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April 26, 2022 • Ametros UpdatesEducation

Changing the Narrative of Work Comp

How did work comp become such a misunderstood system and underrated career? When its sole purpose is to help those who are injured after a workplace accident, why do we find ourselves overcoming many of the negative stigmas surrounding this system today? Even one of the most famous modern-day cartoons, SpongeBob, aired an episode where an injured worker leverages a workplace accident as an opportunity to ‘blackmail’ the employer (The Krusty Krab in this case).

People often meet the world of work comp when they are injured on the job. In this episode 0f the It's Settled: The Ametros Podcast, Shawn Deane, General Counsel and SVP Risk Management & Compliance for Ametros, interviews Kristen Chavez, President of Kids’ Chance of California. Kristen discusses how she found her calling in work comp and shares how it led to a purpose-driven and compassionate career. She discusses changing the narrative of work comp, why someone would want to start a career in it, and the impact work comp initiatives can make for injured individuals and their families. If you’re curious where you can make a positive impact in your work comp career or wondering if work comp has an opportunity for your skillset, this conversation is for you. Tune into our latest episode with Kristen to learn more or read the highlights of their conversation.

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Key Points Discussed

  • The impact of the media on workers' compensation
  • Finding meaning and purpose in a workers' compensation career
  • What steps the industry needs to take to change the narrative of workers' compensation
  • Recruiting the next generation into work comp
  • Work comp initiatives that are making a difference in the industry and for injured individuals

Kristen Chavez (00:00):

News shouldn't lean one way or another. And so Comp Laude really let David have that opportunity to showcase what he wanted to about our industry, to really try and change the narrative, because it is a positive thing. It's a benefit delivery system. I think people tend to forget that. It's a benefit delivery system, it's not anything else for that. And it's intended for the employer and the injured worker.

Shawn Deane (00:23):

Welcome to It's Settled: The Ametros podcast. Each episode, we're going to dig into the humanity in workers' compensation and insurance claims, exploring the stories of injured people and those who support them as well as the good work professionals are doing in the industry. And now I invite you to join me, Shawn Dean General Counsel and SVP Risk Management & Compliance of Ametros, and the host of It's Settled. Now it's settled. Let's get on to the episode.

Shawn Deane (01:02):

Couldn't be happier to have Kristen Chavez here this morning, President of Kids' Chance of California. Full disclosure, You're gonna be listening to this for viewers at any time, but it's on a Friday and Kristen agreed, who is on the west coast, obviously to be here at a very early hour for her. So thank you, Kristen, for joining us. It's such an early hour.

Kristen Chavez (01:27):

Of course, you know, that's what coffee is made for.

Shawn Deane (01:31):

Well I was gonna ask you, I asked many of the guests, if they have a beverage. Green tea is my drink of choice. So that's what I'm having. So what do you got going?

Kristen Chavez (01:41):

Coffee. So, I am a coffee girl. I love home coffee, um, more than any coffee out there and then I go the McDonald's route. Um, yeah, I love McDonald's coffee.

Shawn Deane (01:52):

That's kind of interesting. And, and obviously this is, we focus on workers' compensation, and injured individuals, but now I'm terribly curious. I gotta know, typically the home coffee people, um, I don't wanna say coffee snobs. I'm not putting labels on it, but usually they drink really high quality coffee and they have a press and stuff like that.

Kristen Chavez (02:15):

No. I'm the Target brand, with a good old 12-cup pot, you know that you make it at your own? No, I'm not the single cup person. And now I'm like, you know, donut shop coffee, whatever the brand is and yeah.

Shawn Deane (02:29):

Just making fair enough, but you're not like a table spoon of Folger's instant coffee.

Kristen Chavez (02:33):

No, no, no, no, not that either. Not that.

Shawn Deane (02:36):

All right. Yeah. So for, uh, all of viewers out there who wanted to hear about barista skills, <laugh>, I'm gonna, I'm gonna transition to work comp. Okay. And I've known you in the industry for years and have sort of seen you all over the place. You're one of the busiest, most influential, one of the most visible folks in the comp industry, in such a positive way. I know a little bit about your background, but just let folks know. How did you get involved in the comp industry? Like, did it find you, did you find it?

