From Patient Care Advocate to Senior Manager: How a Lifelong Passion for Healthcare Led to an MBA
September 13, 2018 | Express Scripts
Syed Ali is a Sr. Manager – Strategic Performance Solutions/#1HD Business Communications, based out of Dublin, Ohio and currently a member of Express Scripts’ Professional MBA Program.
As a proud graduate of The Ohio State University (Go Buckeyes!), Express Scripts is my first (and only) full-time employer. In fact, I celebrated my 20th anniversary on September 8, 2018!
My Express Scripts adventure started in 1998 when I was looking for a summer job. I attended a career fair and was overwhelmed by all of the options. I wasn’t totally sure what the opportunity with Express Scripts would entail when I filled out the application; however, I was called in for an interview and soon offered a position as a Patient Care Advocate.
Though I started the job thinking it would be something I could do for the summer, I fell in love with it my very first week. I made friends and recognized that Express Scripts was where I belonged. I even met the love of my life at Express Scripts: my wife, Laura, works as a Sr. Clinical Analyst in our PBM Services Benefit Operations organization. We are now happily married with two kids, Ryan and Layla.
Over the years, I’ve changed roles and departments several times. Currently, I work in our Strategic Performance Solutions organization, which is responsible for the design, development, and delivery of training and communications solutions across Operations. Most recently, I was asked to lead our new #1HD Business Communications team. My team and I are focused on delivering communications to our employees across our Member Services and Home Delivery organization that support strategic initiatives, align with performance needs, and cultivate employee engagement.
Some of my best days on the job are when I’m able to help others recognize how they’re making a difference. From my days as a Training Supervisor, to various roles leading Operations and Training teams, I’ve been able to see the impact that I can create when I can help others connect to our company’s mission around patient care. It truly is my purpose in my professional life.
I’ve always been a bit of a “geek.” I read healthcare blogs, I’m a member of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), and I attend conferences and webinars every chance I can. And when the opportunity to further my education came along, I jumped at the chance. Just before I turned 40, my leader nominated me to take part in Express Scripts’ Professional MBA Program. This is a joint program with the University of Missouri-St. Louis that allows participants to take courses on campus and earn an MBA degree in just 21 months.
Since being accepted into the PMBA program, I find myself recognizing application possibilities every week. From increasing my financial acumen (I can attend an earnings call and not feel overwhelmed by terms like “EBITDA”!) to developing a greater appreciation for supply chain and business law, to becoming more confident as a leader, this has been one heck of a ride so far. I’ve also found countless opportunities to share what I’ve learned in classes with my team.
Looking back, it’s no surprise that I ended up working for a healthcare company. I’ve always been passionate about patient care. As a teenager, I volunteered at a local hospital with the hope of being able to simply put a smile on patients’ faces and attempt to make them forget why they were in the hospital to begin with.
Throughout my 20 years at Express Scripts, and under CEO Tim Wentworth’s leadership, we continue to evolve as a company. Employees are connected to our mission and are able to see how we are making a difference for our patients and clients every day. I love the work I do, and who I get to do it with. Even twenty years later, I’m still in love with this great company, and proud to be a Champion for Better.« Takeaways from my Agile2018 Experience| From Math Teacher to Provider Strategist at Express Scripts »
Takeaways from my Agile2018 Experience
September 12, 2018 | Express Scripts
Avni A. is a Senior Technology Manager passionate about helping individuals, teams and organizations reach their true potential through coaching and mentoring.
Early last month, I had the opportunity to travel to San Diego with my team and attend the 2018 Agile Alliance conference; the largest Agile event in North America. This annual conference is dedicated to furthering Agile principles and providing a venue for ideas to be shared and flourish. For those who may be unfamiliar, Agile is a mindset that embraces challenging the status quo and continuously uncovering better ways of getting awesome outcomes.
With over 300 speaker sessions to choose from at Agile2018, I was able to explore and expand my knowledge of Agile, Lean, Scrum, Business Agility, Kanban, XP, SAFe, Less, and dozens of other relevant topics. I felt privileged and proud to be part of this great event and share the experience with the rest of the Agile tribe.
However, what made me even prouder was that Express Scripts was a Gold Sponsor for the event, allowing us to host a booth at the conference and educate attendees on who we are, what we do, and most importantly – why we do what we do.
Each day, we had approximately 100 people stop by our booth to learn more about Express Scripts. Almost all conversations started like this:
“My ………..(husband/mother/neighbor/someone I know) is getting his/her medications from you. Aren’t you a healthcare company? What are you doing at the Agile Conference?”
