A decade ago, Brian Oney began his career at BlueCross on the phones as part of our customer service team.
At the time, he had no experience in health insurance. But what started as “just a job” eventually became long-term employment with a company he hopes to remain a part of until his retirement.
Brian’s held several roles on the customer service team, including technical team expert (TTE) and supervisor positions. In 2019, he shifted to his current role: manager of member outreach & retention for senior care.
“I loved everything BlueCross offered from day one, but my promotion to team lead in 2013 was a point where it began to feel different,” Brian says. “There was a new sense of investment. I had been in leadership roles before coming here — and honestly had become burnt out with them — so I had to give a lot of thought before going back down that road. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I ever made.”
“I work with a talented and passionate group of people who come to work every day and look for ways to make a meaningful impact for those we serve.”
Expanding his network
During his time at BlueCross, Brian has participated in classes offered to employees to develop skills like business etiquette and advanced coaching. Though these courses are virtual, they provide opportunities for employees to build relationships.
“I’m a pretty outgoing person, but at a certain point in work life, it gets easy to silo yourself and stick with what you know,” Brian says. “The courses do a great job showing you the interconnectedness of everything we do and how necessary we all are in meeting those high standards we’ve set as a health care partner.”
“So, these courses open you up to new ideas but also new people. That level of networking makes us so much stronger because now both parties can increase our ability to collaborate on behalf of our members.”
From networking to corporate mentoring
Earlier this year, Brian joined the Corporate Mentoring Program, a formal initiative seeking to develop future leadership and introduce managers to BlueCross executives and other divisions of the company.
Within the warm and welcoming environment, Brian quickly clicked with his mentor, Advanced Analytics Director Maureen Lowe.
“Maureen and I are in very different roles, but it’s clear in working with her that good leadership is universal, no matter what you do on a day-to-day basis,” Brian says.
“One thing all my mentors have had in common is they’ve always created a space for conversation and growth. I learn so much more when I’m an active part of a discussion as opposed to having facts dictated at me.”
Brian believes a good mentor should be a sounding board and guiding force at the same time. In his experience talking to people who aren’t happy with their job, it often comes down to lack of fulfillment. Brian’s had the great fortune of being mentored by individuals who’ve helped him find purpose and provided insights on reaching his goals.
“I’ve always been appreciative of how open, accessible and transparent our senior leadership has been,” he says. “Their taking the time to answer any questions I threw at them was indicative of that fact. Time is such a valuable commodity, and our leaders give it willingly to ensure not only the success of a program like Corporate Mentoring, but of those participating.”
Fostering a supportive environment
As Brian’s career has grown at BlueCross, he’s regarded his managers as mentors and inspirational leaders.
His first manager in operations, Karen Walters, continues to take an active interest in his development and encourages him to go beyond. (“I still go to her for advice and am so grateful for all the opportunities she provided me,” Brian says.) When he entered member outreach & retention, he began reporting to Destiny Griffin, director of Medicare Advantage member experience and engagement.
“Destiny is the kind of leader who encourages everyone around her to be better,” Brian says. “Her influence has been instrumental in my journey.”
Brian’s also grateful for the tuition reimbursement program at BlueCross. This fall, he’ll start pursuing a master’s in business management.
“I’m returning to school for the first time in over 15 years,” he says. “It’s great to know I work for a company that values growth and development and puts their money where their mouth is.”
As he prepares for his future with continued support from BlueCross, Brian can’t help but reflect on how things all began 10 years ago.
“If I could talk to that version of myself, I would tell him the same thing I tell anyone starting out: Trust your instincts but be open to good advice from those who care about you and your development,” he says. “Also, be willing to ask questions and admit you don’t know everything. It’s humbling sometimes, and not at all comfortable in the moment, but it’s one of the best ways to grow and learn.”