If you chat with Lisa Driver, director of account management at BlueCross, you’ll hear an inspiring refrain about “meeting people where they are.” It’s her way of stressing the importance of serving a diverse population with a team of professionals that knows where members are coming from and looks out for their best interests.
For nearly 35 years at BlueCross, Lisa’s done exactly that.
In 1983, the Memphis native started out as a temp in the mail room of what was then BlueCross of Memphis. After six months, she applied for and accepted a position in the claims department. Lisa went on to gain experience in several different parts of the company, including customer service, benefits coordination, legal, enrollment and marketing, before joining the account management team.
“When you are in management, trust is a key element to success. No matter what area of the company you are in, employees must trust leadership,” Lisa says. “My approach is and has always been to treat people how you would like to be treated, and always have an open-door policy.”
On any given day, Lisa can play the role of a negotiator or a firefighter. As a director, she works behind the scenes to assist account managers in negotiating renewals as well as assisting with claim resolutions and pharmacy issues. A firm believer in the “before people will buy from you, they have to buy into you” philosophy, she finds it’s not uncommon for her to-do list to immediately go out the window if a broker, customer or member needs her help.
Diversity is key
“When you think about servicing 3.4 million members, we have to model diversity,” Lisa says. “Especially from an insurance perspective, because insurance isn’t easy. We have to ensure that when we’re speaking with a member who may work in a warehouse and have a 10th grade education, we’re meeting them where they are. That means understanding their background, maybe having gone through similar experiences, and helping them grasp difficult concepts in any way we can.”
Lisa also stresses that in addition to the necessity of finding common ground, it’s important to be able to embrace the differences we see. That combination is the only way an organization can truly innovate.
“Diversity is a journey,” Lisa says, “and when you think about that journey, it never ends.”
A natural communicator and educator
As the youngest of 10 siblings, Lisa learned early on the necessity of speaking up to make her voice heard, as well as the value of being compelling and concise when need be.
“Communication is key,” Lisa says. “And what we do every day is communicate with our members to ensure they have the best experience possible. To do that, you have to be a person who’s compassionate, a person who understands empathy.”
Becoming a better, more diversity-conscious communicator takes nurturing – and Lisa knows the value of education born of events and experiences. That’s why Henry Smith, senior vice president of operations and chief marketing officer, chose her to be heavily involved with the inaugural Diversity Memphis Bus Tour, part of the April 2017 Workforce Diversity Summit co-sponsored by BlueCross.
The event aimed to equip leaders with the tools and tactics to recruit, engage and retain a diverse workforce. As event chair, Lisa helped organize a tour of Memphis landmarks – an experience designed to unite and educate participants. Stops on the tour included:
- the National Civil Rights Museum
- the Masjid Al-Mu’minun mosque
- the Temple Israel synagogue
- LeMoyne-Owen College
Lisa hopes to lead the bus tour once again in 2018. “Next year will be the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination,” Lisa says. “There’s going to be a lot of activity during that particular time, and I look forward to being involved in whatever capacity I’m able.”
“We are so heavily involved in the community that I feel like I wear a volunteer shirt every day.”
In July, Lisa joined the board of directors for Leadership Memphis. The program recruits executives from all over the city who meet once a month to network, make connections with others who have a passion to serve and discuss opportunities to become more involved with communities.
The initiative’s objectives resonate strongly with Lisa, the only African-American in the history of BlueCross to hold her current position.
“Oftentimes when I go into a room full of colleagues or peers, there aren’t a lot of people in the room who look like me,” she says. “But when you start bouncing things off of each other and hearing different perspectives, you’ll find a lot of common ground.”
She adds, “You think you know your city, but until you get involved with a group like Leadership Memphis, you don’t know it as well as you think you do.”
“I love that after all these years, I’m still learning new things and meeting new people.”
Finding the balance
When not supporting the needs of customers or engaging with the community, Lisa enjoys spending time with her husband, Titus, and attending Memphis Grizzlies games for their date nights. Their daughter, Alexandria, is a biology major who just started her senior year at UT Martin. They also have a 6-year-old Shih Tzu, Socks. (“That’s our baby,” Lisa says with a laugh.)
In May, the couple celebrated 15 years of marriage by renewing their vows in Jamaica. They share a love of travel, and are always looking forward to their next adventure together.
“We’ve been to Rome, we’ve been to Denver, we’ll take a quick trip to Nashville … we love to just get in the car and drive sometimes,” Lisa says. “Socks has to stay behind with his personal babysitter.”
No place like home
But after the wheels have touched down, the jet lag’s worn off, and the scenic vistas live on as selfies shared with friends and family, Lisa is always happy to be a part of Memphis.
“I’m proud to be in this office, on this team and serving these customers,” she says. “BlueCross has always been a family, and after 34 years, it’s still that way. What I do every day is something that I love. When you love what you do, it’s not a job, it’s a joy.”