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Monday, May 10, 2010

Blues build social media leadership as Shannon Paul joins our team

Have you clicked your way to lately?  Or the walkytalk blog?  Or our Facebook cause page for Michigan health care reform?  Or our Twitter feed?

Or this?

Or this?

Or even this blog?  In a short time, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has certainly established our belief that interactive online communications channels hold value in this new era of communication.  But anyone who knows “social media” will tell you that having a lot of channels doesn’t necessarily make you a leader.  It’s how those channels support your overall business strategy and stakeholder needs.

Do they constitute a symphony, working in harmony to deliver information that delights the audience and tells a story?  Or are they just more noise in a growing cacophony of clanging bells?

Leadership brands that use social media well have two things in common.  They understand what their stakeholder audiences want and need – and they have leaders managing their social media channels who are the maestros of our new age of communications.  Using tools and methods for interactive dialogue, social media leaders can stand and conduct a symphony that thoroughly engages and delights any organization’s audience.

We are pleased to have two such leaders conducting our social media efforts at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Jerome Espy came to us early in 2010 from Detroit Medical Center to be our director of External Affairs.   At DMC, Jerome helped launch and manage a vast array of social media tools, and he rallied support from within the organization to align these new channels to support the organization’s brand positioning and its mission to provide top quality health care for people.  Jerome’s accomplishments in his first three months at BCBSM include all of our new social media channels, including this blog and our new multimedia newsroom.

On June 7, joining Jerome will be Shannon Paul.  She comes to BCBSM from far away Seattle as our new manager for Social Media.  She’s a native Detroiter.  Her return is a good story given Detroit’s lingering challenges with losing smart, young talent to other places… like SeattleShannon’s coming home, and bringing us a well-earned national reputation for her social media leadership.  Her blog is listed in the Advertising Age Power 150, and is required reading in several university classrooms and used as a resource for articles in Information Week, The AtlanticWire, Web Worker Daily and Smart Brief on Social Media, among others.  But it’s what she will do here in Detroit – for Blue Cross – that matters to you.

And there’s that word: “you.”  You are what this is all about.

If the Michigan Blues are to establish true leadership in use of social media, our efforts will enable you to connect with us in ways that enhance your relationship with us, and that enhance your well being.

Our goal is to build and manage interactive channels that engage you in responsible, ethical and productive conversations.  Jerome and Shannon – batons in hand – are prepared to conduct our social media symphony.  You will be invited, very soon, to review their debut performances.

Andy Hetzel
Vice President, Corporate Communications


  1. Great news! Congrats to Shannon and Blue Cross on exciting communications ventures ahead.

    Beckie Thompson

  2. Thanks for the warm welcome, Andy. I'm really looking forward to joining the team with you and Jerome!

  3. Congrats to Shannon and BCBS!


  4. This is an amazing blog post. I get why she wants to work for you. You totally understand social media and the impact it can have on the industry. Shannon is a bright mind and she is one of the leaders in the space.

    I appreciate the roads she has paved to make it easier to break through and thank you for bringing her wealth of knowledge back home to Detroit.

    Insurance is not the least bit sexy and no one likes to deal with it!! I am happy you brought someone in who can translate it and maybe make it to be something the everyday person likes with out cringing.

    Social media is less about the tools but more about how you can touch people.

  5. Congrats! Really looking forward to working with you!

    -Ashley Star Fisher

  6. BCBSM sucks. BCBSM is hiring social media analysts? What about all the widows and orphans being denied healthcare coverage? Go line your exec's pockets with more gold.

  7. Jessica,

    We appreciate your feedback. BCBSM actually doesn’t deny anyone health care coverage. Part of our non-profit mission is to increase access to health care for everyone in Michigan. We fund free clinics and also are a part of Michigan’s MIChild program to help uninsured children. If you have questions about these programs or how to find our lists of free clinics send me an email at

    Links with information:




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