Celebrating our employees
Blue Cross is proud of the contributions of our employees and community partners and each year takes time to celebrate our collective impact through our Excellence in Service Awards. We’re honored to recognize these employees who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to service both internally and externally in 2022 and embody our core values of inclusion, compassion, sustainability and leadership.
Our Excellence in Service Award Winner
Michelle: Giving back has always been really a way of life growing up. My mom especially, she always noticed people and I think because of that I've always had an awareness of just people in general and maybe the needs they might have. This past year I supported Weymouth Food Pantry, South Shore Elder Services, Love For Our Elders, Lasagna Love, and Kenya Kids In Need.
Pam: Michelle is an amazing human. She doesn't have an off switch. Michelle has been a volunteer at the Weymouth Food Pantry for a number of years. We call her a pantry hero. She never stops thinking about some of the challenges we face and how she can help us find solutions.
Michelle: I get joy out of giving back to other people. I like to solve problems, so when I see a need, I like to try to figure out how I can fulfill that need.
deMarigny: Michelle has made service her passion and really has brought along the Medicare member service team along these journeys with her over the years and really made our team feel a part of the work that she's doing and I think has encouraged our associates to want to give back.
Michelle: Being part of Medicare, people in the community who are older are very near and dear to our hearts. Within the community we've partnered with South Shore Elder Services where we've done a holiday drive as well as written letters to Love For Our Elders.
deMarigny: The service projects that Michelle helped organize for the Medicare team allowed us to connect with seniors in our local communities and really gave our associates the opportunity to get to know the population that they service.
Michelle: So I started my mission trips in 2010, started with Haiti first, and then from there it led me to go to Kenya, which I absolutely fell in love with.
Lucy: We first met Michelle 2014 when she came with a group to do medical camps, and she's been doing this since then.
Ezekiel: Africa is not like America and she's been there coming again and again seeing these problems and doing something about it.
Michelle: I think what we have here we take for granted and going to a country like Kenya. We are basic needs are so vital I really learned that we, like all of us, have so much to share.
Ezekiel: Michelle has helped by running her friends to give towards this needs, and we are very, very grateful for that. Their support has positively impacted the lives of people in our community back in Kenya.
Michelle: There isn't anyone that has gone to Kenya that the people there have not changed their heart in some way. They're beautiful, they're grateful, joyful, so thankful.
Christina: Michelle has been a servant leader who looks to meet the needs of others wherever possible by volunteering on efforts that make lasting impact on the organization. Michelle's effort to meet people where they are is appreciated. Her time, compassion, commitment to service and improving quality of life for others is amazing.
Michelle: Being someone who has benefited from other people's compassion in the way that it's changed my life, I think that's what really inspires me. I want to show my kids how to notice people, how to be there for one another and how to love others. I just recently heard last week that to show love and kindness in a world that can sometimes be so cruel, shows courage and I want to be courageous.
The Global Giver and Local Leader
Michelle is a problem solver who is described by her community partners as “not having an off switch.” She has committed herself to helping both communities near and far. She’s been on five mission trips to Kenya, helping with medical camps and sanitation clinics to ensure the health and safety of local residents. Back home in Weymouth, she continues her support by serving as a board member of Kenya’s Kids in Need and rallying her friends and colleagues to contribute to monthly monetary and in-kind donations of food, clothes, and books benefitting the local children’s home. Michelle’s passion for the people of Kenya is contagious and has inspired her colleagues within Blue Cross’ Medicare department to give back not only to the cause in Africa but to support our local communities and the seniors that they serve here in Massachusetts.
As a manager of our Medicare service team, Michelle has organized service projects for her team that connect to their work to support seniors - such as writing kind notes to isolated seniors with Love for the Elderly and donating holiday gifts for homebound seniors served by the South Shore Elder Services.
Michelle’s leadership and commitment to serving others doesn’t stop there. She champions service within the company and leads a Service Day project as a member of the company’s BlueCrew Leadership Council, cooks meals for local families with Lasagna Love, shows love and compassion for families affected by the suicide of a loved one by making blankets with Annie’s Kindness Blankets, and harvests fresh nutritious produce for those experiencing food insecurity as a volunteer lead every Saturday at the Weymouth Food Pantry’s community gardens. As someone who has received kindness and support, Michelle say’s her hope is that her small acts of service will in turn have a positive impact on others.
Volunteer of the Year Award
The Skill Sharers
While “Data Scientist” is not a typical title found at a small nonprofit, capturing and understanding data is critical to inform approaches and demonstrate impact to funders and stakeholders. Through our skills-based volunteer program, Mitchell has used his data skills to help six nonprofits develop systems that allows them to better organize, utilize and secure their participant data. In 2022, he volunteered more than 30 hours to help Legendary Legacies identify a new data platform to track success measures and About Fresh to improve their data security.
