Instilling Values for Success By Amy Ruth

  Amy Ruth is Florida Blue’s Chief Human Resource Officer. In this role, she brings her extensive knowledge of human capital development and talent management to provide executive leadership for the company’s human resources, diversity, corporate services and strategic facilities. Amy is the immediate past Chair for the Jacksonville Speech and Hearing Center and served on the Board since 2013. She is also a member of the Equality Means Business Advisory Board and provides support for the Mali Vai Washington Youth Foundation and the American Heart Association. Amy holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from Kennesaw State University in Marietta, Georgia.

Amy Ruth is Florida Blue’s Chief Human Resource Officer. In this role, she brings her extensive knowledge of human capital development and talent management to provide executive leadership for the company’s human resources, diversity, corporate services and strategic facilities. Amy is the immediate past Chair for the Jacksonville Speech and Hearing Center and served on the Board since 2013. She is also a member of the Equality Means Business Advisory Board and provides support for the Mali Vai Washington Youth Foundation and the American Heart Association. Amy holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from Kennesaw State University in Marietta, Georgia.

Teachers have tremendous influence over their students by guiding what and how they learn as well as providing nurturing and encouragement that can help improve their performance. But teachers’ impact extends far beyond academics. They also play a significant role in the development of a young person’s character. The influence they have during critical developmental years provides a foundation for the values their students will develop as an adult.

As the chief human resources officer at GuideWell and Florida Blue, I firmly believe our employees are the core of our business, which is why we seek employees who share our company’s values of respect, integrity, imagination, courage and excellence. When I speak with our employees who exemplify these values, I often find the foundation for them was laid by influential teachers in their life.

Respect – We respect and value collaboration with our colleagues and business partners at Florida Blue. The foundation of showing respect for others and their ideas is something that often developed in the classroom as students begin working together and learning how to balance differing thoughts and opinions from their own.

Integrity – We adhere to strong ethical and uncompromising legal standards in every aspect of our business at Florida Blue. Teaching integrity in children goes beyond just teaching them to “tell the truth,” but also explaining how to live the truth in their actions and words.

Imagination – To fulfill our mission of helping people and communities achieve better health, Florida Blue continually seeks innovative and creative ways to meet the needs of our members. Imagination is something that is not in short supply with children, but it’s something we often set aside to “take the easy route” as we get older. It’s important for teachers to embrace children’s imagination and channel it into innovative solutions.

Courage – At Florida Blue, courage allows us to act with confidence and resolve in the face of uncertainty and risk. Courage also drives principled, effective leaders in business, and it is a value that allows us to embrace change and challenge the status quo. It can be difficult for children to find courage when they are faced with peer pressure and bullying at a time in their life when they are still working through their self-identity. It’s critical that our teachers are supportive of students and let them know they have a voice that deserves to be heard.

Excellence – High expectations and goals are the standard that we choose for each other and ourselves at Florida Blue. Great teachers can inspire students to give it their best and not just try to get by with the bare minimum to instill the importance of seeking excellence in all they do.

I’m thankful for the teachers we have here in Florida who are imparting the next generation of Florida Blue employees with these five values that can enhance their life both personally and professionally for years to come. 

Encourage, Mentor and Take Time to Care by Velma Monteiro-Tribble

Florida Blue is committed to helping people and communities achieve better health – this mission leads my work and encouraged me to find outlets to use my passion for education to encourage Floridians to achieve a better life. My parents, educators and extended family all mentored. They taught me as a young girl that education is something no one can ever take away from you. It is one of the pathways to achieve a better life.

            Earlier this year, I was appointed to serve on the Board of the Florida Education Foundation, a direct support organization to the Florida Department of Education and a nonprofit corporation whose purpose is to lead in education enhancements statewide. My first meeting was during the Teacher of the Year event in July, and that is where I learned the theme of the week was “encourage.” 

 Velma Monteiro-Tribble, Florida Blue Foundation Director, Grants and Programs

Velma Monteiro-Tribble, Florida Blue Foundation Director, Grants and Programs

           As I reflect on the teachers and other educators who have encouraged me throughout my life, I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to pay it forward to educational professionals by serving on the Florida Education Foundation Board. 

I am encouraged by the steps Florida education has taken: The Florida graduation rate is at an all-time high, having increased by more than 22 percent in 10 years; we are No. 1 in the nation for the number of students taking advanced placement exams; and we are the only state in the country to improve significantly in grade 4 math and grade 8 reading and math from 2015 to 2017, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). 

With continued encouragement from community leaders and organizations like Florida Blue, the Florida Blue Foundation and initiatives like Florida’s Teacher of the Year program, I am confident 100 percent of Florida students can achieve a high school diploma and graduate ready for post-secondary education and a career. No student deserves to be left behind.

            I am committed to encouraging Florida educators to help students reach their highest achievement – this mission leads my work to make Florida the best place to live, work, learn, play and grow.

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.