Every time I was asked these questions, my enthusiasm and pride reached the ceiling. I was able to share with them that Express Scripts is not just a healthcare company, but rather a healthcare technology leader focused on taking on the toughest challenges in healthcare. I explained how we are a “patient first” organization, on a mission to make healthcare more affordable, accessible and safer for our patients. These interactions led to more in-depth conversations about our recent technology transformation, made possible by our adoption of Agile, and our scaling approach. I truly felt that what I shared with attendees gave insight and hope to those that worked at companies either at the verge of their transformation or in the middle of chaos.
Throughout the five-day conference, I was impressed by the sheer volume of people that stopped at our booth to speak with us, share with us, and learn with us. During this time, I was prouder that ever to be part of the Express Scripts family – and a Champion for Better.
Interested in joining our technology team? Check out our career site for a full list of job openings.
« Twenty Years Later: How an Express Scripts Employee Continues to Make an Impact| From Patient Care Advocate to Senior Manager: How a Lifelong Passion for Healthcare Led to an MBA »
Twenty Years Later: How an Express Scripts Employee Continues to Make an Impact
September 6, 2018 | Express Scripts
Ron M., pictured above with his daughter Anna, is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion in Human Resources, managing our Affirmative Action programs.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a passion for helping others. When it came time for me to choose a career, this passion led me to the Social Security Administration. After spending 8 years working as a Claims Representative, I decided it was time to try something new. While I was unsure of whether I wanted to stay in the Federal government sector, I knew I needed to find a job that still allowed me to work with people. I networked with colleagues in other fields and was connected with a role in the Human Resources department at SSM Health in St. Louis. I spent five years at SSM before making the switch to Express Scripts, which has been my home for the last 20 years.
After spending 11 years in the HR department, I decided I wanted to brush up on my math skills and accepted a job as the Director of Patient Accounts Receivable within Finance. There, our team managed our patients’ home delivery accounts, posting payments and answering inquiries. However, I was drawn back to HR two-and-a-half years ago when I discovered there was an opportunity to further pursue my passion for helping others as a Director of Diversity and Inclusion.
In this role, I manage the Affirmative Action plans in place at Express Scripts. As a federal contractor, we make two contractual promises: to refrain from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status, and to engage in affirmative action on behalf of women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and protected veterans.
Having a diverse workforce is optimal for many reasons, but it is also a huge benefit from a business perspective. The population of the communities where we live and work is diverse and our workforce should reflect that population. A person’s background impacts their thinking, so we have to represent that diversity of thought as it will ultimately lead to a more creative and dynamic workplace.
In addition to my work on Affirmative Action policies, I participate in Express PossAbilities, the Express Scripts Employee Resource Group that works to increase awareness and education of the experiences of people with disabilities and caregivers. We also work with community groups like Autism Speaks and the Starkloff Disability Institute to enhance the awareness and employment of people with disabilities and encourage self-identification of people with disabilities.
After twenty years, I still enjoy the work I do at Express Scripts. There are always opportunities to continue learning, and I know the work I do has a positive impact. We are a high performance organization that is always raising the bar – and taking on more challenges to improve the lives of our employees and patients.
Interested in exploring a career with Express Scripts? Visit our career site for a full list of open positions.« Leaving a Legacy off the Battlefield| Takeaways from my Agile2018 Experience »
Leaving a Legacy off the Battlefield
August 7, 2018 | Express Scripts
Each year on August 7, we recognize Purple Heart Day, a time for Americans to honor the brave men and women who were wounded or killed while serving in the military. Jared M. is an account executive at Express Scripts who received a Purple Heart in 2006 for wounds received in action in Iraq. He works in the public sector of our commercial division, managing 23 local government clients across the United States.
Finding a Path to the Military
In March of 2003, I found myself working in a dead-end job. I had graduated from high school in 2002 and didn’t think college was for me; I had no real direction in my life. But then I read a newspaper headline: “Marines Invade Iraq.” 9/11 was still fresh and after seeing that reality in bold print, a sense of motivation came over me. I was in the recruiter’s office the next day and arrived at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego a few months later. I graduated from training as an infantry Marine that August.
My first of two deployments to Iraq was in September of 2004 as a mobile infantryman. We were in charge of counter insurgency missions in Fallujah. Over the course of that deployment, I did 13 medical evacuations of fellow soldiers who had been injured on patrol. During my second deployment in September 2006, we stayed in the small town of Anah. While there, we saw more combat, casualties and fighting than on my first deployment. After 30 days in town, one-third of our company was wounded.
On November 25, 2006, we were out on a foot patrol when an IED went off, wounding just about everybody on the patrol. I was knocked out and when I came to, I realized what had happened. I found my radio operator and had him call in a quick reaction force; I set off a red flare to let our base know where we were and that there was an emergency; we started treating casualties and loading the injured into vehicles for medical evacuations. I was awarded the Purple Heart for my wounds received and a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Valor for my actions.
