In college I had a close group of girlfriends. We did everything together. But one week no one wanted to hang out with me. Friday came and I schlepped my way through the day and returned to my dorm—alone. I stuck the key in the door and opened it to a room full of friends and a roaring “Surprise!” It was the best birthday party since I was a child!
Tracy Edmonds realized that the final outcome, planned as a surprise party by her friends, was what really mattered in the end—and she still looks at situations with that perspective.
“When I work across the organization, especially when there are conflicting interests, I always try to begin with the end in mind and remind others of the end game that we’re all shooting for,” explains Edmonds—who is now the director of HR Metrics and Analytics for WellPoint. In that capacity she manages a team of six individuals and a $1.27 million budget, providing data, metrics, and analysis on the 37,000 associates within WellPoint to support company strategy and business objectives.
“Early in my career as a leader,” says Edmonds, “I often led associates who were older and culturally different than I was. Some associates paid more attention to our differences than to the common goals and life experiences that we shared, and they had difficulty taking direction from me. That challenge inspired me to appreciate differences, but also to look for common ground with people. As I lead today, I am always cognizant of what makes an individual unique and the common goals that bind us together. I lead my team by leveraging each associate’s unique talents and I bring them together by setting a common vision and common goals and expectations that we support one another as a team.”
“She is a natural leader who is proactive in approach,” explains Edmonds’ Eagle Award nominator, Randy Brown, executive vice president and Chief Human Resources Officer for WellPoint. “Tracy turns challenges into achievements and delivers results on time and on budget. Her high-level performance is achieved with style, class, and excellence.” Edmonds brings what Brown describes as “infectious energy” to all of her teams. “She is very approachable, analytical, and has a keen determination to deliver exceptional results.”
Edmonds explains that since she is accountable for not just reporting data but for also turning it into meaningful insights, she encourages her team to be business people first and metrics people second. “I ask them to think strategically and use data and information to not only answer questions,” she says, “but to create the questions that move the organization forward.”
Edmonds also strives to have a multiplying effect by coaching others to be their best and to be good leaders, and she believes that her purpose in life is to use her own life experiences to benefit others. That commitment extends beyond the workplace as she gives to her community through volunteerism and programs to mentor students transitioning from high school to college and from youth to adulthood.
Meanwhile she also strives to be a role model for her own children, Edmonds explains, teaching them the importance of challenging themselves to do more than they thought they could.
“I believe that there are countless opportunities to positively impact others in our daily lives,” she says. “We just have to be attentive to the interconnectedness of our humanity and be willing to be vulnerable in sharing our stories.”
CareerFOCUS Magazine and the National Eagle Leadership Institute® salute 2011 Eagle Award winner Tracy Edmonds.