BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
Associate Health Management Consultant
Insurance, Health & Wellness
5,000 employees, supporting large self funded clients
I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy from Centre College, a Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology and Sport Performance from East Tennessee State University, and a MBA from The University of Alabama at Birmingham. I am a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, a United States Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach, and a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. My desire to help and encourage people developed during my last year of undergraduate work and led to both of my graduate degrees and certifications. The MBA has been the most valuable to me because it has enabled me to blend my knowledge of the health and wellness community with a knowledge and understanding of how business leaders and executives operate.
a. As we all know, success is determined on a specific basis and is exclusive to the outcome desired. Changing one life or imparting the necessary tools for change to one person is a success to me. With that said my most successful intervention specifically addressed Stress Management, the causes of stress, and strategies to combat acute and chronic stress.
b. The decision to offer interactive Lunch and Learn Sessions where members of the population were able to ask questions and learn key ideas to help them with their particular issue was of great benefit. The clear objective when talking with a population about an issue is to make them fully aware that I am also there to learn and share with them. More often than not, health professionals speak as though we already know everything, rather than carrying on a dialogue and sharing experiences and approaches.
c. Outcomes from the interactive sessions were always greater than I expected. Success from the members that were in the audience was abundant and told of an underlying passion to understand and “learn the why” behind the change they needed to see. Clearly, members who engage and utilize the advice shared realize a health improvement. Decreasing stressors in their life naturally flowed into a more productive workday, which also indirectly leads to a cost savings for the company. Behavior changes were noticed almost immediately as members who were quick to follow the tips saw their mood improve and overall demeanor improve at home and at work. This behavior change does, in fact, start a culture change within a company. As employees decrease their preventable stress they have a more enjoyable time at work and in their daily life. This points to a more productive workday and more cost savings for the company. It ultimately ends a win/win for the employee and company.
d. Developing a relationship with the Leadership of a company is vital to the success of a wellness program. By creating the “buy in” from the executive team, employees realize that the company has a vested interest in the health and well-being. Collecting and presenting data to a leadership team is crucial in terms of developing a wellness program. Specifically, being able to quantify cost savings through the addition of a wellness program helps to create a sense of urgency and desire that is typically not present when added program costs are discussed. In my position at BCBST we have the ability to create a custom three year wellness operating plan that details costs, implementation schedules, and possible outcomes. This plan has been well received by wellness committees and leaders of organizations due to the fact that actual numbers can show the positive relationship between wellness plans and lower overall operational costs.
I believe that as wellness professionals, we should practice what we preach. I do this by eating well and working out between 3 and 4 days each week. I incorporate weight lifting as my primary type of exercise, and I believe that everyone should lift weights. I believe that my experiences from my vastly different educational background, my experience as a strength coach, and my experience presenting on a wide variety of topics has helped to elevate my status as a leader in my field. By coming from such a diverse background I find myself constantly looking at new research and information to grow my ability to present and provide accurate and useful information to my audiences.
My advice to other wellness professionals in my field is to embrace each other. Too often we try to discredit others in hopes of building ourselves up when in reality we all have the same goal, to help the members that we serve. We all come from different backgrounds and we should support new ideas and strategies that might be foreign to you.
We tend to learn more from seeing rather than hearing. I try to demonstrate what I talk about on a daily basis to show others what they need to do to become healthier in the workplace. I give real world examples when I communicate with employees of other organizations and I describe some of the battles that I have fought to show them that I am just like they are and they can improve their lives. I encourage people to work with me during seminars and presentations, I get them to actively engage by answering questions, practicing techniques, or even just standing up while I am talking. As the employees practice more these healthy activities become easier and easier for them to perform on a daily basis.
In the next five years we have a great opportunity to help a lot of people. As more companies realize the benefits of adding a wellness program we should see our opportunities to engage members increase. We must be able to reach out to them in a positive and uplifting manner in order to achieve optimistic change in their life. We must be willing and able to share resources and strategies with each other for continued success. As our potential member population increases we must be careful to not spread ourselves too thin and ultimately provide lower quality help and diminish our product.
I plan to continue with my education and look to improve my writing and speaking abilities. I enjoy connecting with members and employees and helping them improve their life. I want to be able to do that in a clear and concise way so that they can continue to receive top notch information that will help them immediately.