Kristen Chavez (03:16):

Oh, no. It found me, so how I started was about, we're going on...This will be the 18th year in the industry. Okay. Um, so it started with a one month project. My mom worked for WorkCompCentral. She was the Office Manager for David. Um, and he was like a three person company at that time. And he was creating his calculators. So a lot of the work comp professionals in the industry. So especially California used the calculators that are on the website. So, he was building those and he needed all the data put into them. And so she's like, "Hey kid, you're gonna come do this month project." Um, me and David hit it off. He needed some other things built and EDEX was one of 'em. And so that into customer service and he's like, "Hey, the phone phone is ringing, answer it" to then after that, any department he wanted to create, I was there to help him do it. And so that's how I learned so much about WorkCompCentral. That's why I knew where every bolt needed to be.

Shawn Deane (04:11):

Gotcha. And what, so when you got involved, sort of by accident, what drew you, obviously you've stayed 18 years later. So what, what drew you to work comp and what has kept you here?

Kristen Chavez (04:27):

So, probably I'd say the first 10 years was a job. You know, I had two kids, um, three somewhere in there. The third guy came along, so it was a job, it was a great company. David was amazing to work for, so that's kinda what kept me. And then once he kind of had that shift with the Comp Laude awards, you know, once he started having that vision, I fell in love with that concept. So before I was very ops oriented with WorkCompCentral, so I just cared about how we operated, what we did, we provided to the service. Comp Laude really made me start getting involved into the industry. I don't know if anybody knows about Comp Laude, but that's an event that we do or they do every year, and injured workers are even involved.

Shawn Deane (05:16):

That's awesome.

Kristen Chavez (05:17):

They attend the event.

Shawn Deane (05:18):

I was hoping you talk a little bit about Comp Laude and David DePaolo's legacy.

Kristen Chavez (05:23):

Yeah. And with that, getting the injured workers to attend the event to come and participate, to be on panels, you know, the pictures that we have of them walking around with the other attendees, to the later years, even after David's passing, that the the injured workers would start bringing vendors to possibly sponsor. One set up a call and was like, "Hey, you know, I know that the people that set up my ramps in my home, you know, they could use more business, you know, they should be, you know, so let's have a discussion with that." So that the injured workers really started engaging in it as well. Um, that was really when I think I fell in love and really got to understand our industry and how much good we do. Um, especially with, you know, on the news publication side with WorkCompCentral, I mean, fraud is out there. You know, it's regulatory, regulators control everything, they're just doing what they think is best as a whole. They have to look at the whole picture. So again, we're just reporting on that too. There's so much positivity in our industry. There's so many companies out there doing good things. They do try out there. I know, again, it has a negative concept. You know, I showed David an episode of SpongeBob about workers' compensation. Did you know, there's a SpongeBob workers' compensation episode?

Shawn Deane (06:47):

No, I'm gonna have to look it up now.

Kristen Chavez (06:49):

You will and I showed him it, and it puts a negative or you know, you're just gonna get money for a minor injury. And that's not what it was intended for.

Shawn Deane (07:00):

Was someone injured at the Krusty Krab?

Kristen Chavez (07:02):

Yep. SpongeBob was. Yeah. Yeah. So you'll have to look it up. Um, I don't I'm, I'm like, it's been a while since I've talked about it, but that's only..

Shawn Deane (07:11):

You don't, you don't know the episode number, come on Kristen.

Kristen Chavez (07:13):

I think he gets a splinter or something, and then they say...Squidward tells him like, oh, you can get workers' compensation. And he's like workers' compensation? And they like, put like these like these sparkles and everything and "oh you get paid for", you know, and so it's like the media puts this stigmatism and this, this idea in the minds of people that don't understand it.

<laugh> I think he gets a splinter or something, and then they say...Squidward tells him like, oh, you can get workers' compensation. And he's like workers' compensation? And they like, put like these like these sparkles and everything and "oh you get paid for", you know, and so it's like the media puts this stigmatism and this, this idea in the minds of people that don't understand it. I mean, we you know, we go to conferences every year to learn about workers' compensation, because it's always changing. It's trying to become a balanced system, you know, cause it's always, oh one leaning one way or not. So with WorkCompCentral, always reporting, news shouldn't lean one way or another. And so Comp Laude really let David have that opportunity to showcase what he wanted to about our industry, to really try and change the narrative because it is a positive thing. It's a benefit delivery system. I think people tend to forget that. It's a benefit delivery system. It's not anything else. And it's intended for the employer and the injured worker. I mean, you know, we get to benefit from it and you know.

