favorite subject in school was math (he still knows the quadratic equation)
- He likes to cook, eat, and talk endlessly about good food
- He has a reverence for German engineering
- He likes Rush, …the band.
- He owns every 80’s space Lego set that was released between 1980 and 1985
- He enjoys biking, the faster the better
- He likes to travel with his wife, but prefers museums over beaches
- His kids are (in descending order of age): a thinker, a doer, an organizer, a cuddler
- He enjoys volunteering his time to help others (I know, sounds boring, but it’s true!)
meet the sales team at Navia
Sales Executive and Marketing Coordinator
Cody joined Navia in 2008 as a customer service agent and enrollment coordinator. His extensive exposure to clients and participants during the open enrollment process gave him insight on what and how participants understand benefit enrollment materials. Cody has since managed the overhaul of all our communication pieces and general marketing. Bringing knowledge from his background in logistics, data uploads, and plan transitions; Cody is an invaluable asset for clients during the sales and implementation process.
Cody holds a B.A in Law and Justice and a B.A in Sociology from Central Washington University.
As a lifelong Washington resident, you’ll most likely find Cody prepping for football season (yes…year round), hunting or fishing in his super-secret spots, or staying active at Crossfit425. Outside of his outdoor activities and his sports obsession, Cody enjoys spending time with his wife Lisa, his soon to be growing family, and friends. Go Hawks!!!
- Caught a 46 lb. salmon (yes, it was delicious)
- He’d excel in a zombie apocalypse (or maybe he’s watched too much of The Walking Dead)
- Has a cat that tips the scales at 20lbs, but he’s just big-boned…..
- Understands why the Seahawks passed it on 2nd and goal from the 1, but doesn’t accept it.
Sales Executive and Business Development
Jason is a member of the sales and business development team at Navia. He joined Navia in 2010 and has held various roles within the company including customer service supervisor, account management and program management. His passion is leveraging new technology to create solutions for our clients.
As our list of services grows, Jason is often involved in the integration process and has a keen understanding of how our services are connected within our solutions suite. Brokers often seek out his expertise when looking to implement several services simultaneously.
Jason is a 2005 graduate of the Whittier College Scholar Program with a focus in Biochemistry.
Jason, who is originally from Santa Cruz, CA, brings an empathetic view to our company and provides a great deal of experience to his position at Navia.
Outside of the office, you can find Jason on an adventure with his wife Meg, or yelling “Mush!” on his skateboard as his dogs, Beta and Bailey, tow him around his neighborhood.
As Navia’s in-house life coach, be careful, you could end up in a lengthy conversation about your future with this guy!
Three fun facts:
- Ran for Santa Cruz County 5th District Supervisor when he was 9 years old to bring awareness to curbside recycling
- Johnny Depp’s double in Pirates of the Caribbean 2.
- Current Navia lip-sync champ!
Sales Executive and Business Development
Stefan is a member of the sales and business development team at Navia. He graduated from the McComb’s School of Business at the University of Texas with a degree in Corporate Finance. After graduation, Stefan began his career with Lockton Retirement Services, a health and welfare broker in Dallas, TX.
Stefan brings a unique perspective to the world of employee benefits, having served clients as both a consultant and provider. He has a passion for helping clients solve the unique challenges associated with offering tax advantaged employee benefits.
Stefan resides in Kirkland, Washington and enjoys hiking, playing tennis and golfing in his spare time. He plays lacrosse for the Seattle Lacrosse Club and also played at the University of Texas. He is a huge Longhorn football fan and tries to catch a game at least once a year!
employee(s) of the quarter: Kyle E & Wendie L!
Kyle has been with Navia for nearly 5 years. He started off as a Customer Service Representative, moved into a supervisor role, and was recently promoted to a Systems Analyst on our software engineering team. Kyle is smart, solution-oriented, patient and kind. During his time as a supervisor, we constantly received positive feedback about Kyle’s supervisory style. His team referred to him as helpful, knowledgeable and truly exemplifying Navia’s core values. Kyle is married and has a passion for cars.
Wendie has only been with Navia for 1.5 years! In that short time, she has taken on implementation of new clients and has proven to be an irreplaceable force on our COBRA team. Her positive attitude, willingness to help and empathy towards others makes Wendie and the service she provides truly unique. Her peers as well as our clients and participants appreciate her diligent and hard work. Wendie is married, has three children and is a full time college student. She has a passion for hard rock and metal and all things 80’s!