A trained hair stylist, Annie sharpened her scissors to donate over 100 hours’ worth of haircuts to various charities and individuals in 2022. Annie supported one-day volunteer initiatives like the Buzz Off for Cancer head shaving event to raise funds to fight pediatric cancer, and the Massachusetts Military Support Foundation’s All Veterans ‘Stand Down’ event on Veteran’s Day to thank those who have served our country with a free trim and a smile. She regularly provides services to both patients at Boston Children’s Hospital and nursing home residents.
Health Justice Award
The Environmental Justice Advocates
Every community deserves to have safe, inviting green spaces that are accessible to all – and Jakia Glover and Derek Hayes wanted to make sure this was true for their Dorchester neighborhood park – Erie Green. In 2022, Derek and Jakia were instrumental in advocating for the park to receive equitable resources and attention from both Blue Cross and The Trustees. In addition to leading several park cleanup projects, they also served on the planning group to secure a Little Free Library for the park and helped plan an Earth Day celebration at a local school
The Community Builders
The Steady Service Leaders
As the leader of his department’s “People Team”, John Kelley, helps organize volunteer and wellness events to foster an environment that is “more than just a place to work.” He has been a consistent team leader on our annual company-wide day of service and has spearheaded engagement of his team and others. In November, John led a donation drive for Boston Healthcare for the Homeless that collected 760 hats and 210 pairs of gloves for community members experiencing homelessness. As John says, “I’ve witnessed the ravages of mental health issues, addiction, disease, and homelessness and their corresponding impacts on my community. Solutions are oftentimes overwhelming to consider, but our work at Blue Cross towards a healthier, more equitable, and just community, gives me hope.”
Pam O’Brien is committed to supporting organizations in her community and inspiring others to join her. As a longtime member of the BlueCrew Leadership Council, helping lead our project with Project Just Because (PJB), she’s expanded her involvement far beyond the one day. In addition to enlisting the support of family and friends to help move inventory during PJB’s transition to their new warehouse, Pam’s raised her hand to help recruit volunteers as the leader of five of their Saturday food distributions and done outreach to neighboring business to solicit their volunteer support as well. She’s also involved with the St. Mary’s Church in Franklin, volunteering at their monthly food distributions and participating in home visits to clients as needed. She is fulfilled by helping others and often tells those she serves that they are a blessing her life, because she is able to help them.
Carrie MacLean is known within her division as the go-to person for volunteering. As a true service champion, not only does she dedicate countless hours on her own to support Carepacks, Weymouth Food Panty, Old South Church, Interfaith Social Services, American Red Cross, and the Pond Plain Improvement Association in Weymouth, but she also finds ways to connect Blue Cross to these organizations. Through her introduction, volunteers supported Carepacks during our annual Service Day helping ensure that soldiers have basic necessities and personal care items. She also helped establish an ongoing volunteer relationship with Interfaith Social Services, where colleagues from her Health and Medical Management division volunteer monthly to support the local food bank.
Advocate & Ally Award
The Culture Champions
Tracy is the outgoing president of the company’s AZULatinx employee resource group and is a champion and advocate for our Spanish-speaking members and community. In her leadership role, she’s engaged AZULatinx members with impactful programming via monthly meetings and guest speakers as well as events during Hispanic Heritage Month. She piloted a program with the bilingual member and provider service call center team called Caminos AZUL that provided quarterly one-on-one support and career guidance to associates who support our Spanish-speaking members. Tracy is also a trustee of the Weymouth Library, helping the library adopt policies and plans, create board by-laws and procedures and provide budget support.
As a long-time leader in our Women’s Inclusion Network, Sonia continuously shares resources, offers a helping hand, and provides opportunities to support women at Blue Cross and in our communities. She hosts a quarterly book club and collaborates with other ERGs throughout the year to plan topical book conversations for their affinity months. She’s also worked closely with the Corporate Citizenship team to coordinate volunteer events for WIN members that support women’s health and wellbeing, such as providing new mothers with care packages and blankets with the Dimock Center, creating female hygiene product kits for women experiencing homelessness with Dignity Matters, and organizing a clothing drive for Interfaith Social Services. In addition to her leadership within our employee resource groups, Sonia supports the company’s recruitment and engagement work as a member of our Talent Ambassador team, champions and leads volunteer projects as a member of our BlueCrew Leadership Council and is an active member of her school’s Parent Teacher Organization.
Health and Wellness Award
The Giving Gardeners
Chris and Dawna are active members of the Blue Cross company garden program and are committed to using the harvest for good. As skilled gardeners, they both regularly go above and beyond to care for the communal plots at the office gardens, helping ensure the crops are healthy and thriving, and sharing their knowledge and tips with others. In addition to sharing the produce from the gardens with friends and family, Chris and Dawna’s hard work also produces hundreds of pounds of fresh, organic vegetables that the company donates to the Weymouth Food Pantry and Interfaith Social Services to support those experiencing food insecurity.
Excellence in service Nominees
This year, 56 employees were nominated for our Excellence in Service Award for their significant commitment to community service, diversity, equity and inclusion, and climate and health resilience. We’re honored to celebrate their accomplishments and contributions to support our members, employees, and community.