Shawn Deane (08:29):

This is exactly what I wanted to talk about with you. I was so struck, I was fortunate enough to get to speak last year. I got to speak about parallels between the COVID pandemic and being isolated and having, I mean, we all had this sort of shared experience of being, you know, shut in and isolated and potentially going through some difficulties with maybe our work or uncertainty around finances or sickness or illness. And I sort of had this concept of, you know, there are parallels that we can draw as workers' compensation professionals to empathize with injured workers because they're going through it. And we've, we've kind of gone through that shared experience. And I was delighted that the folks there liked the concept and let me talk about it.

Shawn Deane (09:27):

And I think if we can take away some of that sort of bad stigma, it will enhance delivery of vital services to these folks. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, and it will also, I think potentially attract a others to an industry who, who have an altruistic point of view and wanna help people.

But then when I was watching some of the panels, it really is exactly what you say and it's bringing everyone into the fold and sort of addressing this stigma, I think to your point, that's been around workers' compensation where it's this adversarial system, it's an employer, not really trusting a Squidward. Yeah. You know, and, uh, it, I don't think it can be looked at it that way. It, it is a benefits delivery system. And I think if we can take away some of that sort of bad stigma, it will enhance delivery of vital services to these folks. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, and it will also, I think potentially attract a others to an industry who, who have an altruistic point of view and wanna help people. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I was the same way initially it was a job and then it was sort of a vocation for me of like I really want to help people. And that's why I came to Ametros and that's why I ended up getting involved with Kids' Chance, my chapter here in Massachusetts. But you are the president of, I have to imagine the largest chapter in the country. So how did you get, well, let me back up a little bit. So you worked at WorkCompCentral, mm-hmm <affirmative> um, you got involved with Comp Laude, where did your work comp career path wind?

Learn More About Kids' Chance

Kristen Chavez (11:05):

So now I'm now with Gallagher Bassett, very excited about that and loving it. I'm an Account Executive out here in the Western region for the Risk Management department. Yes. Longest title ever. <laugh> but I love it. <laugh>, and I have been here six months, so yeah, still very involved with WorkCompCentral. Yvonne has me, you know, plugged into Comp Laude, very grateful for that. Because she knew my passion for it. So now out here learning the TPA world and Gallagher Bassett and, you know, very excited, the team's very welcoming, everything that I kind of heard about Gallagher Bassett has been true. So I'm, I'm enjoying.

Shawn Deane (11:54):

Very cool. So yeah. Now to fast forward, a little bit to your current role, President of the chapter in California. I'm curious how you came to get involved with Kids' Chance, it's such an organization that's so near and dear to me and I really wanna spend some time talking about it, but I would love to know your path that led you to Kids' Chance of California.

Kristen Chavez (12:18):

Yeah. So 2015, again I fell into it and very happy I did, one of the best things that I could have fallen into. So 2015, maybe a little bit before that, David started getting involved, obviously who couldn't, like you said, who couldn't, love this, this organization? Especially that it's something for our industry. So, he was starting to get involved, seeing what he could do and then he passed away in July of 2016. And with his involvement, what he was trying to do, Kids' Chance of California created the David DePaolo Memorial Scholarship. And so with that being the liaison between the company and Kids' Chance of California and then me learning more about it and what it did and that they were so gracious enough to create a scholarship; they could have just made a donation but that there is a scholarship and they wanted to do something that would create a memory for him and, and keep his legacy.

Shawn Deane (13:33):

Yeah.

Kristen Chavez (13:33):

There you go. Um, going on and so that's great. And actually this year we brought in his daughter, she's gonna help me chair it since she has that DePaolo name.

Shawn Deane (13:45):

So cool.

Kristen Chavez (13:46):

So yeah, so she's getting involved and another young person we're trying to bring into the industry. So, I fell in love and, you know advocated, you know, did everything, I could raise money, talked to people about it. Then was on a committee and then they said, "Hey, would you like to throw your hat in the ring? Um, for it. And I was like, sure, why not?" And then was appointed and it's a six-year term. So the last two years I was President elect for two years. I'll be President for two years and then I'll be Immediate Past President and each one has their different duties to come in. So yeah. So you get to learn a lot about the organization, the kids. I do have to say, you know, this year, this last year we awarded 51 students.