At the end of that deployment, I was left with a decision to make: should I go to college or reenlist? A month before I was set to come home, a Marine close to me was killed and that decided it for me. It was time for me to return to civilian life.
Transitioning Back to Life as a Civilian
After leaving the Marines, I started school at Lindenwood University in St. Louis. The guy who had no desire to go to college ended up with a Bachelor’s in marketing, an MBA, and a Master’s in communications and training development. During that time, I also worked as a personal trainer. After four years of personal training, I spent a few years in higher education, first teaching and then as the director of education.
I found my way to Express Scripts when I saw a posting for a training consultant position on LinkedIn. Several interviews later, I had the job and started in September 2016. My primary role was training account executives in sales and negotiation, but soon I became interested in the account executive role. So I started learning everything I needed to be an account executive. It took about five months to get onto that team, and I’ve now been in the position for two months, acting as the face of Express Scripts in interactions with my clients.
The culture at Express Scripts is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. At previous companies, I felt like employees came second. Here, I feel appreciated by all levels of the organization and have found a good work/life balance. I also recently got involved in VaLOR (Veterans and Leaders Organizing Resources), Express Scripts’ Employee Resource Group for veterans. Express Scripts and VaLOR sponsored me for an Honor Flight last May. For those who might not know, the Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization created to honor America’s veterans for their sacrifices. It takes thousands of veterans to Washington, D.C. each year to celebrate their service and visit the monuments that pay tribute to them. I had the honor of being a guardian for a 90-year-old World War II veteran on his trip to D.C.
Outside of work, I spend time traveling with my wife and three children, playing hockey, and writing my memoir, which is about my experiences in Iraq and how I transitioned back to civilian life. A lot of veterans struggle to find a purpose after leaving the military, so I hope to inspire them by telling my story. I’m thankful for the multitude of programs I can take part in as a veteran and as an employee at Express Scripts, and I hope to give back to the Express Scripts community with a speaking engagement about my book and experiences this September.
Interested in exploring a career with Express Scripts? Visit our career site for a full list of open positions.« Helping Patients Behind the Scenes| Twenty Years Later: How an Express Scripts Employee Continues to Make an Impact »
Helping Patients Behind the Scenes
July 26, 2018 | Express Scripts
Taras S. is a staff accountant working at Accredo, Express Scripts’ specialty pharmacy.
I started my college career at University of Missouri – Kansas City with the intention of getting into pharmacy, where I could pursue a people-focused career. However, I wasn’t a huge fan of the advanced science courses required. So, I transferred to Missouri State University to pursue a degree in accounting.
Accounting was a much more natural fit; I had always been good with numbers and I knew that having a degree in accounting would broaden my opportunities in the corporate world. However, I have also always had a passion for helping people, so I wanted to find a way to use numbers to make a difference. That’s how I made my way to Express Scripts; the innovative work we do to make healthcare more affordable fulfilled my hunger to make a difference.
I applied for a staff accountant position with Accredo, an Express Scripts subsidiary, in August 2017, which married my background in finance with my passion for helping people. During the application process, my interviewers were sincere and very welcoming; I knew I could find a home in the organization. I received my offer in September and started at Express Scripts shortly after.
Making a Difference
Since September, I’ve spent a lot of my time overseeing drug manufacturer invoices; we have to make sure the manufacturers get paid so our specialty patients can get the medicine they need. It’s a good feeling knowing we help people with challenging conditions live more comfortably.
More recently, I’ve been working on invoices for hemophilia patients. Hemophilia is a genetic condition that keeps blood from clotting properly. There are fewer than 200,000 cases per year in the United States and the disorder mostly impacts children and young adults. Before working on these invoices, my knowledge of the disease was limited. But since learning more about hemophilia, I’ve come to realize how impactful the work I do behind the scenes is for patients.
Finding a Home at Express Scripts
Outside of work, I love going to the gym and staying healthy. I’m also pursuing an MBA with an emphasis in information systems at University of Missouri – St. Louis. I’m grateful that I’m able to further my education while working full time and I plan to apply for Express Scripts’ tuition reimbursement program, which will help further mitigate the cost of my education.
I found that my initial impressions of the warm, friendly culture at Express Scripts were spot on when I started work. Everyone I’ve met is friendly and cares about the work we do as well as their coworkers. My team, in particular, is extremely helpful and supportive; they’re the reason I stay. I’m thankful that I’m able to work with incredible people to help our patients every day.
Interested in exploring a career with Express Scripts? Visit our career site for a full list of open positions.« The Intern Files: How an Express Scripts Intern Made the Leap to a Full-Time Role| Leaving a Legacy off the Battlefield »