An outsider looking in might raise an eyebrow reading Lyndsay Williams’ title changes over the last 15 years. With roles in wellness, human resources (HR) and information services (IS), Williams has had a nontraditional career journey. One thing has stayed constant: Her employer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE).
Williams first began working for BCBSNE as a wellness intern. In this role, she gained a better understanding of what corporate wellness means to a company that genuinely cares about its employees’ well-being. Williams’ internship experience consisted of organizing wellness challenges, conducting fitness assessments and even leading group exercise classes for her fellow coworkers.
“I think the internal wellness program speaks volumes to Blue Cross as a company,” Williams said. “They want to see their employees succeed and make sure they have the resources and support to do that.”
After her internship experience, Williams was asked to stay on the team in a shared wellness and HR role. In her new role, Williams dove into various HR functions, including recruiting, hiring and clerical duties.
“I was happy to stay on and continue my career journey after my internship was over,” Williams said. “Joining the HR team gave me the opportunity to learn and get my foot in the door with a different side of the business while still keeping a pulse on corporate wellness.”
From there, Williams jumped around to different roles and departments, holding titles like health program support specialist and talent acquisition coordinator. Williams credits her journey to her love for BCBSNE.
“When a recruiting position opened up, it just really made a lot of sense for me to share my love for Blue Cross with other professionals,” Williams said.
All her roles and experiences landed her a position on the IS team leading 17 members of Team Blue as a manager.
“I truly believe every position prepared me for the next one,” Williams said. “There was a reason I got the next position or promotion.”
Williams credits a part of her success to relationship building and putting her best foot forward in every position. BCBSNE offers a variety of leadership, networking and professional development opportunities that encourage employees to keep learning and growing at every point in their career.
Throughout her time with the company, Williams has served on the board of YP Connect, an employee resource group that supports young professionals; taken part in BCBSNE’s homegrown leadership program for team members interested in becoming a people leader; and completed an external leadership program.
“If you can prove yourself to individuals or show them what you’re made of, you create a good reputation for yourself,” Williams said. “We’re all a walking billboard and have to remember to put our best foot forward.”
During her tenure at BCBSNE, Williams has had many mentors, whether formal or informal, who’ve helped her create her personal billboard by leading by example. One mentor who’s made a lasting impression is Brenda Wichman, BCBSNE’s vice president of member and provider services. Williams said she looked up to Wichman when she started 15 years ago as an intern and continues to look up to Wichman for her leadership skills and how respected she is at the company.
“Brenda knows how to be funny, silly and just have fun,” Williams said. “But she knows how to take care of business, too. She’s showed me that being true to yourself is an important part of being a good leader, regardless of what position or department you’re in.”
As a people leader, Williams takes the ‘true to yourself’ mentality to heart when working with her team, saying it’s important to get to know her team’s lives outside of work. This personal touch not only builds strong relationships but also helps her understand how she can support her team members in their professional lives.
Her years at BCBSNE, job titles and mentors have left Williams with some valuable advice for the next generation of young professionals – stay humble, ask questions and take chances.
“I think we get in our own way a lot of times,” Williams said. “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, even if you’re nervous or doubting your abilities. You never know unless you try.”
Williams said she’s grateful for the opportunities and support BCBSNE has given her from her first day as a wellness intern to her current position as a manager.
“Whenever anyone is like ‘You’re really still there?’ I say, ‘I’ve never had a reason to leave,’” Williams said. “Blue Cross has been good to me. I love the people. I love the culture.”