Kristen Chavez (14:45):

And that it's not just insurance. It's not like you're just gonna be sitting at a claims desk, there's so many areas in our industry, marketing, digital attorneys, doctors, like there's just so many different areas, there's opportunities and it's an industry that does care. So I'm hoping that we can kickstart that program and really offer more to the kids as well as the industry.

Wow. I know <laugh> um, so we're really looking at ways to get more, because before, when it was like 10 students, you know, 20 students a year, that's something you can kind of like, okay, that's something I can do, but trying to get 51 students together...so we're really putting our heads together to do student engagement. We put it on some of the committees to take on that task because we do want to help them and we're looking at The Transitions, that's a mentor program. I'm actually a mentee. I just had a meeting, I'm going through the mentee process as well. But we're looking at partnering together possibly to mentor the students that come through Kids' Chance of California, so that we're giving them more resources to help them in their lives, but also show them the wonderful world of workers' compensation. And that it's not just insurance. It's not like you're just gonna be sitting at a claims desk, there's so many areas in our industry, marketing, digital attorneys, doctors, like there's just so many different areas, there's opportunities and it's an industry that does care. So I'm hoping that we can kickstart that program and really offer more to the kids as well as the industry.

Shawn Deane (16:14):

That's awesome. I love the tie in between Kids' Chance, and something I wanted to talk to you about, promoting awareness for the next generation of workers' compensation professionals, and I I'll back up, my apologies, for folks who are listening, who don't know what Kids' Chance is, it's a national organization with state chapters. And I believe there's only one state that doesn't have a chapter at this point, but the mission behind Kids' Chance is to provide educational scholarships to kids of parents who were either catastrophically injured or died in a work related injury. And I mean, for me, there's, there's no better cause that I could get behind. And I willingly love to donate my time, and energy, and money and effort into pushing forward that mission.

Shawn Deane (17:17):

I'm on the board of directors. I mean, we're a much smaller state. Obviously California is the biggest state in the country, but you know, we're talking like five, six scholarships, and that's a big deal for us, and we're looking to grow, but that's incredible. Like I can't even imagine how many applications you get or support staff you need to vet everything there. That's awesome. Do you have any if you can think of it, if you can't that's okay, any particular student or situations that come to mind with Kids' Chance that impacted you?

Kristen Chavez (17:57):

I mean, there's so many, what these kids have had to happen. Most of them to where it's losing a parent, you know, I have a student that lost both of his parents to work-related injuries, and that they still have positivity behind them, you know that they're willing to come, but they're so grateful.

Shawn Deane (18:29):

I was gonna say that they're always so incredibly thankful for the scholarship they get.

Kristen Chavez (18:35):

Yeah. And, you know, being the parent of teenagers uh <laugh> you're like, "you know what kid, like, you know I always ask them to watch these kids because, you know your kids can be ungrateful sometimes.

Shawn Deane (18:50):

I mean, I'm with you. I love my kids more than anything. I have an 11 year old and a 14 year old. I'm with you and it's hard. Yeah. You want them to know there's another side of life. That's much more difficult than they have it. It's hard for them to see, but I'm with you. We get notes all the time about our Kids' Chance kids progress in school and having them indicate what the scholarship means to them. And sometimes it's a difference between them going or not going or getting books or not. It's, again, I can't think of any better cause that I'm involved with at the moment that gives me more satisfaction and joy than to help these kids out.

Shawn Deane (19:43):

And to me, you know, it's an extension of what workers' compensation is. The system is to help people. And you know, you brought up something interesting about there being a tie-in between that and potentially promoting the goodness that work comp has to offer. And I'm curious as someone who's been in the industry for 18 years, yourself, clearly people are retiring in our industry. Folks are phasing out. There's a lot of subject matter that these folks have. I mean, I think of someone like David; I mean, imagine just everything that was up in his head and you were lucky enough to be mentee, you know, you were a mentee mm-hmm <affirmative> and you got to soak some of that up, but you know, think about all the folks that are transitioning out. What can we do? What can we put in place? What are your thoughts on getting folks excited and recruiting the next generation of work comp professionals?

