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Kali Wicks Named Volunteer of the Year for Efforts to Strengthen Community

Kali Wicks said her parents raised her with a strong background in public service, so it’s no wonder why Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana’s 2020 Volunteer of the Year is deeply involved in her community.

“Both of my parents were very, very committed to that, and I learned very early that your community is only as good as the people in it,” Wicks said after being surprised with the honor Monday. “Because of that, if you want a strong community, whether that be your workplace or your city or town, we all have to contribute to make that happen.

“… One thing I have always felt is true about volunteering is that you’re always going to feel better coming out of it than you are going into it. It is going to give you that sense of purpose and fulfillment we all need as people.”

Wicks contributed more than 100 hours of service to a variety of nonprofits and educational organizations in the Helena community. She continually inspires her colleagues through her diverse volunteer efforts and tireless efforts in her role as BCBSMT’s government relations manager.

“I love volunteering, I love being a part of things, I love helping organizations,” she added. “I think this year with COVID, it’s been extremely important for lots of nonprofits to change up their style, be very nimble and work on different mechanisms for fundraising. It’s been really challenging, but I do feel that volunteering and all the hours I have put into this has really helped some of these nonprofits continue to thrive and survive through the pandemic.”

Wicks works closely with Divisional Vice President of External Affairs John Doran and a variety of teams, including communications, community relations, sales, marketing and provider relations.

“Kali is one of the most hard-working, dedicated people I know,” Doran said. “Not only is she committed to representing our business interests at the Capitol, she is also committed to serving her community. She truly embodies the ‘service above self’ character that defines our purpose.”

"I do feel that volunteering ... has really helped some of these nonprofits continue to thrive and survive through the pandemic."

When she’s not at work, Wicks is busy raising her 1-year-old son with her husband, Andrew, and contributing to her community in a variety of ways through advocacy and volunteerism. Especially close to her heart is her contribution as president of the Women’s Foundation of Montana.

“They work to bring more equity into Montana for women and girls, particularly financial equity, working with women on how to save, how to spend, how to make a budget, and to create a Montana that has more opportunities for women and girls,” Wicks said.

She is also vice president of the Career Training Institute in Helena, is the Montana Chapter vice president of the Health Occupations Students of America organizations (HOSA), serves on the University of Montana MPA Alumni Advisory Committee, and is on the development, nominating and event planning committees of the Helena Symphony. She additionally volunteers with the Women’s NEW Leadership program, a bipartisan program at the University of Montana Mansfield center designed to train college-age women as leaders in politics and public service.

Through the first three quarters of 2020, 108 BCBSMT employees have volunteered nearly 2,987 hours of community service to 89 nonprofits, a cash equivalent of $81,240. That’s despite fewer available opportunities throughout much of the year as a result of COVID.

“When I first came to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana about seven years ago, one of the things I really loved about the company was the sense of community and how they foster volunteering,” Wicks said. “It’s not just a line in a book or something that your supervisor tells you. They actually mean it. They are willing to let you go out and volunteer, and really are so supportive of those efforts.”

A Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association