Friends in benefits … A Q and A with University of Kentucky benefits manager Gail Carbol


Gail Carbol has spent 19 years at the University of Kentucky. The HR manager helps administer benefits to the university's more than 20,000 employees and retirees. Her tenure has included three different university presidents and two men's basketball national titles. (The Wildcats won one the year before she arrived on campus.)

Gail recently answered some questions from EyeQ.

QUESTION: How would you describe UK's work culture?
ANSWER: UK embraces efficiency, innovation and offers a great work environment. The work culture is team-oriented and promotes a culture of "doing the right thing."

Q: What's UK's most unique, non-traditional benefit?
A: It's either our Employer Assisted Housing Program, where we provide up to $15,000 towards the down payment of a home within a perimeter of UK, or our pet insurance.

Q: What's your open enrollment secret to success?
A: The ease of Employee Self-Service and several communication vehicles: home-delivered printed newsletters, open house fairs in various locations, postcards, departmental presentations and emails.

Q: If you could have any person speak to your team about any topic, who would it be and what would he or she talk about?
A: Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway and the portable dialysis machine. I'd ask him to speak about exercising the brain and being creative. He is an excellent motivational speaker.

Q: What's your favorite thing in your workspace?
A: Our team comradery! We enjoy each other's company and really have a unique bond that I think allows us to offer superior service to our employees, students and retirees.

Q: What's the coolest thing you've ever seen at work?
A: The students do an annual fundraiser called Dance Blue to raise money for the UK Children's Hospital Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Clinic. Seeing the hundreds of young people in the gym dancing 24 hours is heartwarming and makes me feel proud to have a role in this University. Last year, they raised over $1.6 million.

Q: UK has been around for 150 years. If you could go back in time, when would you like to have been on campus?
A: I think it would have been interesting to attend the college in 1880 when the first women were allowed on campus. The college was started from a land grant in 1865 and was an agricultural and mechanical school.

Q: Who's your favorite UK basketball player of all time?
A: I'd have to say Anthony Davis. He seems to be a grounded young man and I love to watch him play.