Voices of Gratitude - Ben Hanback

By: Ben Hanback; Market Leader and Managing Director at Aon Tennessee

Tell us a bit about yourself and your company’s background.
I am Ben Hanback, Market Leader and Managing Director for Aon Tennessee. Aon works with companies in the areas of Risk, Health and Wealth and through our advanced analytics, solutions, and advice, give our clients the confidence and clarity to make better decisions to protect and grow their business. I am married, have two college aged kids, Campbell and Bella and live in Brentwood, TN. When my wife, Brittany, and I moved to Nashville in 1998 we helped start the Middle Tennessee Make-A-Wish chapter, which grants wishes for children with critical illnesses.

Why do you think gratitude is important in business?

One of my close friends is country star Dierks Bentley. At every single concert he stops and thanks the crowd for “spending their hard earned money” on a ticket to his show. This resonates with me in business as gratitude and saying “thank you” feels good, heightens positive experiences (like a concert!), and most importantly builds long lasting relationships (with fans OR clients).

How have you used Thnks to show gratitude in your business life?

My team has had success using Thnks in the following ways:

  • Thanking a client for being a reference for us to a prospect or with an RFP
  • Pinging a relationship that may be busy and not engaging with your team or responding to a meeting request
  • Thanking a vendor for a round of golf or dinner engagement
  • Birthday, sympathy, congratulations and even chicken noodle soup when we found out a client had COVID

How has using Thnks been beneficial in maintaining business relationships?

We are busier than ever and the greatest asset we have as leaders are the relationships we build and maintain.  Even a small Thnks and touch point during the week can let a client know you are thinking about them and value their relationship.

How do you recognize that your work is appreciated? What actions from others make you feel most appreciated?

You will often hear me say that I am not an “atta boy” type of person. The greatest recognition for me to feel appreciated is see team members, family and relationships that I have been a part of thrive and be successful. For instance, the 6 people I hired back in 1998 when I arrived in Nashville have all moved on and been extremely successful in life and business. We often tell stories of the “good ole days” and they are so appreciative for me giving them the opportunity and furthering their careers. I am very proud of them.

How can others start integrating gratitude into their daily life?

 Make time for your most important relationships and never miss an opportunity to say “thank you”.

How do you practice gratitude in your personal life?

Since I started my career, I end my week on Friday or Saturday morning and sit down with a cup of coffee and write hand written thank you notes to my most important relationships. I have often seen my notes in peoples offices and on fridges in their homes… it’s a great feeling to write and send the note and it’s even more special when I see the note later and how much it meant to them.

What is your favorite Thnks to send?

My favorite Thnks is one that creates an experience. For example, I sent a Thnks for an ice cream party for the family to my client that is a single dad. My hopes are that it creates an experience for him and his daughter to have some fun and spend time together.

What’s one thing you’re grateful for right now?

I am very grateful for my family and friends. My kids are close to graduating college and Brittany and I could not be more proud of them. We are also surrounded by a very special group of friends that we are so fortunate to have in our lives.