Michigan Association of Health Plans

MAHP Women Leaders in Michigan Health Care: Nancy Jenkins

Over the month of March, we are promoting the inspirational women who lead Michigan’s health plans. Nearly half of MAHP member plan presidents/CEOs are women and influence the future of health care for residents around the state.

Nancy Jenkins is the president and CEO of McLaren Health Plan. With 41 years of experience in health insurance and managed care, Jenkins received her bachelor’s degree in human resources from Spring Arbor College, and has a Managed Care Executive certification from America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). Jenkins is a designated professional of the Academy of Healthcare Management.

Tell us about yourself career journey.

I feel very fortunate to have entered the job market into a relatively new industry of managed care, which at the time didn’t have a large talent pool of people with a lot of experience. I was never bored because there were always opportunities to learn something new and gain experience, which allowed me to move on and advance my career. I discovered I loved the work we did to help people improve their health and get needed care and it became my passion.

That passion has only grown throughout the years. As president and CEO of McLaren Health Plan, we are committed to serving our members and helping them navigate this complex world of health care.

So much has changed over the years. Today our focus is on health equity and health disparities. I believe everyone deserves the right to attain their highest level of health. We are working to improve our ability to understand and address health disparities and improve health equity for the members we serve.

Over the course of your time as CEO of your health plan, what has been your proudest accomplishment?

I have worked with some amazing people over the years. My proudest accomplishment is identifying up-and-coming talent and mentoring those employees to achieve their career and/or personal goals. I have been blessed in my career to have mentors who placed their trust in me and allowed me to take risks, turn failures into success and continuously learn as I advanced from the mailroom to the president/CEO’s office. It is my great honor to pay it forward to help other up-and-coming leaders.

What would your advice be to a young woman who is entering her career?

  • Be your authentic self. Always be honest and genuine to yourself and others.
  • Find a mentor or someone in the organization who can help you navigate company norms or those unwritten rules and expectations about how business is done.
  • Never stop learning. Ask questions, schedule time with other leaders to learn about their departments; read industry journals.
  • Show initiative. Ask to take on a new assignment or help someone with their project.
  • Take risks. Sometimes it’s better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.
  • Be confident and comfortable with your success. Own your role and don’t second guess or doubt your abilities.
  • You are deserving and capable. You have to respect yourself before others will respect you. Leave the negative self-talk at the door.
  • How you treat people matters.
  • Work effectively with other women and support their success.
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