Joe Vacca; Vice President of Operational Excellence at Cigna

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For 20+ years Joe has been empowering organizations, teams, and individuals to continuously improve processes and outcomes toward their goals and ultimately achieve Excellence in their chosen business, function, or discipline.  What makes Joe unique is that he has led successful transformation programs across several Fortune 100 companies – and he has experienced the deployment and sustainment phases both as a senior leader of large organizations, as well as an Operational Excellence practitioner.

We explore Joe’s dual Bachelor’ Degrees in Economics and Psychology from St. Lawrence University and how those two disciplines interplayed during his career; where they intersected and where they diverged.  Joe found that hard facts drive decisions, but those decisions are made by people who are greatly influenced by the emotions they feel. 

Joe shares many of his experiences throughout his career.  One subject in which we take a deep dive is comparing and contrasting collegiate engagement that is face-to-face versus that which is largely remote.  Joe relates how he was involved in a lean transformation and the daily huddles were invaluable for level-setting the team, sharing experiences, and creating alignment for what had to be done – but the actual work was performed semi-autonomously.  The huddles helped to build a level of trust so that when people did work remotely, they had confidence in their teammates because they knew them.  His take-away from the experience was that remote working will work, but it will work better if the team increases their understanding of one another and the trust that comes with it.

Joe shares many more experiences and insights and I am sure you will enjoy the opportunity to learn from him.

Host: Joseph Paris, Founder of the;  XONITEK Group of Companies,  Operational Excellence Society & Readiness Institute

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Guest: Joe Vacca

Joe Vacca

About Joe Vacca

Joe has 25 years of leadership experience in Operations and Finance with an emphasis on Continuous Improvement and Enterprise efficiency.  He has worked across Insurance, Financial Services, and Health Care industries at companies including General Electric, MassMutual, Aetna and CIGNA.  He has also invested considerable time assisting community-based organizations with achieving their goals.

Joe has been a practicing Six Sigma Black Belt since 2004, with ASQ certifications for Black Belt (CSSBB) and Lean (LSC).  He has a bachelor’s degree in Economics & Psychology from St. Lawrence University (summa cum laude) and an MBA from Rensselaer’s Lally School of Management.  He is also a graduate of GE’s renowned Financial Management Program and CIGNA’s Financial Development Program, which he then directed upon graduation.

Joe lives in Connecticut with his wife and two daughters and enjoys outdoor sports and wellness activities such as hiking, running and biking in his free time.

About Cigna

Website: https://www.cigna.com/

Headquarters: Bloomfield, CT

Year founded: INA was founded in 1792; CG was founded in 1912; merged to CIGNA in 1982

Company type: Publicly traded (Symbol CI NYSE)

Company size: ~$150 Billion in annual revenue; 74,000 employees

Specialties: Cigna’s mission is to improve the health, well-being, and peace of mind of those we serve by making health care simple, affordable, and predictable.

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