Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight

March 2024



By Lois Thomson, South Florida Hospital News, for ACHE of South Florida

It hasn’t taken Juan Awad long to become excited about his new job. Having been named a Market Leader just last April by Florida Blue, the state’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan, Awad is already saying, “It’s exceeded my expectations!” In his position, Awad is responsible for developing, leading, and executing Florida Blue’s local strategy in Palm Beach and the Treasure Coast. The strategy includes the local execution of analytics, products, sales, provider networks, care programs, and local marketing and community relations.

For more than 20 years prior to joining Florida Blue, Awad served in various healthcare leadership positions, mostly for Baptist Health South Florida, and for the past two years as hospital CEO at Ochsner Health, a leading integrated healthcare system in Louisiana. The job at Florida Blue, therefore, is a departure from what Awad had been accustomed to.

“I was on the hospital side for about 20 years, and then I came to the payor side. It’s different, but I really love it. With Florida Blue we do a lot of great community work; we’re more than just a health insurance company, we are a health solutions company.” In that regard, Awad said Florida Blue has community centers where both members and nonmembers can come in and meet with a community specialist (social worker), nurses, licensed agents, and receive answers to questions regarding coverage, insurance, and the like.

Awad said he was aware of Florida Blue’s reputation, but “did not expect my role to be as complex as it is, or as rewarding. What I enjoy the most is the community work.” He said as a CEO he had an opportunity to do that type of work, but what he’s being exposed to here is a different level. “It’s working with community leaders and nonprofits to address some of the community gaps.”

Awad credits parts of his career success to his association with ACHE – the American College of Healthcare Executives. A member for 20 years, Awad first learned about the organization when he was in college, working on his Bachelor’s Degree. His mentor recommended looking into ACHE, saying they do great work in helping to develop and further careers – whether through networking or educational opportunities. “I joined as an undergrad, then through ACHE partnership I learned about hospital fellowships. I got my first job in hospital administration through one of those fellowships.”

He acknowledged ACHE’s role in his existing position as well, saying another member helped facilitate the interview with his current boss. “That connection, that networking, and being involved, being part of the board, building relationships – that’s what got me the job I’m in today.”

When Awad first joined ACHE, he volunteered to help board members find venues or keynote speakers to be part of their educational programs. That resulted in the members asking him to join the board. “I said OK, and the next thing I knew I was being elected for office. I started as a member-at-large, then became networking chair. I was a board member for eight years until I left and moved to New Orleans. Upon returning, the board members reached out to me and said, ‘We want you back,’ and that’s how I’m back on the board this year.”

Awad said he would “100 percent” encourage others to join. “That’s part of what I do as a board member, I advocate for the great work that the chapter does. It’s truly the only reason why I came back to the board, because (I’m) working with great leaders who are very passionate and really care about what we’re trying to do here.”

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