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Meet our Executives

Richard Boals

Richard L. Boals

As president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Richard L. Boals provides his strategic vision and expertise to the state's leading health insurer.

Boals joined Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona in 1971 and has served in a variety of capacities, seeing the company through numerous years of stability and success. Prior to his appointment to chief executive officer in April 2003, Boals served as president and chief operating officer.

Boals is a member of the board of directors for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, as well as for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. He is chairman of the board of directors for TriWest Healthcare Alliance, an organization dedicated to meeting the health care needs of our military. In addition, Boals serves as president and board member of CSA General Insurance Agency Inc., a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona subsidiary.

His commitments don't end there: Boals is active in the community, and has been involved with countless professional and local organizations. He chooses to be aligned with Arizona organizations that focus on youth and education; health, wellness and human services; economic and civic development; and arts and culture.

Recent awards recognizing Boals' role as a community and business leader include the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation's Heroes of Education Award, the Victoria Foundation's Advocates for Education Award, the ASU Alumni Leadership Award, the American Jewish Committee's National Human Relations and Centennial Leadership Awards, the Anti Defamation League's Jerry J. Wisotsky Torch of Liberty Award, and the Greater Phoenix Urban League's Whitney M. Young, Jr. Individual Award.

Boals received his bachelor's degree in accounting from Arizona State University and an associate's degree from Phoenix College. He has completed executive development courses at Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, Haas School of Business at the University of California, Harvard University and University of Michigan. Boals served four years in the United States Air Force before beginning his career at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.

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Sandy Gibson

Sandra Lee Gibson, ASA, MAAA

As executive vice president of Internal Operations for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ), Sandra Gibson oversees BCBSAZ’s actuarial, claims & customer service, enrollment, facilities, finance, human resources, information technology, treasury, and underwriting departments. She serves as vice president and corporate officer on the board of directors for CSA General Insurance Agency, a BCBSAZ subsidiary.

Gibson has been with BCBSAZ since 1988. She began her BCBSAZ career as an analyst and has been promoted to manager, director, vice president, chief actuary, senior vice president strategy and business informatics, executive vice president, external operations and most recently, executive vice president, Internal Operations.

Her community and professional affiliations include serving as past president of the Arizona Actuarial club, membership in the American Academy of Actuaries, and holding the distinguished designation of Associate of the Society of Actuaries. She was appointed by the Governor of Arizona to the Statewide Health Care System Task Force. She serves as a member on the Board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix. She was a member of Class XXV of the Valley Leadership Institute.

Gibson graduated from Arizona State University, summa cum laude, with a bachelor’s degree in education.

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Susan Navran

Susan H. Navran

As executive vice president of External Operations, Susan H. Navran is responsible for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona's (BCBSAZ) strategy, provider contracting relations, sales, marketing, medical services and governmental affairs.

Prior to her promotion to executive vice president, Navran had served as senior vice president and general counsel of BCBSAZ.

Navran has been an attorney in Arizona for over 30 years. Before joining BCBSAZ as vice president of legal services in 1995, Navran was a shareholder in the law firm Sacks Tierney, P.A. in Scottsdale, Ariz. Prior to moving to the Valley, she served as a staff attorney for the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Navran serves as immediate past chairman of the board of directors of Children's Action Alliance, a children's advocacy organization. She serves on the board and executive committee of the Heard Museum and is a former member of the board of the YWCA of Maricopa County. She is a past president of Arizona Women's Education and Employment, a nonprofit agency that provides support, placement, life-management and job-readiness courses for individuals seeking employment. Navran is also a member of Charter 100. She previously served on the advisory board of the Community Foundation's Early Education Funds, and the Arizona State Bar Association's committee on minorities and diversity.

Navran is a member of the Arizona Health Lawyer's Association, of which she is a former director. She is past president of the Arizona Association of HMOs. Navran received the Affordable Housing Pro Bono award from the Arizona Bar Association for legal services to reduce homelessness. She has twice been selected as a "Super Lawyer" in the health care category for the Southwest.

Navran earned her law degree, magna cum laude, from Arizona State University after receiving her bachelor's degree from Bucknell University.

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Karen Abraham

Karen Abraham

As senior vice president and chief financial officer, Karen Abraham is responsible for the following Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) departments: Business Development, Enrollment Services, Facilities, Finance, Investment Management, Risk Management, Support Operations and Tax Management.

Abraham confers and works directly with the respective departmental vice presidents, directors and managers in administrating the operations of the corporation and its subsidiaries.

Abraham also works directly with the president and chief executive officer on the development of long-range plans and policies for BCBSAZ and its subsidiaries. In addition, she serves as treasurer and board member of CSA General Insurance Agency and CSA Enterprises, two BCBSAZ subsidiaries.A member of BCBSAZ's staff since June 1983, Abraham joined the company as a Medicare auditor. During her career at BCBSAZ, she has held the positions of audit manager; manager of cost accounting and budgeting; director of finance; and prior to her appointment as senior vice president, she served as vice president of finance since 1997.

