How Embracing Challenges Brought New Opportunities
Eleven years ago, at just twenty years old, newly married and with an infant, Tricia Cox started working at Florida Blue as a service advocate in Group Enrollment Membership and Billing. She wasn’t looking for a career in the health care field when she was hired on as a contractor in February of 2008. In fact, she had other aspirations in mind.
“I thought I’d work there for a bit until I figured out exactly what I wanted to do in life. Growing up I’d always wanted to be a teacher. I had no idea how my future would unfold here at Florida Blue. I get to teach every day, just in a different sense.”
She spent four years in the Group area, growing and learning more about the business. Something she noticed right away in her role was how Florida Blue provided multiple growth opportunities to her and her fellow coworkers. She honed her skills in the business, focusing on key initiatives and building relations that would help her in the future. What she thought would have been a short, one-year contract turned into a full-time position and an additional three years of learning, growing, and evolving into a more skilled leader.
“I really aligned with the values of the company on a personal, and professional level. They invest in their employees and in return, we invest in them. I never felt stagnant. I always knew I’d be able to keep expanding my skillset.”
Tricia’s transition into IT happened after a lot of hard work and when some cross-team collaborations presented themselves. She’d worked in her service advocate role for four years, and towards the end of her tenure found herself working more and more with the IT department. She wrote business requirements, testing scripts, and loved the project work she was focused on, but she found herself longing for something more technical.
“I understood the business side and saw the outcomes of the initiatives that my team was working on,” she states. “But I wanted to explore more of the how. I wanted to know how we got to those outcomes.”
Soon, another opportunity expressed itself, as the IT Market Facing Domain had an opening for an associate IT business analyst. Nervous yet hopeful, and with the encouragement of her coworkers, Tricia decided to apply. She had the drive, the ambition, and the mentality for it, but the transition into IT still felt intimidating.
“It was exciting, but there was definitely a learning curve. I knew the business side. I knew the outcomes. What I didn’t know was where they came from or what the processes entailed. I learned a lot from my role as a service advocate and being fully engulfed in IT was something I was ready to take on.”
Within this role, she wrote business and system requirements, monitored changes requests, and collaborated with multiple teams to execute end to end regression testing. She also worked on adoption plans for the use of new tools, created business plans for each initiative, and overall expanded her IT knowledge tenfold.
In just a few short years, opportunity knocked again. In September of 2017, Tricia accepted a promotion to associate IT manager. “It was a big change,” she says. “I went from being an independent contributor on my team to then leading and providing direction.”
Tricia now manages the IT Advanced Technology Solutions team, a subset of the Information Technology department that works specifically on the ideation, creation, and execution of innovations that will positively affect not only IT but the company and its customers.
When asked about the parts of her job as an associate IT manager that are challenging, she states, “The health care industry is always changing, the technology is always evolving, and trying to stay up to date with the latest and greatest trends can be a challenge. I take pride in knowing that I get to be a part of, lead, and work next to people that help take a simple idea, and through communication and collaboration come up with a solution that is then turned into something that is useful to our customers.”
Another challenge that came with the increased responsibility of growing into a leadership role was being a woman in a male-dominated field. However, what can be intimidating to some was fuel for Tricia.
“Standards in the industry are changing. Ten years ago, there weren’t a lot of women present in these types of roles, but it’s different now. Work culture is shifting and Florida Blue has been at the forefront of these changes. More people and companies are embracing women’s roles in IT. It’s being encouraged instead of looked over.”
It's been two years now since she took on the role of associate IT manager, and already Tricia has made an impact on the company. She appreciates all the opportunities she’s been afforded and everyone who has helped her get here.
She credits much of her success to her fellow employees, leadership past and present, and her family. Now the mother to three boys with her husband, she finds herself busier than she used to be but shows no signs of slowing down. With 11 years under her belt, Tricia has turned her one-year contract in Group Enrollment Membership and Billing into a thriving career, full of professional growth, skill development, and engaging day-to-day activities.
“At Florida Blue, I have a voice and I know that it matters. I truly believe this company cares about me as a person as well as the community in which we live. When I started here, I was very young. I didn’t have much of a direction at the time. I wasn’t sure where I’d end up, but I realize now that there’s no place I’d rather be.”
This is the first in a series on “Women in IT.”
Filed under: Mind/Body/Soul
Heather Poulin, MFA is a transplant from New Hampshire to Florida and works as an IT Communications and Technical Writer at GuideWell for the Advanced Technology Solutions Team. She is also a professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of North Florida. In her spare time, you’ll catch her at the gym, reading, or writing flash fiction.