Kristen Chavez (20:49):

Well, that's a great point, cause you don't know what you're missing until it's gone. Mm-hmm <affirmative> You know, I was very fortunate to be in David's presence, to be around him to see him as a leader, he made me who I was as a leader. He was very much a we're not the experts. We hire the experts and let them do their job, and what we hired them to do. Why would you hire somebody that's an expert and then tell them how to do things or what, you know? But there's so much, I didn't learn from him that I wish I would've. Now i'm learning it on my own now. I'm sure you've talked to Bob Wilson, you know, he has his thoughts of we have to figure out a way and you know, I know Comp Laude is the reason or trying to do it, but we have to change the narrative otherwise people are not gonna even look at it.

Kristen Chavez (21:50):

They're not gonna think about it. There's always a negative thought about it, or it's a pay day, that it's a payday for somebody and it's not. Again, it needs to be changed, that it's a benefit delivery system. When we give at Comp Laude, we recognize injured workers, well, we used to call it the injured worker award and they're like, well, what are you awarding them on? Best injury? And it's like, no, right. But the point of that recognition was that they used the system in the way that it was intended. It's recognizing their team, their case management team, the companies that were there to help them get through their injuries, because some of those people, their stories, I mean you know the kids at Kids' Chance have suffered a loss.

Kristen Chavez (22:41):

The injured workers went into work that day thinking they were gonna leave at the end of their shift and go on with their lives and their life has been changed forever. With Comp Laude, the awards process, isn't a 90 day thing. It is a full six month process. And the reason why I'm telling this is so there's three states, there's the pass and fail route. So right away you look at some, but there's a committee that does that. And then there's the vetting stage, and the vetting stage is where they've made it through the first round, they've been vetted. So, the vetting committee calls the nominees and even the injured workers have to go through that process.

Kristen Chavez (23:32):

They're just not guaranteed recognition. So, they go through that and that committee hasn't changed in years because people love that process because we try to give each one an injured worker. And when they talk to those injured workers and hearing their stories and then case managers, I mean even attorneys, you hear their stories and why they're so passionate about what they do. Again, it just renews you, and gives you a breath of fresh air. But the story I wanna tell is that actually somebody called me and said, "Kristen, I know we want to award injured workers and we never usually fail them, but I can't let this person pass. They're not in the right state of mind. And I actually think you should call the nominee and tell them." And so I did, and that person was like, we never would've known, and they got the case manager on the phone and then helped that person. Back to the vetting person, they said they have a great story. And I think if they weren't in this state of mind, I would've loved to have passed them because of what they've accomplished, but where they are and who knows what we did to help that person. There is a point to that, but that story just always sticks out to me because yeah, our industry cares. There's so much good and we still look out for each other.

Shawn Deane (25:02):

I mean in that instance, you could have easily just dismissed them and called them up and said, eh you didn't get picked, or emailed them, but instead...

Kristen Chavez (25:11):

Or the vetting person could have just failed them, just clicked a button and said failed and who knows. But everybody took those steps to help that injured worker. Because again, they didn't choose to be there, an unfortunate thing happened, and that we all took it. And that's the kind of thing I wanna highlight of what our industry can do. And again, it's not just a claim, the claims people, they have a job before them. So I'm not saying don't go that route. We need those people as well. They are amazing, claims adjusters. Everybody in our industry is pretty amazing at what they have to do, what they have to work through on a daily basis. But there are a lot of opportunities and I think we need to really change the narrative. And I don't know, I don't know how to make it more attractive to the younger generation.

Shawn Deane (26:09):

Something you said I think is striking that I haven't really heard. So to me, it's a fresh idea and, and it's so obvious and many of the best ideas are just right there. No one picks up on them, but you talked about the variety of different roles in the workers' compensation ecosystem, so like I'm an attorney by trade mm-hmm <affirmative> I used to do Medicare Set Asides, and then I came over and I'm General Counsel for a company who professionally administers these Medicare Set Asides after the settlement. So we take care of these workers' compensation injured individuals post-settlement. That's just one little tiny thing, but you said it, you rattled them off. You said, "Hey, there's sales, there's marketing, there's IT support, and then you have an entire medical side of things. You have case managers and nurse case managers and physicians, and then you have the legal side of it. You mentioned attorneys and there's ALJs and there's support staff for those attorneys.

