Two years ago, we committed to sending an email each week to our Louisiana nonprofit and community partners with some kind of commentary (trends, profiles of our grantee partners, workplace experiences). We worked hard at it — and you generously shared so much positive feedback about the kinds of news articles and experiences from the field that we were encountering, that we decided to keep it going.
Last year we scaled back to once every other week. This was for a number of reasons, not the least of which was that responding to COVID-19, hurricanes and more demanded a lot more time and energy. Also, everyone’s inboxes and lives were so full of advice and reports, we wanted to only bring you the things we thought were essential.
In 2021, we’re keeping the same cadence (every other week), and will continues sharing the kinds of messages that have been well-received and proven helpful. I wrote very early on about our belief that regular communication is the glue that makes things work.
As a grantmaking organization, the Blue Cross Foundation makes it a priority to share examples of excellence from across the state, to talk about the challenges and success stories in our work, and to give some insight into what drives our decisions. We think it is part of how we can all work together to move Louisiana forward.
To give a broader perspective on our work and experiences, I’ve invited some of my colleagues to contribute their insights to these messages throughout the year to come. These three folks (and the rest of our team, many of whom you may already know) are consistently working with our nonprofit partners across the state.
On top of being amazing people, I think they offer useful insights that we hope will prove helpful. And so, before you get an e-mail from one of them in the weeks to come, I’m writing to introduce them to you today and tell you a little bit about what you can expect to hear from them this year.
Kellie Duhon – Corporate Giving Manager
Kellie Duhon is our Corporate Giving Manager. In that role, she oversees the nonprofit investments made by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana (the company), including sponsorships and disaster relief efforts. Kellie also works on our corporate volunteerism initiatives.
She is originally from Rayne, Louisiana. Before coming to Blue Cross, Kellie was the executive director of the Supriya Jindal Foundation, where she raised over $2 million to support classrooms across the state. She has a background in politics and community building.
One of the things that stands out about Kellie is her ability to connect with people. I’ve rarely seen such enthusiasm and talent for getting to know anyone and everyone, bringing them into the fold, and plugging them into opportunities. On top of sharing experiences and best practices in volunteerism and corporate giving, I believe Kellie will have a lot of insights to share about building effective relationships personally and professionally.
Chloé Wiley – Foundation Initiatives Manager
Chloé Wiley is the Blue Cross Foundation’s initiatives manager, which means she is the go-to person for all things related to our Foundation grant programs. Chloé oversees these processes from end-to-end, which includes reaching out to build partnerships with organizations, managing selection and awards, and coaching grantees throughout the course of their grant contracts with us.
Most recently, Chloé was the lead founder and executive director of Baton Rouge Bridge Academy/IDEA Bridge. She built that school into a thriving nonprofit doing great work for kids through her sharp insights, humble willingness to collaborate and a tireless work ethic.
Chloé has a deep knowledge of Louisiana’s education system and the challenges students face at school and at home. She is a deep thinker who impresses me with her commitment to continuous learning, particularly methods of cultivating more positive, organized working practices – some of which I’m hoping she will share over the year.
Ben Mahoney – Communications and Special Projects Manager
Ben supports both our community relations and Foundation teams as the communications manager for our team. He also oversees several other initiatives, including the annual Angel Award program and our partnership with the Taproot Foundation, working to build a movement of skilled volunteering across Louisiana.
Before he joined our team full time, Ben was embedded in Blue Cross’ communications team as a senior communications strategist. Coming from a background of nonprofit marketing and development, Ben has a wide-ranging experience – traditional PR, digital strategy and producing branding campaigns.
I know Ben plans to write about communications best practices, and how to quickly produce a lot of work if you are a solo practitioner (as he is on our team). Ben is also a strategic thinker, who can generate and organize lots of ideas into action very quickly. He is both a certified coach and trained in fast strategic planning, with lots to share about those processes and how they can benefit teams. If you’ve met him, or if you’ve read these pieces which Ben and I collaborate on, you know that Ben has a lot of personality, so I know you’ll enjoy reading.
I hope you’ll greet their contributions to our ongoing messaging as warmly and enthusiastically as you have to mine. I will continue to write for us as well, sharing best practices from the many changemakers we are fortunate to work with across the state, as well as important trends we are seeing in the field related to Louisiana’s wellbeing.
If there are topics you’d like to hear us cover, email me! I’d be glad to pass them on.
Thank you, as always, for your hard work and commitment to Louisiana and we look forward to partnering with many of you in the year to come!
– Michael Tipton
President, BCBSLA Foundation
Head of Community Relations
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