A Born Leader

Malorie Maddox is a household name in our community and someone who touched the lives of many during her 20 years as a broadcast journalist. Now she’s touching lives in a whole new way as the Vice President of Communications with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE), and continues to be a leader in our community.

Edge: During your years with WOWT, you made an impact on the community by helping tell heartwarming, informative, and often tough stories. Looking back, what makes you most proud of what you did during that time?

Malorie: I am most proud of the fact that many of the families and children I met through 20 years of storytelling still keep in contact with me today. I met hundreds of people, often in the most difficult times of their lives. My goal was always to add compassion and heart in every story I told. In many ways, I feel they are part of my family.

Edge: What was the most difficult part about leaving broadcasting and what positive impacts has it had for your family?

Malorie: At the time I left, I knew I was ready for a new challenge. I knew within five minutes of interviewing with Blue Cross’s CEO (Steve Grandfield) this was 100 percent the right fit for me. Steve truly believes every family deserves access to affordable health care and wants to improve their lives. I really admire that.

As for positive impacts for my family, my new schedule has been a game changer. For 20 years, I always felt it was my responsibility to invest back into the community that invited me into their living rooms. I estimate I emceed, or was the keynote speaker, for more than 500 events. Many of those events took up a lot of time during our weekends. The first few weekends after I began my new job, my husband would look at me and ask, “We don’t have anything going on this weekend?” It was so odd to have more free time. Now, I read and talk to my son about his day every night before he goes to bed. It is my favorite time of day. I also love having more privacy. I am an introvert. The public part of the job was always a struggle for me.

Edge: You found unique ways to connect with people, such as sharing your own stories of becoming of a mother, your journey to improve your health, etc. Even though you’re not in as public of a position, do you still connect with people through those same life events?

Malorie: Three years ago I decided to take better control of my health and began a significant weight loss and training program. As a result, my entire family has become more active. We are rarely sick. We have more energy. I will never say this is easy. It is every day. I see these same challenges facing families today through my new role. As consumers, we can make decisions that add years to our lives and drive down the cost of health care for everyone.

Edge: What are some of the new ways you connect with people in your new role?

Malorie: I connect with people differently through my new role. First, BCBSNE has 1200 employees. Being able to learn their stories has been so rewarding. There is incredible pride and compassion in this building. So many employees have worked here 10, 20, 30 years. I’m proud to be part of the team. I have also been able to meet some of our members and share how our health insurance changed their lives. Recently, we invited a wonderful 9-year-old boy in with his mother. He battles a rare genetic metabolic disease, but insurance paid for a drug to help him be able to walk and play wheelchair sports. We invited him in to meet our CEO. He sat right down at his desk and said, “I feel like I’m the Boss.” It was a reminder of our “Why.”

Edge: What has been most surprising about your new role? What has been challenging and/or rewarding?

Malorie: The most surprising aspect of my new role is how many of the same skills I was using in broadcast translate into this industry. For example, research, clear communication, identifying risk, and telling our company’s story. The most challenging aspect for me has been learning to slow down. I also have my first office. After 20-years of working in a loud newsroom-with police scanners-it took me awhile to adjust to having a quiet space.

The most rewarding aspect of my new job is being challenged. My personality assessment defines me as a “life-long learner.” I absolutely love being able to go gather facts, take the initiative to learn something new every day, and have mentors again. I left an industry I knew inside and out—and decided to challenge myself. I work with an amazing team at BCBSNE. When I left WOWT, John Knicely said, “You have a way of making everyone around you look better.” That is my goal every day here at Blue Cross.

Edge: In what ways do you feel you continue to make an impact on the community?

Malorie: I lead Corporate Social Responsibility at BCBSNE. My team works with hundreds of organizations and leaders in the community to find ways BCBSNE can give back and invest in a healthier state. We also have a long history of volunteering and raising money for the United Way. This helps more than 120 organizations through our community.  Personally, I committed to taking a year off from serving on boards and attending events. I wanted to make sure I was fair to the many organizations I continue to work with—and I wanted to be 100% committed to being successful in my new role.

Edge: What goals do you have for the next five years either personally and/or professionally?

Malorie: In five years, I hope to complete an Executive Leadership Program and start playing the piano again. Rachmaninoff is my favorite. Oh…and slow down. People keep reminding me I need to do that. Some day…

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