Lending a Helping Hand

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Anthem's Ovian a corporate and community dynamo
Name: Lynda M. Ovian Title: Director of sales support, Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, North Haven Born: October 18, 1966, Hartford Education: BA in English, Assumption College, Worcester, Mass. Accomplishments: Growing up in the Hartford area, Lynda Ovian always knew she wanted to do something with her life that involved helping other people. After graduating from Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., she joined Blue Cross & Blue Shield in Massachusetts as a renewal specialist and customer Shield in Connecticut in the newly created position of specialty strategy and program director.

"I've always been in jobs that I thought had a direct connection to helping people," Ovian says. "Anthem's mission is to improve the lives of the people we serve and the health of the community, and I really do feel that I get an opportunity to do that through my work, and through community services."

In 2005, Ovian was promoted to director of sales support and charged by Anthem President David R. Fusco with the mission of strengthening the company's relationship with the independent insurance brokers who sell Anthem's insurance products.

"Lynda's contributions to Anthem's success in the highly competitive health insurance benefits market here in Connecticut are significant, especially her role in managing broker outreach, training and education," says Fusco. "Brokers are key stakeholders who help facilitate relationships with many of our commercial and municipal customer groups, and her skill in meeting and exceeding their needs is remarkable."

Ovian says that creating a strong connection with the brokers is the best way to stay informed about consumers' needs. While Anthem has always worked closely with brokers, Ovian has brought a new focus and structure to the effort. She was part of a team that initiated a new broker training program, for instance, and is now overseeing that program.

"They can come to Anthem and learn about our products and services and about Anthem," she notes.

Anthem also is presenting seminars to help educate insurance brokers statewide, and Ovian is managing the broker call center, in which Anthem employees provide customer service to independent brokers and group administrators.

"I am always intrigued by new opportunities, when companies want to do something new and innovative," she says. "I get a real sense of accomplishment out of trying to build and shape something out of an idea."

In her climb up the corporate ladder Ovian has learned three basic principles that guide her career:

• Do something you like. "It makes you not only do a better job," she says, "it makes you a better person."

• Work with and for great people. "It helps you grow as a person. We have a great senior team here at Anthem."

• Gain varied experiences. "It's good to move around and get different experiences at different places."

Ovian also is a firm believer in giving back to the community, and she praises Anthem as a company that encourages employees to do so.

Ovian is a member of the board of directors of the north central Connecticut chapter of the American Heart Association (AHA), and has participated in the group's Go Red For Women awareness campaign to prevent heart disease.

"It felt like a great connection for me, personally, because it impacts women so much," she says. "And it's a great fit because both Anthem and the American Heart Association are trying to improve people's lives, provide education and empower people."

Tracy Brazelton, AHA regional vice president, says Ovian has been a very active member of the board.

"Lynda is a very dedicated community servant," Brazelton says. "She approaches every project with a tremendous amount of passion, and has a great ability to bring clarity to the projects that she works on. She knows what's effective, and she has a sense of what messages will be heard by the public."

Ovian is also a member of the Greater New Haven Arts Stabilization Committee, a group of business people who tutor nonprofit arts organizations in New Haven on managing their finances, and a member of the Assumption College Alumni Board.

Industry honors/awards/professional designations:

• American Heart Association, north central Connecticut board of directors, 2007-08

• 2007 Go Red For Women luncheon committee member

• 2008 sponsorship chairperson for Go Red For Women luncheon

• Member, Greater New Haven Arts Stabilization Committee, 2005-present

• Anthem Producer Advisory Council member, 2005-present

• Vice chair, Anthem's 2005 United Way Campaign

• Assumption College Alumni Board

Person who most influenced my life: "My grandmother, Baizar Ovian. She came over as a teen from Armenia, started a barbershop with her husband and had five sons. She taught me about stamina, patience and pride. She never let anything stop her, and that enabled her to attain her dreams."

Guiding philosophy: "To try not to fear the outcome. Put your best foot forward, put your heart and soul into what you are doing, and don't look back."

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