Teachers Who Make Learning Fun and Interesting by David Pizzo

Teachers were very influential in my life during elementary school. From my uncle, who was a teacher and taught me many of life’s lessons when I was away from school after my parents divorced, to the teachers who led my classroom, they were significant figures in my life.

Two that really stand out are my fourth-grade teachers, Ms. Alfonso and Mr. Patrillo. As students, we would spend time in each of their classrooms, and I remember extraordinary synergy between them in their teaching styles. Because of the way they worked together, I made tremendous strides in my reading and storytelling skills that year.

They were two teachers who really cared about their students, and they went out of their way to make education fun and interesting. I believe that is an essential part of being a great teacher. In addition to being knowledgeable about the subject matter, great teachers have a strong interest in helping students develop a lifelong love of learning.

Teaching is far more than a job. It’s devoting your life to caring about your students, and it’s definitely not easy. They show empathy for what their students are going through, they spend extra time with those who may be struggling, and they help those with extra abilities excel.

One of the most important things my teachers did growing up was teach me skills that go far beyond book knowledge. They taught us how to build comradery with the entire class of students, how to work together, and how to share responsibility. They instilled in us skills that would be essential to succeed in life and future careers.

  David Pizzo is Florida Blue’s Market President for West Florida. He is responsible for operations and local engagement in 14 counties ranging from Pasco and Hernando counties to Tampa Bay to Southwest Florida. Throughout his career, he has actively supported education including serving on the University of South Florida President’s Council Society and Center for Entrepreneurship Advisory Board, St. Leo University College of Business Advisory Board; USF Muma College of Business Advisory Board and Eckerd College President’s Associates. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science in pharmacy from Rutgers University and a Master’s of Business Administration in marketing and international business from NYU’s Stern Business School.

David Pizzo is Florida Blue’s Market President for West Florida. He is responsible for operations and local engagement in 14 counties ranging from Pasco and Hernando counties to Tampa Bay to Southwest Florida. Throughout his career, he has actively supported education including serving on the University of South Florida President’s Council Society and Center for Entrepreneurship Advisory Board, St. Leo University College of Business Advisory Board; USF Muma College of Business Advisory Board and Eckerd College President’s Associates. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science in pharmacy from Rutgers University and a Master’s of Business Administration in marketing and international business from NYU’s Stern Business School.

Setting SMART Financial Goals By Scott M. Coble

As the son of a 32-year educator and the father of a fifth-grade teacher, I have a great deal of respect for everything our educators are able to accomplish on a day-to-day basis.

I’ve seen from my mom and my daughter that a teaching career is both rewarding and challenging, as teachers assume a critical role in children’s lives. At the same time, they manage to take care of their own household needs and their own families.

  Scott M. Coble, Wells Fargo Florida Community Bank President

Scott M. Coble, Wells Fargo Florida Community Bank President

Sometimes we get so busy with our daily responsibilities and activities that we miss opportunities to focus on establishing short-term and long-term financial priorities, and determining a plan to make our dreams a reality.

The first step in creating an actionable plan is to establish those financial priorities. 

The key is setting goals that are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. Writing them down can help you visualize and determine necessary steps to prioritize and meet your goals, making those ideas seem less abstract and more achievable.

It is important to be consistent when it comes to building financial habits. Always paying bills first and setting aside the funds you may need for other expenses can help you determine how much you can add to your savings account each paycheck.

Also, remember that goals can be fluid. Life happens! Sometimes there’s a need to take a step back and reassess.

Sound financial planning includes preparing for unexpected emergencies by keeping a reserve fund in savings, enough to cover bills and expenses for three to six months. 

Take some time to explore Handsonbanking.org, which is a free, online financial education learning center with resources for youth, adults, seniors, military, and entrepreneurs. On the site, you can learn more about money management and access materials like this printable personal goal-setting worksheet to help you track and assess your goals.

The path to financial success can follow many routes. Having a strategic plan and timeline can help you stay on track. If you happen to take a slight detour, there is always room to course-correct, re-evaluate and re-energize.

Supporting Teachers So They Can Lead the Way By Paul Stallings

I believe in teachers, and I believe children are our future. Yes, it’s straight from the song Greatest Love of All. We must teach them well, and let them lead the way.

In an effort to support those who lead the way, I am honored to support Junior Achievement (JA). Since 1919, JA has worked with local businesses and organizations in an effort to increase learning and hands-on experiences for students from kindergarten to high school through experiential learning programs on the topics of financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship.

JA has many opportunities to educate our youth regarding business and financial literacy. During the last three years, I have been proud to work with other Florida Blue leaders and employees on a unique program with Junior Achievement of North Florida, called JA in a Day. Without a doubt, it has become one of the most meaningful days of my life. This program is very rewarding and allows me to give back to the community in a way that helps children meet their full potential.

JA in a Day is a way to deliver JA’s lessons of financial literacy to particular grade levels on the same day. Here at Florida Blue we have been blessed to work with two elementary schools in the Duval County Public School District. We start months in advance, training over 90 employee volunteers who have a great opportunity to get involved in a community activity and show our support for teachers. They literally take over the class for the day, making meaningful connections with students and teachers. It’s a wonderful experience that supports teachers so they can lead the way.

