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JAMES R. REED

CEO, EXCELLUS BLUECROSS BLUESHIELD

Years in current role: Appointed CEO in May 2021; had been President/CEO-elect since July 2020.

What has been your organization’s biggest success over the past year?

Culture is a critical component of our success and is a central focus of our organization. Employee culture enables us to achieve our mission: helping those in our communities live healthier, more secure lives through access to high quality, affordable health care. I’ve been part of our culture journey since its inception and witnessed how our business results have improved as our culture has improved. As we continue to evolve, we recently refreshed our values and behaviors to emphasize empowerment, accountability and innovation, fostering diversity, equity, inclusion and access. I’m a true believer that culture drives business success.

What are your expectations for the rest of this year?

We’re looking forward to helping those who may be shopping for a new health insurance plan this fall. The pandemic brought many challenges, including disruption to health coverage. We were proud to help customers find products to suit their changing needs at that time and continue to do so, offering products for every stage of life. We’re also excited to offer more integrated initiatives that will allow us to better serve our customers. Working collaboratively with local providers and health systems, these initiatives are designed to improve overall quality of care and help control the rising cost of health care.

What advice would you give somebody just starting out in your industry?

Relationships matter. I learned very early in my career that people want to do business with people they know and like. It doesn’t matter if you have a role that is exclusively focused inside the organization or one that interacts with customers, take the time to establish a relationship with the people you work with. Get to know them on both a personal and professional level. That relationship establishes a foundation from which you can build and grow.

This profile is part of Rochester Business Journal's Power 30 Health Care list for 2022. Information used in this profile was sourced from the honoree. View the full list at rbj.net.

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