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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

Sandy Gibson, ASA, MAAA

As Chief Operating Officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCSAZ), Sandy Gibson oversees BCBSAZ’s daily operations, customer experience, financial performance, technology advancements, product design to meet the evolving needs of our customers, and supports the strategic direction of the company.

Gibson has been with BCBSAZ since 1988, starting her career as an Actuarial Analyst and has worked her way through the company to her most current position as Chief Operating Officer.

Gibson serves on the board of directors for Veritage, the joint effort between BCBSAZ and Banner Health System to deliver Medicare Advantage products to Arizonans.

In addition, Gibson serves on the executive committee of the Boys and Girls Club of Metropolitan Phoenix, and on the boards of Valley of the Sun United Way, ASU’s Health Advisory Board, and ASU’s Actuarial Program. She also participates in the Healthcare Leadership Council of Greater Phoenix Economic Council, The Conference Board’s Leadership Council on Advancing Women, ASU Foundation’s Women and Philanthropy and is a member of both the American Academy of Actuaries and the Society of Actuaries.

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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: Actuarial Services, Dental Products, Finance, Facilities, Healthcare Economics, Risk Management Treasury and Underwriting.

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 degree in Accountancy. She is a member of the Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). She’s been named to the list of 50 Most Influential Women in Arizona, and Outstanding CFO by the Phoenix Business Journal.

Abraham serves on the Board of the Arizona Society of CPAs as immediate past chair and is a member of the AICPA Council. 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 BlueCard, Customer Care Service Center, Corporate Health Services, Employee Development, Enrollment, Federal Employee Program, Implementation Management Operation, Integrated Customer Solutions, 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 seven consecutive 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, Network, Contracting and Chief Medical Officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ), Vishu J. Jhaveri, M.D., M.S.A. works to establish corporate medical policies focused on innovative solutions, provider partnerships and consumer engagement.

In this role, Dr. Jhaveri manages a variety of functions including; accreditation, medical underwriting, medical claims review, clinical quality improvement, care management, health promotion/wellness, utilization review, provider credentialing, network services and contracting.

With extensive business skills and a passion to continually develop and strengthen innovations in healthcare, Dr. Jhaveri helps develop BCBSAZ’s corporate strategy and designs/implements payer provider partnerships and payment models that ultimately deliver the Triple Aim of lower costs, improved outcomes and better patient experience. This passion for innovation is also exemplified in Dr. Jhaveri’s role as chief executive officer of the BCBSAZ subsidiary Trinnovate Ventures.

Dr. Jhaveri has served in a variety of leadership and administrative positions in both not-for-profit and for-profit entities, including, Highmark Blue Shield & Capital Blue Cross, Keystone Health Plan Central, Nationwide, and Coventry Healthcare, Inc.

A Board-certified pediatrician with 17 years in direct patient care, Dr. Jhaveri serves as a corporate liaison to the Arizona clinical community, most notably with the Arizona Medical Association, and serves on the board of directors for Veritage/Medisun, a joint entity with Banner Health System.

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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.

Joining the company in 2009, Stelnik is a pivotal member of the BCBSAZ management team. He is an innovative strategic resource and a collaborative visionary who provides financial and strategic direction in the changing healthcare landscape.

With more than 20 years of experience in the insurance industry Stelnik has 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 and serves on the executive committee 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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