I believe teachers appreciate someone else taking over for a day. It helps connect their curriculum with real world economics based on the foundations of the JA program. This program is about making a difference one class at a time. It’s hard work because by the end of the day, many of us realize how much patience, guidance and inspiration it takes for teachers, and our gratefulness is limitless.

Taking over a class for a day may not be as dramatic as the crescendos Whitney Houston achieved in the song the Greatest Love of All, but it’s a testament of how the smallest things we can do for our teachers can be significant.

  Paul Stallings serves as Florida Blue’s Vice President of IT Infrastructure Services. In this role, he provides capabilities that increase companywide agility to quickly respond to business changes and customer needs. With more than 22 years of experience in information technology, he has been published for the effectiveness of his teams’ work in several industry leading magazines including Network World, Computer World and Info World.

Paul Stallings serves as Florida Blue’s Vice President of IT Infrastructure Services. In this role, he provides capabilities that increase companywide agility to quickly respond to business changes and customer needs. With more than 22 years of experience in information technology, he has been published for the effectiveness of his teams’ work in several industry leading magazines including Network World, Computer World and Info World.

Inspiring Confidence in Future Generations by Pat Geraghty

  Pat Geraghty is Chief Executive Officer of GuideWell Mutual Holding Corporation and Florida Blue, Florida’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield company

Pat Geraghty is Chief Executive Officer of GuideWell Mutual Holding Corporation and Florida Blue, Florida’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield company

There are a lot of teachers that influenced my life and gave me the confidence to assert myself, to challenge and to ask questions. I remember a particular teacher in high school, Mr. Conklin, who encouraged me to not settle for the status quo and to push the norms. He’s a teacher I thank for his guidance in helping me develop as a young man.

My sister and my sister-in-law are also teachers, and I respect what they do to motivate children every day in their classrooms. Teaching is a job that is truly critical to our society, and it’s also proven to be critical to public health.

Research has shown Americans with more education live longer, healthier lives than those with fewer years in the classroom. And we all know from our own childhoods how influential teachers can be in sparking our desire to learn and further our education.

Great teachers know how to enthuse and connect with their students. They are able to engage and teach by inspiring and challenging. Skillful educators do far more than teach academics. They teach us to become good citizens and members of society.

I’m truly thankful for all our teachers who devote their lives to helping motivate and mold our next generation.


Pat Geraghty is Chief Executive Officer of GuideWell Mutual Holding Corporation and Florida Blue, Florida’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield company. A dynamic speaker, he is considered an expert voice on a range of health care topics including health care reform in the U.S., next generation payment strategies, innovation in health care and the benefits of wellness and prevention programming. He is frequently sought after for his expertise and insights by national media outlets as well as officials in Washington, D.C., and Tallahassee, Fla. Pat is active in leading several professional and community organizations including serving as chair of the Florida Council of 100, a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization of Florida business leaders who advise the state’s governor on how to improve economic growth in the state and the economic well-being of its residents. In 2016, Pat became a member of the Health Governors Community of the World Economic Forum. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Colgate University and a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, degree from Florida Southern College. He also has completed executive education programs at Harvard University School of Public Health and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Using Tomorrow’s Technology Today by Stephen Cross

As a digital innovation engineer, I work with our innovation team to see how we can use emerging technology to increase service reliability for customers. We look at technology such as 3D printing, augmented reality, virtual reality, robots and drones that can help us avoid and reduce the number of outages that customers experience, and restore power faster when outages do occur. Investing in this technology helps keep reliability high and work more efficiently, which in turn helps keep bills low.

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I discovered my passion for engineering at a very early age. As a kid, I would take toys apart and put them back together. When I reached high school I realized how much gratification I got from building models and creating things from scratch, which led me to the engineering field.

I joined an engineering program and robotics team sponsored by FPL while in high school. It gave me the opportunity to learn about the different areas of engineering, like computer, electrical, environmental, agricultural and mechanical engineering. I ended up choosing mechanical engineering because movement and dynamics appeal to me.

When I first arrived at FPL, I was blown away by the company’s innovativeness. We’re not just an energy company – we’re a technology company. A recent innovation of ours is the substation robot. It’s not a robot like R2D2; this robot is a small self-driving vehicle that moves around and inspects a substation all on its own.  With its built-in cameras and sensors, it checks for abnormalities and potential issues, such as an animal building a nest or equipment that is overheating. Basically, it catches small issues so we can proactively fix them before they become big ones.

With hurricane season right around the corner, I can’t help but think about the technology we used during Hurricane Irma. During Irma, I managed our drone fleet. We used drones for inspections and damage assessments, which is invaluable after a storm. Drones are perfect because they are able to send us real-time information from places we otherwise couldn’t get employees or equipment into to inspect. This helps us be better prepared and in turn get life back to normal sooner for our customers.

I get really motivated by the problem-solving experience. At work, I collaborate with my teammates to brainstorm ideas – solving problems is what we do. We’re innovators. We work together as a team to match problems with innovative technological solutions.  Our investments in advanced technology, coupled with hardworking employees, allow us to work on solutions that help us keep bills low and reliability high.