The Cross Program Summit: Visualizing the Big Picture
Author: Yayi Z. and Hasan R.
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Hartford, Connecticut
Here at the AEDP, we value our actuaries, not just for the traditional hard skills they are known to possess (problem solving, analytical, technical), but also the soft skills they develop over time in a collaborative and open environment (leadership, communication, cross-cultural agility, managing vision & purpose). Our goal is to identify talented individuals and develop them into leaders across our business. And we do this through a variety of means, one of which is the Cross Program Summit (CPS).
Every 18 months, Cigna arranges the CPS: a 3-day event that brings together 250+ young professionals from all of Cigna’s leadership programs. Here they attend presentations and panel discussions on industry trends, enterprise-wide growth strategies, and critical initiatives. The sessions are hosted by senior leaders within the organization, as well as influential guest speakers. Attendees include executives who graduated from one of Cigna's leadership development programs, including our current Chief Executive Officer!
One of the biggest concerns expressed from millennials in the workforce is that they don’t feel sufficiently engaged. The CPS is an opportunity for early career millennials to directly engage with Cigna's leaders and see how you contribute to the organization’s strategy. On a sample day, you could
- find yourself immersed in a Q&A session with the CEO, learning how to influence change from an entry-level position; or
- listen to the CFO explain the effort and planning that underlies an international M&A deal; or perhaps
- get advice from the Board of Directors on how to develop your career and position yourself for key leadership opportunities; or even
- attend an interactive breakout session to discover the organization’s core values and how they align with yours.
In a global company with nearly 40,000 employees across the world, the chance to directly interact with the C-Suite is certainly a rarity. Think of it as a series of TED Talks, except more interactive and endowing you with knowledge that you can put to use at work the very next day.
Over the 3 days of the Summit, you are exposed to team-building and community-service events with individuals from a variety of educational and functional backgrounds. This is an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone, give back to the community, and network with individuals you may not regularly interact with. It is fascinating to see the viewpoints of your peers and appreciate the various facets of an enterprise; this not only makes you more open-minded, it allows you to approach old problems from a fresh perspective.
Whether you find yourself at a lunch-table discussion with an IT professional on leveraging social media to maximize targeted marketing outreach, or (later that night) get into a debate with a health leadership colleague about the merits of dubstep in the modern music scene, one thing is certain: you will not be bored. The CPS is Cigna’s way of rewarding high potential individuals with opportunities to step back from your daily work to engage with senior leaders, network with colleagues, and have a good time.