Jennifer Danielson: Leading Through Collaboration

Rebecca Palmer

August 1, 2012

Jennifer B. Danielson doesn’t care what job title she has, only that she gets to improve access to healthcare and make it affordable for the community she loves. In the last 15 years, she has worked toward this goal with a talent for listening and a strong inclination toward collaboration.

Danielson was named president of Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah in June. She is the first woman to lead the division in the health insurance company’s 70-year history in Utah.

Danielson started at Regence after working in the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office, the Utah Department of Health and the Utah Attorney General’s Office Health Division. Within Regence, she has worked with public policy officials, healthcare providers and employers to launch new initiatives such as the Focal Point network and Employee Choice product.

“Anytime you’re doing your primary research first-hand and you’re willing to listen and deploy solutions that respond to that, you’re going to accelerate your career, and Jennifer has done just that,” says Regence Insurance Services President Jared Short.

Whether it’s building a business plan or grappling with the big questions of healthcare policy, Danielson believes in cooperation among all stakeholders. “This is not an ‘I-win, you-lose game,’” she says. “We’re all going to invest in this and I’m going to listen to what you have to say, and we’re going to learn from each other, and we’re going to make a good decision.”

Danielson secured her appointment when she laid out a business plan for the company during the selection process, says Short. “The level of sophistication and discipline that went into her thinking gave me every confidence that coming into this job day one she is a strong, strong president for us.”

Part of Danielson’s success comes from listening closely, being willing to ask questions and having the courage to present innovative ideas, but she also credits the men and women she works with every day.

“I don’t think that any leader steps into a position without recognizing that they are a product of a lot of other people’s time and investment. I’ve had fantastic personal and professional mentors along the way,” she says.

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