Army Spouse

Doing Good Is Good For You

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Interview with Kate Rubin, Vice President Social Responsibility (UnitedHealth Group)

By Amy Rossi, Editor and Kellie Gunderman, Assistant Editor (MSEJ)

The Military Service Employment Journal (MSEJ) recently had the opportunity to interview Ms. Kate Rubin of UnitedHealth Group (UHG) about the effects of volunteering on your health for our WorkLife Wellness section.  Kate’s clear passion and sheer exuberance for helping others shines through in everything she does, which undoubtedly stems from her upbringing.  She was raised to give back to the community and remembers taking gifts and meals to those who could not get out during the holidays.  Today, her desire to not only give back, but educate others on the long-term benefits of volunteering is astounding.

For over three years, Kate has worked with UnitedHealth Group as a leader of the department of social responsibility.  She has worked for big, medium and small companies and has lived all over the US, allowing her to empathize with the military lifestyle.  Moreover, Kate is an avid supporter of the military, proudly devoted to her nephew who is serving as a Drill Sergeant at Ft. Jackson.  “I’m just thrilled to talk to you about my passions and volunteering.  This is a great thing that you are doing with the crossover between volunteering and work life.”  When Kate was asked what she would say to someone who does not think they have the time to volunteer, her answer was simple: “You don’t have time not to volunteer!”


2013 Volunteering and Health Study

UnitedHealth Group, like many other large companies, chooses to support missions that closely align with their own.  In their case, it is how to help people live healthier lives and build healthier communities.  And so, UnitedHealth Group began the “Doing Good Is Good for You: 2013 Health and Volunteering Study.”  UnitedHealth Group believes that, “To help people live healthier lives and modernize the health care system… it is necessary to be active and responsible citizens in our local communities and around the world.”  They knew that volunteerism played a vital role in that mission, but they wanted to explore the idea that volunteering helps people feel healthier and helps employers as well.

2013 Health & Volunteering Study

Now that we know volunteering as an individual promotes an overall sense of wellbeing, how does it help companies?  According to the 2013 Volunteering and Health Study, “If people are feeling healthier because they are volunteering, they will feel better at work as well.”  This causes less stress in the workplace, allowing employees to focus on their work and interpersonal skills.  Overall, volunteerism directly correlates to a positive impact on any company.

How does a company begin to encourage their employees to volunteer?

UnitedHealth Group seems to have the answer: 81% of their employees along with 96% of their executives volunteer in their local communities.  This is more than double what most companies contribute as a whole.  Last year alone, UHG documented 460,000 hours of volunteering.  Kate Rubin suggests that companies should explore volunteer opportunities for their employees that relate to things that are important to them as a company.  Then, set the focus. UnitedHealth Group does this by placing employees together into work teams and providing incentives.  For example, in 2013 anyone who completes 30 hours of volunteering per year, receives $200 to donate to the charity of their choice.  In 2014, that amount is set to increase to $500.

With families and careers, it is no wonder why employees may find it difficult to find the time to volunteer.  However, UnitedHealth Group has solved this problem with an innovative online platform: micro volunteering.  The program allows employees to set up a profile with their skills and interests so that virtual opportunities can be sent straight to their computers.  Volunteering tasks range from accounting and logo design to translation projects; the opportunities are worldwide across 28 different countries.  In as little as 15 minutes, their employees can give back, and if you still think families can get in the way, UnitedHealth Group recently announced their lead micro volunteering expert of 2013: A mother of five, from Colorado.

The Bottom Line:

When people think about wellness they tend to imagine the physical, but Kate Rubin believes, “it’s all about the balance between mental and physical… making sure there is time for work, exercise, friends and family.  That balance is so critical.” In fact, Kate began her New Year’s Resolution early this year by making a commitment to get back into that balance and really focus on her own physical health.  She ended our interview by telling the MSEJ, “It’s a journey. It’s not a destination. I fall down and get back up and try again.”

This article was originally published in the MSEJCASY-MSCCN would like to thank Kate Rubin and UnitedHealth Group for this wonderful contribution to the WorkLife Wellness section of the Military Service Employment Journal.  United Health Foundation is a supporter of the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network and UnitedHealth Group has many strong connections with the military community, including focusing on increasing access and reduced healthcare costs.  UnitedHealth Group also manages three million members of the military in the Tricare West region and was named one of the top 100 military friendly employers by GI Jobs in 2013.  

Success Story: Staci F.

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We are always eager to hear  success stories from our military spouses. We recently received this update from Army spouse Staci F. :

I am 24 and have been a military spouse for about 3 years to my amazingly handsome and strong soldier! We fell in love fast, and after 2 months were married and right away found out he was deploying a week later. We love each other so much and try really hard to stay optimistic and positive when we are faced with challenges and go through tough times.

I have faced many obstacles along the way; one of which was job hunting. With over 8 years combined of professional assistant/nanny, administrative, customer service, managerial, sales, and mortgage & banking call center experience, you would think it wouldn’t be that hard to find a job doing something in which I have experience…and boy was I wrong. It took over 2 years (on my own) of job searching after I lost my job 3 years ago until I finally decided something needed to be done- and fast! I’ve done many temp jobs, a few self-employment jobs, and I’ve even tried to start up my own business (but just didn’t have the time or money to invest in, so it failed).

All of my stress was about to be relieved when a friend of mine told me about MSCCN network and how they are dedicated and very diligent in preparing military spouses for interviews, jobs, and the general working environment. At first, I admit I was skeptical because there are lots of scams out there just trying to sell your information, etc, and I have registered with about 15-20 different temp agencies, staffing agencies, but after very professional and sincere follow ups, consistent communication and almost immediate job recommendations, it was very clear to me that MSCCN truly was out to help me- not hurt me. I am extremely grateful for MSCCN giving me useful and helpful ideas, tips, and information to assist me in finding the ideal job for me.

Thanks so much to everyone (Brenda Lee & Erin, as well as any of the staff or anyone I forgot to mention that dedicated their time and efforts in assisting me in my job search). You guys seriously saved my husband and I from losing everything!!

I really appreciate all of the hard work, patience, and top-notch dedication that I was shown and believe me, I’m telling everyone I know about MSCCN! I just wanted to share my success story, in case anyone is skeptical (like I was) about using MSCCN. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. Best part, it’s free!

I wish you the best wishes in your job search, and may you be treated with the utmost respect and courtesy as I have been. God bless you and most important, thank you for your service (and the service of your relative, spouse, family and friends) and for being a dedicated military spouse.

Best wishes!

Staci F, 24

Ft. Worth, TX

Thanks Staci! If you have employment-hunting experiences that you would like to share with others, please contact Deb Kloeppel at