SVP, Aflac US CTO
Location: Columbus, Georgia
Richard L. Gilbert believes that leading in any industry correlates to a willingness to challenge norms and think differently. “It is important to keep a pulse on the emerging world around you from the fast-evolving digital world to the changing landscape of consumer needs,” he said. “However, the most important factor is surrounding yourself with people who think bigger than you do.”
As the Senior Vice President at Aflac, Gilbert leads by setting goals that seem impossible. “Those goals help to expand what you think is possible and help you achieve greater potential than you would without them,” he said. “The benefit is that even if you don’t reach your goal, you still end up with greater results than if you set them comfortably in the realm of what you know you can do, and that’s the key.”
Aflac is a Fortune 500 company, providing financial protection to more than 50 million people worldwide. When a policyholder or insured gets sick or hurt, Aflac pays cash benefits promptly for eligible claims, directly to the insured. For more than six decades, Aflac voluntary insurance policies have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress.
Gilbert joined the firm in 2019, as the senior vice president and chief digital information officer. In this role, he leads Aflac’s digital and information technology office and the company’s IT strategy. Within the organization, he oversees more than 650 full-time employees and about 1,475 temporary or contract IT workers.
He brings with him more than 26 years of experience in the technology field. “At Aflac, Rich is helping revamp the digital experience for companies, empowering digital sales and helping reimagine the employee experience,” said his colleagues. “With his depth of experience, clear business vision and strong business acumen, he has earned the trust of Aflac’s CEO and other C-suite members, positioning him to drive meaningful change at the company.”
In just a few short years, Gilbert has dramatically accelerated Aflac’s digital capabilities to improve the customer experience, support sales efforts and improve operations. He strives to continually grow as a leader by noticing traits that he loves and those that he does not.
“My lesson is to only put the traits I love in my shopping cart and leave the ones I don’t on the shelf for someone else,” said Gilbert. “This way, I become a successful leader with the traits I most admire.”
Rich is a closet mixologist! He loves to experiment with making drinks. Although he has never been a bartender in his career, he secretly hopes to retire to a beach somewhere in the Caribbean serving artistic creations.