With more than 6,000 employees working for BlueCross, it’s common for members of the same family to call the company home.What’s less common is for one family to have a history at BlueCross that stretches back nearly 40 years.
The Millers – mother Lorraine, father Kenneth and daughter Kenisha – are one such family. Here they discuss what they do at BlueCross, what brought each of them here, and how they stay connected as a family.
Lorraine Miller, investment accounting coordinator
Lorraine, a Chattanooga native, has always loved working with numbers. After graduating high school, she enrolled at the University of Tennessee – Chattanooga (UTC) and began accounting courses. The following summer, she applied at BlueCross.
“I interviewed for what I thought was a summer position as a bookkeeper,” she recalls. “It was full-time, and I thought, ‘If I don’t like it, I can always go back to school.’ It was the best experience that I ever could’ve had.”
She recently celebrated 38 years at BlueCross.
Though Lorraine has held several positions in the finance area, she currently manages the investment accounting team, a role she describes as her dream job. She and her team help with tax accounting for investments, maintain accounting ledger accuracy and ensure leadership knows the current worth of the investment portfolio.
Even with a dream come true, one aspect of her professional growth remained incomplete.
“My family encouraged me to return to school and finish my education,” Lorraine says. “I utilized the employee tuition reimbursement program at BlueCross and earned my Master’s degree in business management.”
Kenneth Miller, records/warehouse associateFifteen years ago, Kenneth knew it was time for a career change.
With a growing family – Kenneth and Lorraine had two children, Kenisha and younger sister Kendra – he wanted a more reliable schedule and less travel.
“I was driving a truck, working long hours and many weekends,” the Chattanooga native recalls. “My wife really didn’t want me out on the road.”
Though he never imagined himself working for an insurance company, he knew based on Lorraine’s experiences that BlueCross provided a stable environment and an inclusive company culture. In 2003, he joined the safety and security team.
This was especially important when Lorraine went back to school at night. Kenneth ensured the kids were picked up from school, did their homework, had clean clothes and were fed. These were familiar tasks for him.
“My mother was a nurse, and my two sisters left home early, so in the evenings, it was just me and my dad,” Kenneth recalls. “We fended for each other and took care of all of the cleaning and cooking. Every man should know how to do those things.”
Since then, he has seen many changes at BlueCross, from new leadership to a new campus, and he has even transitioned into a new position as a records/warehouse associate.
“Like many others who have been at BlueCross for a decade or more, I had to get used to the new ways versus the old ways,” he admits. “But all of the changes I’ve seen have been necessary and come around to satisfying our members.”
Today Kenneth is responsible for overseeing proper storage supply at our warehouse and verifying that orders are filled efficiently. He occasionally serves as a backup driver when needed.
“When that happens, thankfully it’s just driving back and forth in Chattanooga,” he says with a smile.
Kenisha Miller, claims auditor
Like her mother, Kenisha attended UTC. After obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in human resources and general management in 2006 and her MBA from the University of Phoenix in 2009, she was ready to forge her own career path – albeit in familiar surroundings.
A month after receiving her MBA, she listened to the words of encouragement from her mother and applied for an entry-level position as a claims research associate at BlueCross.
“BlueCross is the type of place that has opportunities for advancement,” Kenisha says. “I’ve been here 11 years, and I’ve learned so much along the way.”
As a claims auditor, Kenisha ensures claims for various lines of business are processed correctly and recovers excess funds. She recently shifted to telecommuting and appreciates the flexibility – finding time to exercise has become more feasible – and she plans to grow her career here.
“Eventually, I’d like to be a human resources consultant,” she says. “I would love a career like my mom’s, where I continue to learn, meet more people, and find more ways to help our members until retirement.”
Balancing work and life as a family
Even with three Millers employed by the same company, it’s not all that common for them to see each other while at work.
Initially, Kenneth worked second and third shift and most weekends, so he and Lorraine saw one another in passing. He would take his break time to walk her to the car, and on rare occasions they would find time to have lunch together.
“We don’t see each other all day at work and then all night at the house and drive each other crazy,” Lorraine says of her husband of 31 years. “That’s kind of what has kept it fresh.”
“I’m just scared of her – don’t let her fool you, she’s mean,” Kenneth says with a laugh, adding, “No, Lorraine and I are together such a small amount of time, we really value that time.”
Since Kenisha telecommutes, she rarely crosses paths with Lorraine or Kenneth. She describes herself as the most reserved of the trio, which can lead to some challenges.
“My mom and dad are both so outgoing and personable, and a lot of people know them,” she says. “Those same people are a little surprised when they learn I’m their daughter, as I’m kind of quiet and I keep to myself.”
“But that’s certainly a manageable challenge,” she adds, showing a smile she inherited from Lorraine.
The Millers make it a point to see each other on weekends, and they continue to travel as a family.
But at the end of the day, family remains their top priority.
They’re grateful for the opportunities BlueCross has provided and that the company continues to be such a large part of their lives.
“Take your job seriously, but always make time for your family,” Kenneth says. “If your family life isn’t good, your work life isn’t good.”