Community Service is a Way of Life for the Blue Cross IT Team
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s mission is to enhance the qualities of life for both members and employees, and community outreach is a cornerstone of this mission. Initiatives, like the Building Healthy Communities program, have helped more than 180,000 students eat healthier and become more active. In carrying out this mission, the organization leaves the world a bit brighter than it was found, promoting employee empowerment with each opportunity.
Prabs Chandrasekaran, Senior Manager, IT Digital Experience, explains how Blue Cross’ commitment to community serves a larger purpose and aligns with his personal causes outside the office. “Our community responsibility is built around encouraging healthy and active lifestyles for the communities we serve,” says Chandrasekaran. “By giving back, we support diverse communities all while improving access to health care.”
Supporting Bowl for Kids’ Sake, Big Brothers Big Sisters’ signature nationwide fundraiser, is one way Blue Cross upholds its mission for community service. This event unites bowlers and non-bowlers alike for a common purpose: to raise funds and awareness for the ongoing support of Big Brothers Big Sisters, its children and volunteers. In Southeast Michigan alone, nearly 400 bowlers raised $75,000 of the $90,000 donated statewide.
“This year’s Bowl for Kids’ Sake was a tremendous one, as it marked our millionth dollar donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters,” says Chandrasekaran. “The IT group was proud to be one of the biggest event contributors this year, and, as an added bonus, Senior Vice President and CIO Bill Fandrich served as co-champion for Blue Cross along with leaders from Blue Care Network and the UAW.”
Active in a variety of civic groups, IT Business Analyst, IT Processes and Corporate Project Services, Brianna Vanleer shares that 2018 was the third year she laced up her shoes and gave it a go. “I’m a big cheerleader for volunteering,” says Vanleer. “After coordinating volunteer opportunities for my team with organizations like the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, Gleaners Food Bank and Cass Community Services, I had the pleasure of being nominated by my director to represent Laura Marble and the Health Plan Business segment of IT.”
Many Blue Cross executives, including Fandrich, participated in Bowl for Kids’ Sake this year. “He has been a constant supporter of these types of events, always encouraging us to come from behind the computer and participate,” says Vanleer. “It means a lot that he’s such a proponent of community engagement and diversity and inclusion initiatives and that he promotes balance by holding our leadership accountable for leading by example.”
Chandrasekaran echoes Vanleer’s sentiments. “Bill is an inspirational leader. Because of his desire to take outreach to the next level, we’ve been part of several successful events such as ARISE Detroit Neighborhood Day and Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP).”
Chandrasekaran and Vanleer agree on the importance and value of Blue Cross employees’ community outreach. “Strong commitment has always made our employee outreach so successful, because we are passionate about making a difference and promoting strong values,” says Chandrasekaran. “Employees also feel empowered and have a higher morale when engaged with the community and the members they serve.”
Vanleer motivates her team to engage as a way of being the change they want to see. “My ‘go-to’ when encouraging my immediate team to serve is by making it personal for them,” says Vanleer. “I appeal to them in whatever way I can to grow their desire to donate, contribute and make a difference.”
We are proud of our employees’ commitment to seeing this mission carried out through active community participation both in- and out-of-the-office. To learn more, visit these blogs:
- Giving Back: How a Partnership Between Blue Cross and CMU Creates Connections
- Blue Cross Volunteers Help Beautify Community with ARISE Detroit
- Volunteer Your Way to a Healthier, Happier You
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