Abraham graduated from Arizona State University in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy. She is a member of the Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Abraham serves as a member of the YMCA Metro board, is a member of the Arizona Town Hall training committee and past panel chair, serves on the WP Carey School Finance Advisory Board, and is a member of the board of the Arizona Society of CPAs. She also serves on numerous committees for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

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Jody Chandler

H. Jody Chandler

As senior vice president and chief service officer for BCBSAZ, Jody Chandler oversees the Claims & Customer Service, Medical Review, Integrated Customer Solutions, Federal Employee Program, BlueCard, Corporate Health Services, Corporate Ombudsman, Employee Development and Operational Excellence divisions. She manages more than 500 employees in this capacity.

Chandler has been with BCBSAZ since 1964 when she joined the organization as a claims processor. She was later promoted to supervisory roles and then managerial roles. Prior to her appointment as senior vice president, she served as claims director and vice president of claims and federal programs.

Chandler has been honored with Today's Arizona Woman's Top 100 Women in Business award and under her direction the federal employee group has received five national Plan Excellence Awards.

Chandler received her associate's degree from Phoenix College.

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Vishu Jhaveri

Vishu J. Jhaveri, M.D., M.S.A.

As senior vice president of Health Services and chief medical officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Dr. Vishu J. Jhaveri, M.D., M.S.A. oversees the development of corporate medical policies and the daily administrative functions of the Health Services Division. In addition to the academics of medical policy development, those functions include: accreditation, medical underwriting, medical claims review, clinical quality improvement, care management, disease management, health promotion/wellness, utilization review and provider credentialing.

Dr. Jhaveri received his medical degree from Bombay University in Bombay, India and completed his pediatric residency at John Hopkins Bayview Hospital in Baltimore. He later became chief resident of pediatrics at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore. He is board certified in pediatrics as well as quality assurance and utilization management.

Dr. Jhaveri has a Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University and taught graduate level courses in health care administration for Central Michigan University as an adjunct faculty member. He is a member of many professional organizations and is a senior scholar with the Department of Population Health at the Jefferson School of Medicine in Philadelphia.

Honored as one of "25 Terrific Pediatricians" in Baltimore Magazine, Dr. Jhaveri practiced medicine in a variety of settings for more than 15 years and was a key leader in forming an IPA in Baltimore. While in private practice, he served in a variety of leadership and administrative positions before joining the administrative ranks of Healthcare Automation, Highmark Blue Shield & Capital Blue Cross, Keystone Health Plan Central, Nationwide Better Health and Coventry Healthcare, Inc. Throughout his administrative career, he has served in various executive capacities such as medical director, chief medical officer, vice president, chief operating officer and executive vice president.

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Elizabeth Messina

Elizabeth A. Messina

As chief information officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ), Elizabeth A. Messina is responsible for managing BCBSAZ's extensive technology infrastructure. Messina provides operational leadership and strategic direction for all application development, quality assurance, information security, corporate project management, enterprise architecture, telephony, and computing infrastructure. Information Technology plays a key role in delivering solutions that drive operational efficiencies, enhance the customer service experience and aid consumers in making better-informed health care choices.

Messina joined BCBSAZ in 2007 after spending 18 years in numerous business and IT positions at IBM as well as 10 years at Aetna. These leadership roles included traditional information technology responsibilities as well as strategic planning, portfolio management and Medicare Strategy Development and Implementation.

A native of Reading, Pennsylvania, Messina received a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1979. In 1995, she graduated from the IBM Global Executive Program sponsored by Pace University's Business Management Institute. She also sits on the board of directors of the Vermont Country Store and Ballet Arizona.

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Deanna Salazar

Deanna Salazar

As senior vice president and general counsel for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ), Deanna Salazar oversees the company's legal division, which provides consulting services to the board of directors and other key executives. This division advises the company in matters such as risk assessment, contracting, regulatory compliance and litigation management.

Prior to joining BCBSAZ, Salazar was a partner with the Phoenix law firm of Lewis and Roca, Senior Counsel with Wells Fargo Bank, and Senior Counsel with Employee Solutions, a professional employer organization. She joined BCBSAZ in 1999, and began her service with the organization as associate general counsel. Before attaining her current position, she was employed as the vice president of human resources.

Salazar is a member of the Arizona and Colorado state bars and Los Abogados, the Phoenix Hispanic lawyer's association. She also serves as a board member for various non-profit organizations, including Valley of the Sun United Way, Fresh Start Women's Foundation and the Phoenix Women's Sports Association.

Salazar received her bachelor's degree from Adams State College and her juris doctorate degree from Arizona State University College of Law.

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Jeff Stelnik

Jeff Stelnik

As senior vice president of strategy, sales and marketing, Jeff Stelnik serves as a leader in the areas of strategy development and distribution, critical functions in the rapidly evolving consumer marketplace. His responsibilities include overseeing the strategy and informatics departments in addition to the sales and marketing departments and CSA General Insurance Agency.

Stelnik is a pivotal member of the BCBSAZ management team, acting as an innovative strategic resource and as a collaborative visionary who provides financial and strategic direction in the changing healthcare landscape.

Stelnik joined BCBSAZ in April of 2009, bringing with him more than 15 years of experience in the insurance industry, with a strong track record of success in general management and financial roles. He graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and quantitative economics.

Stelnik is a board member for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries. He also promotes BCBSAZ's mission to improve health by being an active member of Arizona's running community.

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