Giving Back and Other Lessons from Martin Luther King Jr.
As a company, we are especially excited about honoring Martin Luther King Jr. with a day off that we hope our people turn into a Day On and continue in our tradition of giving back and serving, not just our clients and Members, but our communities. Read the message from our CEO about this day of service.
January 15, 2024
Glen Tullman, Chief Executive Officer, Transcarent
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an annual “Day of Service” honoring of one of the most influential people in U.S. history. What makes this holiday different from others is that instead of simply remembering and honoring Dr. King’s accomplishments, we are encouraged to act, to donate our time to people and communities in need. In fact, MLK Day has been referred to as a ‘day on’ rather than a ‘day off’. The holiday is often filled with donation drives, educational programming on Dr. King’s legacy and civil rights, and other community-centered events.
Dr. King has always served as an inspiration for me, and many of his ideas have framed how I think about my own personal responsibility and how we can develop a meaningful, care-focused company culture. Here are a few of his quotes and the lessons that have stuck with me.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”
After leaving Livongo, many people asked why I would start another company? Why not retire? Well, to begin with, I can’t play golf. In all seriousness though, my answer is simple . . . our work isn’t done. There are still too many people who don’t have access to high-quality, affordable health and care. The system is still misaligned, employers are still looking for ways to affordably address the growing needs of their employees, and providers are still lacking the support they need to practice sustainably and be compensated appropriately. We know we can do better.
We work in healthcare because it’s important, and the work we do has the power to positively impact and save millions of lives
“Everybody can be great because everybody can serve!”
When we started building Transcarent, it was a pivotal time in history. We were living through the powerful Black Lives Matter movement, the global community was trudging through an unprecedented public health crisis, and our employees had entered a new stage of work that would, four years later, remain a challenge for culture-building, collaboration, and satisfaction.
One benefit of this reset was that it provided us the opportunity to evaluate what we wanted our company culture to be. We learned and are still learning that people, now more than ever, need meaningful opportunities to gather, to connect, to serve, and to make a difference. That’s what makes ‘work’ worthwhile and satisfying.
That’s why Transcarent embraced a Culture of Care where we provide meaningful opportunities for all of our people to give back. We instituted a Summer of Service offering our people the chance to volunteer during the workweek alongside other colleagues at local organizations in need, dedicating thousands of hours to serve the communities in which we work and the causes that make a difference to us. As a team, we rode thousands of miles together in La Crosse, WI in support of JDRF and their efforts - to create a world without type 1 diabetes and keep people healthy until we do. And when we did get the rare opportunity to bring the whole company together in one place, we dedicated an afternoon to tying blankets and putting together care packages for 400 kids experiencing homelessness in Phoenix side-by-side with one of our key clients.
We learned that no matter how busy our schedules are, everyone can serve at some point . . . and likely more than once . . . each year. These experiences have proven to be invaluable, both for creating meaningful bonds between our team members and doing something positive for people in our communities who need it most.
“No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
I always say that great people make great companies . . . and that’s because it takes a collaborative effort . . . people with different backgrounds, stories, knowledge, and talents coming together to build something remarkable for humanity. No company runs without a team of talented people working together towards one common vision (One Place for Health & Care) and mission (Making it Easy for People to Access High Quality, Affordable Health and Care).
Whether you are a clinician providing high-quality care, a product designer focused on accessibility functions of an application, an engineer writing code on our platform, a marketer making it easy to understand the benefits that are available to our Members, working on our support teams finding the right high-quality location for someone to have surgery, a part of our technical teams keeping our networks up and safely operating, a key person on our finance team billing for our services or a benefits leader taking care of our own people --- every person who shows up, brings great ideas and positive energy, and executes with excellence is valuable . . . actually critical. And we value everyone equally and treat everyone equally and respectfully, whether a teammate, a client, one of our Members or people in the community. We’re all in this together.
My Challenge For You.
On this day of service and recognition of Martin Luther King Jr., my challenge for you is to ask yourself, “What are you doing for others today? How are you making a difference and making an impact, at work, for your community, and for your family?” Whether you are working the line at your local food bank, paying it forward for someone serving you, volunteering to coach or teach at a local school, making a donation to a local charity, voting (more important than ever), or educating yourself on injustices in the world so you can get involved to create a better future, do your best to make sure it’s a day on, not just a day off. And then make every day like that. If you have children, teach them about Martin Luther King Jr., why we honor him today, and how important service is.
I’ll close with two quote that are both appropriate today:
Mahatma Gandhi said: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Smokey the Bear said: “Only YOU can prevent forest fires.”
Translated . . . YOU know what to do and YOU need to do it. Some days it seems like the world is on fire . . . you can help put those fires out!
Thank you for being part of the positive change we are creating at Transcarent and the positive change I’m confident you will create for the world!