Lisa Wright’s day typically begins at 5 a.m. at her home just outside of Nashville, when the principal consultant of community programs at BlueCross gets up to let out her Australian shepherd, Max. It continues as she represents the interests of our senior population through her involvement with the Medicare Advantage program. After she clocks out, she joins her husband, Dean, a “truck farmer” who grows for the local farmers market, in their garden to help with the harvest. And then whenever possible, she eats dinner with Dean’s parents at the assisted living facility where they both reside.
“My day is not just about working at BlueCross, it’s about service,” Lisa says. “Whether that’s service for our members or for my family, it runs the gamut. I color with all of the crayons in the box.”
A foundation of community service
Lisa’s career is built on a bedrock of helping others. Coming from a Dayton, Ohio-based family of law enforcement and emergency response, she dreamed of becoming a police officer but instead trained to become an EMT and a dispatcher. Dispatching helped Lisa recognize her abilities to talk someone through a stressful situation and to prioritize when there’s a palpable sense of urgency.
“I’m thrown a lot of things in my current role, and they’re all important and urgent to a degree, but I’ve yet to be assigned a task where a life is on the line, which was my reality for several years,” she says. “As a dispatcher, I learned that everything must happen in its time.”
Lisa came to BlueCross in an entry-level clerical position in 1993. She remained on the commercial group side of the business until 2005, just ahead of Medicare Part D, which introduced the prescription drug benefit through government subsidizing, going into effect in 2006.
She recognized that this was where she was needed – and Medicare members were the population she could best serve – through personal experience. True to her character, she interpreted her own selflessness as selfishness.
“Whenever a friend or loved one hears that you work for BlueCross, you get asked a lot of questions, and I knew that would only increase once Part D came out,” she says. “Selfishly, I moved to the Medicare side because I wanted to help my family make decisions about their care. I knew there would be a lot of people relying on me.”
Seeing the Advantage
In her current role, she is part of a team that travels throughout the state to educate members about Medicare Advantage plans, which provide members additional benefits such as dental, vision, hearing and a care management team. When working with these members, Lisa’s team finds that many they’ve just met will trust them completely and ask questions they would never ask their adult children.
“These are individuals who may not understand all of the options in front of them, and many would not want to ask their son or daughter for advice,” she says.
Building that trust has been one of the cornerstones of her team’s embrace of community meetings and now, Facebook Live events. Lisa hosts monthly, online live discussions that allow members to engage with her directly and learn more about the program. To participate, those interested can simply:
- log on to Facebook
- follow BCBST-Medicare
- view the livestream
- submit their questions
Members who can’t watch the actual livestream can access the videos on Facebook and ask questions in the comments section that will be addressed by a BlueCross Medicare Advantage team member.
The team’s flirtation with Facebook Live began in fall 2016 after a trend was noticed among the population. Members wanted to be treated like BlueCross was coming to their homes and sitting with them at their kitchen tables, yet still have a degree of privacy.
“When it comes to Medicare, there’s a hunger for accurate information from a trustworthy source, but some folks just want to go online and read about the specifics,” Lisa says. “We’ve found that many people in this population like to call and ask a final, lingering question, whatever it may be, before they enroll.
“We always meet our members where they are, and we have a big area to cover – 95 counties total,” she adds.
“Facebook Live is one more way to hear the customer’s voice, instead of just making assumptions about what customers want.”
The Medicare open enrollment period for Tennessee begins Oct. 15. Facebook Live events are promoted at least a week ahead of time on the BCBST-Medicare Facebook page.
A champion for champions
In addition to engaging the senior population through face-to-face meetings with groups at churches, senior centers, employer groups and the Facebook Live events, Lisa has been an advocate for the Tennessee Senior Olympics for nearly a decade. She serves on the board and coordinates volunteers and field events on behalf of BlueCross, a sponsor of the games since 1981.
“It’s a great partnership because at BlueCross we want to support our members in their efforts to lead an active lifestyle,” Lisa says.
“We provide services that keep them active and enjoying life, such as care managers who want to help them get back on their feet. These Olympians are amazing; you’d guess so many of them to be 65, and they’ll proudly tell you that they’re 85.”
Lisa’s contributions to the mission of the games – to promote healthy lifestyles for seniors through sports and fitness – have made an indelible impact.
“Lisa has put her heart and soul into our mission,” says Christine Dewbre, executive director, Tennessee Senior Olympics, Inc. “She is truly and genuinely passionate about what we do. She has served countless hours running events during our state finals, recruited fellow BlueCross employees to volunteer and coordinated the entire effort, has served on our board of directors for years, including in the role of chairperson, and has supported wholeheartedly our partnership with BlueCross.”
This past summer, Lisa emceed the Tennessee Senior Olympics Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Franklin, but found herself unable to finish one portion of her presentation.
“I was overwhelmed by emotion from seeing so many Olympians and how much this recognition of their achievements meant to them,” she recalls, her eyes welling with tears.
“Robert Jones, who is 103, was there to be honored. His son drove him from Memphis. He’s my buddy, and when he attended the games two years ago, I thought that would be the last time I saw him. Seeing him before the event, I got my cry out and thought I was good. But then I couldn’t even present to him.”
This moment of humility shows that Lisa has found a career that enriches her genuine connection to seniors and lets her truly be herself.“Serving this population is my dynamic, my niche,” she says. “It’s where I belong.”