Excellence in service awards
Blue Cross is proud of the contributions of our associates 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 associates who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to service both internally and externally in 2020 and embody our core values of inclusion, compassion, sustainability and leadership.
Excellence in service
Keishalee Shaw, Business Information Architect
Keishalee creates change by using her quiet strength to make a loud impact. She is committed to creating opportunities for the next generation – exemplified by her involvement as a parent leader and member of the Board of Ambassadors with Brooke Charter School, as well as her volunteer efforts with various youth-serving nonprofits such as Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center and Brookline Steps to Success. Within Blue Cross, Keishalee is a true Diversity, Equity & Inclusion champion. She’s volunteered to lead the Black Professionals Network employee resource group through these turbulent times, consistently creating safe spaces for hundreds of colleagues to engage in difficult dialogues about race and also serves on the company’s Racial Health Equity team and leads the Culture Ambassador group within her Enterprise Technology team.
Learn more about Keishalee’s impact
On behalf of the Corporate Citizenship team I'm thrilled that Keishalee has been recognized with the Excellence in Service award. Whether by connecting colleagues to volunteer opportunities through her role with the Black Professionals Network or stepping up herself to serve whenever she is asked, Keishalee embodies the values of leading and serving in the community.
-My mom has always been a motivation and inspiration to me and it's because of her I've loved being involved in my community. The aspiration I work towards is to continue to drive value to the idea of excellence in all that I do and to welcome diversity of thought and commitment to positive change within my community.
- 2020 was a hard year for many of our black colleagues around the company but Keishalee in her leadership role with the Black Professionals Network was able to rise above her own challenges and think about how do I help my peers and my colleagues and the company to manage through what was happening around racial injustice in the community.
- Keishalee is the creative brainchild behind BPN. The most significant achievement that I can point out is how we structured an important conversation last year around covid-19 and health disparities and then soon thereafter conversations around racial injustice and talking about George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
- I became involved in the Brooke Charter School because my daughters attended Brooke and I wanted to get to know the community as a whole not just the teachers. I think their motto to engage together, to grow together, achieve together, speaks volumes when it comes to learning and being involved in your community.
- What stands apart with Keishalee is that the way she's involved just aren't solely around ways that she can support and be involved with her kids and her kid’s teachers. She is always constantly looking for ways that she can support the broader community. She is constantly helping our kids get in touch with people from the community who are leaders and role models and kind of helping open doors and make connections for our kids.
- She's always there to help others and she wants them to achieve their dreams so she will be a big champion in her encouragement and her words and just being there to support others through her perspective she inspires all of us to grow and push ourselves forward.
-Last year was a special year as we all know but despite that I was able to volunteer virtually for a number of organizations. I worked with Steps to Success whose mission is to promote equity for students from low-income families. I also had the chance to continue my volunteer work with Thompson Island outward bound project.
- She's constantly thinking of others first and she continuously goes above and beyond to serve our communities, she steps up to the plate whenever called upon.
-So one of the things my husband and I try to do is to create and maintain a culture that is innovative and fun for our kids and volunteering is a great way to do that.
- Congratulations Keishalee on a job well done, I thoroughly enjoy working with you, I can't think of someone else more deserving, congrats.
- Congratulations Keishalee, you're our game changer of the year, congratulations my friend I am so proud of you.
- Congratulations Keishalee, we're proud to be associated with you, I can't think of anybody who's more deserving of this award than our community of supporters so wish you all the best and congratulations.
- Congratulations Keishalee, you are so deserving of this award, I want you to know that you have been the wings beneath the Diversity Equity and Inclusion team throughout 2020.
- Congratulations Keishalee, on behalf of the company thank you for your commitment to creating opportunities for the next generation, for being such an incredible asset to the Blue Cross community.
- Congratulations mom, we love you!
Volunteer of the Year
The Hopeful Healer
As an adoptive parent and mother of four, Elizabeth is a true advocate for children and families, especially during difficult times. Motivated by her own experiences, Elizabeth helps others to grieve and heal by running a support group for pregnancy, infant, and child loss through the Hope Floats Healing and Wellness Center in Kingston. Each year, she partners with other mothers who have lost children for the Angels Holiday Donation Drive, fulfilling the wish lists of more than 1,500 children served by the Department of Children and Families. In 2020, she played a leadership role in Blue Cross’ most successful holiday drive yet, engaging her colleagues to donate gifts and personally collecting and distributing presents for more than a 100 children served by the Wonderfund.
The Wellness Warrior
Jeff embodies sustainability and environmental health by engaging in daily actions that have a positive impact on both his own wellbeing, but also the health of his family, his community, and our planet. He is an avid outdoors enthusiast and follows a plant-based diet, harvesting a good majority of his own produce in his family’s extensive garden. He recycles and composts nearly all his trash, uses reusable glass containers, and purchases natural cleaning products. At Blue Cross, Jeff shares his passion for the environment to inform fellow associates and improve our company operations by serving as an active member of our Green Teams, participating in our company garden program, and assisting with the weekly distribution and delivery of the corporate Community Supported Agricultural (CSA) Program. Jeff also gives back to his South Shore community. He serves on the Scituate Shellfish Advisory Board and is currently pursuing the establishment of seaweed farming in the Boston Harbor as a food source and fertilizer.
