By Jaclyn Seebsitt
We’re on a March to a Million members, and every year, we’re getting closer to our goal through the hard work and dedication of our Thrive Ambassadors (TAs) who staff more than 1,100 public events throughout the year. The biggest push is during the peak months of Open Enrollment in October and November, when our Thrive Ambassadors staff more than 800 meetings.
So what’s it like being the public face of Kaiser Permanente? To get a better perspective, we interviewed three TAs who have nearly 20 years of TA experience combined:
- Justin Wozniski, a Senior Communication Consultant with Benefit Administration who has been with KP for one year as of November and a TA for the first time this year;
- Alex Haybok, an Underwriting Consultant for the Federal line of business who has been with KP for more than nine years and a TA for about eight;
- Fatmata Sillah, a Quality Assurance Analyst with Employer Services who has been with KP for more than 16 years and a TA for more than 10 years.
Find out more about their experiences below:
Q: How did you find out about the TA program, and why did you decide to become a TA?
Justin: “I found out about it through GenKP, and since I was new to the organization, I thought it was a great opportunity to discuss products and services with our members and have the opportunity to interact with them.”
Alex: “I found out through my coworker and decided to join because I saw value in being a TA in terms of what I do in my line of work to get a different perspective on what I do at the member level.”
Fatmata: “My manager had introduced the program to me, and since I had enjoyed working in Member Services before, I wanted the opportunity to talk to members personally. I enjoy the one-on-one interaction and seeing members so happy to hear from us and to hear their stories.”
Q: What is your favorite part about being a TA?
Justin: “Interacting with members and having the opportunity to talk to them about our integrated health system. It wasn’t something I was familiar with when I started working here, and now I’m a believer in it. [To be a TA], you’ve got to be a little comfortable being uncomfortable doing it for the first time, but it was a great experience from a development perspective.”
Alex: “Talking to people. I’m very passionate about KP and with what I do. The fact that I know rates and benefits so well and being able to communicate that to members and potential members is rewarding. I can be a consultant to them, and that is what I really enjoy and have passion about, seeing the joy and excitement in their faces when I tell them things they never knew about and how we’re different. We interact so differently than our competitors because we can talk about so much more than just rates and billing; there is so much value we can give to them.”
Fatmata: “Interacting with the members. I always try to give personal examples from my life. I like seeing the smile on their faces knowing I have given them good information they can use.”
Q: What is your greatest memory from your TA experiences?
Justin: “I worked an event where I had the opportunity to meet a member who said he’d had KP his entire life, whose father had had KP his entire life, and whose grandfather built ships in Oakland and was a KP member from the very beginning, which was really memorable.”
Alex: “I was at a State of Maryland event near Gaithersburg, and I noticed another TA had gone to the back of the room to speak to another group of people, and they were struggling. The group was speaking Spanish, and I went over to help because I can speak Spanish. I could see the looks on their faces change and the way they interacted was more fun and engaging. I was able to really engage with them because they were most comfortable speaking Spanish.”
Fatmata: “I met a potential member who said she loved KP, but we didn’t have many medical centers near where she lived. This was during a time we were building a lot of new facilities that would be opening soon, so she was really excited to hear that one would be opening near her. She immediately went over to the HR representative for her company and asked to sign up for KP.”
Q: Would you recommend that all employees become TAs? Why or why not?
Justin: “It’s definitely something every new employee should seriously consider as part of learning more about KP, our products and services, and thinking about how that fits into the overall development picture for them. Coupled with BeKP training and being a summer intern mentor, this was one of the most beneficial programs for me from a development perspective.”
Alex: “It’s not for everyone because you really need to be comfortable, and you should want to do it, not be forced to do it because you want to represent the company in a positive way. If you have passion for what you do and want to get out of comfort zone, it’s definitely something you should do at least once. I wouldn’t tell people it’s hard or scary; once you do your first one, everything else is easy. [Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group’s] Breakfast Links sessions add a huge amount of value because having a dialogue with MAPMG has helped me tremendously to speak about what we offer.”
Fatmata: “It’s not for everyone, but if you’re interested to try it out and see how it is, go for it. To me, it gives me more knowledge, especially with changes in KP so we can catch up on what’s going on with the company every year.”
If you’re interested in joining the TA program or learning more about it, please reach out to Martha Tesfaye at Martha.Tesfaye@kp.org.