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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.  

Veterans Day: Remembering that Number

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24324_506457942804_1714822_nBy: SFC Josh Marquis (pictured)

As November approaches, we often look at the calendar in anticipation of that one day when most health food addicts suffer a significant emotional event.  But nestled quietly between the 10th and the 12th, annotated with neatly printed text, is another significant event known as “Veterans Day.”

“How’d that get there?” we often ask ourselves.

The celebration of November 11th dates back nearly 100 years.  President Wilson took to the national stage on November 11, 1919 to recognize the first anniversary of the armistice between Germany and the Allied nations.  While honoring the brave men who perished during World War I, he referred to this day as “Armistice Day.”  It was celebrated as such for another 35 years before being renamed “Veterans Day” in 1954 after a World War II veteran named Raymond Weeks fought to expand the holiday.  His hopes were to not only honor those veterans who gave their lives for this great nation during World War I, but to celebrate all veterans.  On May 26, 1954, President Eisenhower signed a bill expanding the holiday which would later become known as “Veterans Day” during a Congressional amendment on June 1, 1954.

While “Memorial Day” recognizes those who made the ultimate sacrifice, “Veterans Day” recognizes all Veterans, both past and present, while still honoring all veterans who have passed away, regardless of cause.  But just how many people are we honoring?  According the U.S. Census Bureau (2011), even though 1.47 million veterans are serving on active duty at any given time, there are 21.5 million veterans in the United States today.  That’s just 7% of the population.  Dating back to June 14, 1775, some estimates show an astonishing 100 million people have served in the American military.

Wherever you may be on Monday, November 11, think of that number.  Whether you’re spending the day celebrating with a classic American barbeque, spending the day out with family, earning your next paycheck, or relaxing at home, remember that number.  Without that number, the United States may still be paying levies to the Queen; Europe may be in the hands of the Nazis; the United States may be dependent on the Japanese; Communism may rule the world; Saddam may be in control of the world’s oil; and the United States may have never gotten justice for September 11, 2001.

This Veterans Day, if you know a veteran, hug them, praise them, look them in the eye and shake their hand.  Whatever you do, thank them.  Remember that number because, without it, the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness may no longer be self-evident.

Read more Veteran stories in the Military Service Employment Journal at msej.info

More Opportunities for Military Spouses

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Civilian personnel officials are trying to spread the word about a Defense Department policy change that gives military spouses at overseas and stateside bases more job opportunities.

Exchange and Commissary Positions
Your local exchange or commissary also offer excellent employment opportunities. Visit the Commissary and Exchange section to learn more about these opportunities

Federal Government Positions
Federal Civil Service positions are often listed at the Office of Personnel Management website. Visit the Government Jobs section to learn more about how to apply for Federal positions.

Civilian and Spouse Jobs in the Military
Each service offers job opportunities for civilians in a wide range of occupations.