Know Your Value (KYV) is an empowered community that — through tangible, relatable advice — helps women and men to know their value on a professional and personal level, and achieve their own vision of success. KYV was launched by the NBCUniversal News Group and Mika Brzezinski, author of Knowing Your Value and co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe with Joe Scarborough.
A Professional Turning Point
Last year, Independence Blue Cross (Independence) invited associates throughout the company to apply to the yearlong KYV development program. Fifty-six associates were selected to participate in the program, which was designed to help associates explore personal accountability, create a personal brand, build self-confidence, and advocate for themselves.
I decided to apply to the KYV program because I thought, “I know my value. I’ve been here for 25 years. I have my master’s degree, but what’s my next step?” I needed something to help me think outside the box. At the time that the program was offered, I was also offered the opportunity to leave Independence through a voluntary severance program. My acceptance into the KYV program came at an interesting time because it helped me to ask, “What is my value in the workforce? Should I stay at Independence or leave? What’s my worth here?” The KYV program helped me realize that it was okay to approach my manager and ask, “What is my value?”
Over the past year, I participated in a variety of workshops, networking opportunities, and events designed to help participants grow personally and professionally. Sessions focused on:
- Career management
- Executive presence
- Power of interpersonal skills
One of my favorite sessions was the “Lessons in Leadership” series. In this series we heard from Independence officers, such as SVP and Chief Marketing Executive Paula Sunshine, and Vice President of Sales and Client Management Peter Panageas, who shared the stories of their career paths. The women in particular were incredibly inspiring, especially Judith von Seldeneck of the KYV Learning Program. I really enjoyed her personal story, including how she faced adversity as a woman in the early ’70s and founded a temp agency for women.
I also really enjoyed the Blue Crew volunteer opportunities. As KYV participants, we served lunch together at a local shelter. Although the opportunity to volunteer with our corporate volunteer program is always there, being invited to do it through the KYV program was different because I was volunteering with this core group of people — the new KYV team.
“You Get Out What You Put In”
Another thing I really liked about the KYV program was the format. I wasn’t just listening to lectures, I was always interacting, asking questions, and connecting with the speakers and the other participants.
The program included Independence associates from all different business levels. This meant that I participated in the program alongside associates that I also managed. This gave me the opportunity to talk to them about the sessions, and for them to ask me questions that they might not have otherwise had the confidence to approach me about before the program. Monique Muldoon is a National Accounts account executive on my team who also participated in the KYV program. She spoke about how valuable it was to use KYV as a jumping off point for discussion, “It was great having the opportunity to incorporate the lessons from the KYV program into our one-on-one meetings and discussions for development. It gave us an opportunity to debrief on what we heard and keep what we learned front of mind.”
My advice to others who want to participate in the KYV program is to take advantage of everything it offers. Participants were encouraged to journal, complete pre-reading materials, and network. Many of us who participated took advantage of the networking opportunities and reached out to each other. It was inspiring to see how others in the program grew, matured, and succeeded. You get out of it what you put in.
Applying What I Learned to My Everyday Life
The KYV program reinforced many of the same lessons that my sales training did (for example, how to “ask for the sale.”) That said, these are lessons that I now use in my everyday life so they are always useful. Also, although this program is open to both men and women, it’s especially helpful for women because studies show that oftentimes women have a hard time advocating for themselves.
KYV focused on how to build self-confidence and how to promote yourself. When I think back, I can remember a time in my career when I didn’t have complete confidence asking for more money or advancement opportunities, so this program really speaks to that. I found myself sharing everything I learned with my daughters. I kept sending them texts such as, “Next time you go on a job interview, remember to ask X!”
The 2018 – 2019 KYV Program
The 2018 – 2019 KYV program kicked off September 6. I’m excited for the next group of associates to experience this one-of-a-kind development program that will help them understand their full worth, both personally and professionally.
This blog was originally published on LinkedIn.