Health Advocate Award
Culture and Community Champions
Jude uses language as a powerful tool for connection with the community. As part of the Care Concierge team, she often uses her fluency in English, Haitian-Creole and Spanish to provide translation services for colleagues and customers. She serves on our Health and Medical Management’s Cultural Engagement Group and actively shares her insights on health inequities based on need to help the team better support the nurses who provide care for members from various backgrounds. Outside of Blue Cross, she is a regular volunteer with the Boston Missionary Baptist Food Pantry and has connected her colleagues to give back to this organization as well. This year she managed all of this while helping her three sons with their virtual schoolwork.
As a Latina in healthcare and student of public health, Marisa is dedicated to the health and prosperity of the Latinx community. She has provided translation services for Kids In Need of Defense to support children going through immigration procedures, mentored young people through Playworks New England, and volunteers regularly with Ozzie’s Kids in Cambridge. She also serves on various nonprofit advisory and fundraising committees, including the Greater Lawrence Health Center and Cambridge Public Health.
Covid-19 Response Award
The Mighty Mask Makers
When COVID-19 hit in early March, Maryelizabeth promptly created Mission Masks with the objective of keeping her local community of Taunton safe. Purchasing the materials on her own, Maryelizabeth has spent countless hours designing and sewing almost 9,000 masks which have been donated to local residents who either couldn’t find masks during the early days of the pandemic or to those who could not afford them. She’s passed along any donations she received directly to support The Matthew Mission, a local shelter providing care for the homeless during the pandemic. To support other nonprofits impacted by the pandemic, Maryelizabeth has also started selling matching lanyards to go with the masks, that she then donates all of the proceeds to a rotating local charity of the month including Cancer Care Cabbies, Citizens for Citizens, Inc. and Taunton Operation Christmas. In December alone, she was able to raise $3,500.00 to help provide holiday gifts for families in need.
After seeing the devasting effect of COVID-19 and the desperate need for masks, Cori immediately pulled her sewing machine out of retirement to help provide homemade face coverings for friends and family. What started out as a small way to help grew into a tally of over 5,100 masks distributed broadly to friends, family, co-workers, veteran's homes, local restaurants, and healthcare workers. Sewing round the clock, Cori has provided masks to many of our Blue Cross nonprofit partners including the Weymouth Food Pantry, Magical Moon Foundation, Father Bill’s & MainSpring, Pine Street Inn, Boys & Girls Club of Lowell and Birthday Wishes. She’s also shared her talents with her Blue Cross colleagues, helping lead virtual mask making service projects so others can also donate to those in need in their own communities.
Covid-19 Response Award
The Anti-Hunger Heroes
Thanks to Kevin’s leadership managing Blue Cross’ Community and Associate Meal Program, more than 150,000 nutritious meals were distributed to individuals and families in need in 2020. Under this thoughtful guidance the company was able to launch the pilot meal program to respond to the rising rate of food insecurity across the state. He overcame challenges to plan and procure desirable meals within budget, maximize output with a reduced staff, and implement safe, sanitary and socially-distant procedures for food preparation and distribution. His 110% commitment has ensured that as many people as possible are receiving fresh, delicious and nutritious food during a very difficult time. A true champion for both community and our colleagues, he has also been integral in our employee CSA program and ensuring that the food served in our cafeterias is safe and sustainable.
Inspired by a Blue Cross Service Week presentation on food insecurity, Michelle created Metrowest Meal Bags to provide nutritious, homemade, meals to local families and individuals in need. What started relatively small as meals of gratitude for teachers and healthcare workers, quickly grew to Michelle supporting her local Natick food pantry and families in quarantine with hearty healthy meals - particularly for those with food allergies and sensitivities. Every week since October she has made meals for 10 - 20 people that are customizable based on their dietary restrictions. Her goal is to share a home cooked meal with people who could use a little extra support, be it financially, physically or mentally.
Over the past year, Kim has volunteered her time to help those affected by COVID-19. Always eager to help others and support her community, Kim volunteers regularly at the Holbrook Food Pantry in Brockton, often bringing her son and niece to help with their weekly food distributions. She also engages her family to help decorate meal bags with cheerful drawing and words of encouragement that are used by Support the Soupman to distribute food to homeless men and women. Kim is looked at as a role model and mentor to many on her team who view her generous spirit as an inspiration.
Head to the Weymouth Food Pantry on a Saturday morning, and you’ll see Kathy Sprague. For over four years, Kathy has helped to feed between 100-130 families each weekend through the pantry’s food distribution. When COVID-19 hit, Kathy reached out to our Corporate Citizenship Team to raise awareness of the need in her community and how the Weymouth Food Pantry was providing critical support. As a result of her connection, more than 30 Blue Cross employees have volunteered to support the pantry’s community garden and food distribution and the company has partnered with the organization as part of its pilot Community Meal Program, which distributes more than 400 fresh meals each month prepared by Blue Cross’ dining services team. In addition to Kathy’s support of the Weymouth Food Pantry she has also been a long-term leader in the company’s annual day of Service leading multiple projects to support the Germantown Neighborhood Center in Quincy.