Kristen Chavez (27:16):

Marketing for those firms.

Shawn Deane (27:17):

Because I think, and this is just my opinion, when you say insurance or workers' comp, you think of an individual in a small dusty room behind a desk with a file, and it's an adjuster and you're right. I mean it's so not that way, but you're hundred percent correct. And you know, the adjusters out there are doing God's work too. I mean, they're amazing, without them, there would be no workers' compensation system, but if someone has a particular skillset, even like I'm making it up, they want to go into the mental health field. There's still a spot for them.

I mean, on and on, you could go down the list, but I love that you brought that up. Because I think, and this is just my opinion, when you say insurance or workers' comp, you think of an individual in a small dusty room behind a desk with a file, and it's an adjuster and you're right. I mean it's so not that way, but you're hundred percent correct. And you know, the adjusters out there are doing God's work too. I mean, they're amazing, without them, there would be no workers' compensation system, but if someone has a particular skillset, even like I'm making it up, they want to go into the mental health field. There's still a spot for them. Within workers' compensation or if someone's a creative and wants to do graphic design, there's a spot for them in the workers' compensation industry. So I love that. I love that concept. I'm so glad you mentioned that.

Kristen Chavez (28:21):

Yeah. I mean, on the graphic design, you can either go work corporate, there are corporate jobs where there's companies, or there's other sides where, you know. There's so many mom and pop shops out there in the different spaces too, that if you want that feel, I mean, and there's so many organizations out there that you can get a feel like, okay, I wanna try graphic design as an independent contractor cause there's so many different sizes of companies in our industry as well. You know, I went from a mom and pop, I think at the most WorkCompCentral, we had 29 employees to now corporate world. I'm like, oh, this is a completely different world. They're both great, but you get different experiences on both sides, you know, where corporate, you know, you have levels and different things and mom and pop, you might be taking out the trash tomorrow.

Shawn Deane (29:17):

You're wearing a lot of different hats.

Kristen Chavez (29:18):

Yeah. So, and again, you can try it and you know, this industry, as big as it is, as small as it is, and you know, many people wanting to help other people and welcoming and you could try different states. I mean, every state is its own thing. Maybe I should reach out to Bob and figure out how we really change the narrative. But again, you wouldn't necessarily even need Hollywood in that world to change and help it.

Shawn Deane (29:56):

I think it is unfortunate because it's so not what it is. I've talked to countless injured individuals and their counterparts about their workers' compensation claim, and they have nothing but amazing things to say about the support they got and the things that were so far above and beyond their job duties that they went out and I mean, going to their house and bringing them food. I mean, really stuff that gets down to the core of humanity, of people, helping people.

Oh and pop culture, well you called it! I mean, I think you're a hundred percent right. In popular culture and even the sentiment amongst lay people look at workers' compensation, I think in two ways, negatively and incorrectly. They look at it as someone trying to get benefits when they're not entitled to them, or it's the employer looking at the employees 'oh they're trying to pull one over on us'. So it's entirely adversarial. I mean, and not to keep talking about SpongeBob, it's the SpongeBob. Yeah. Squidward getting hurt. I think it is unfortunate because it's so not what it is. I've talked to countless injured individuals and their counterparts about their workers' compensation claim, and they have nothing but amazing things to say about the support they got and the things that were so far above and beyond their job duties that they went out and I mean, going to their house and bringing them food. I mean, really stuff that gets down to the core of humanity, of people, helping people. And I don't, I certainly don't have all the answers, but I think you hit the nail on your head when you said change the narrative. And I think people at their core, I at least like to give them the benefit of the doubt and think that they wanna do good to help people. And if you wanna do good to help people, there's no better industry than workers' compensation in my mind. Cause that's what you're doing.

Kristen Chavez (31:36):

Right. And, so really quick on the point too, think about it, I'm gonna keep doing this SpongeBob thing too, but what age is that already targeting and planting in children? About workers' compensation. That's it, that's targeted towards kids. Cause I wasn't watching the episode. I happened to be walking through my house and I and I can remember I stopped because I heard they went 'workers' compensation' with like, these sparkles and I'm like, so I'm paying attention now. And again, it's implanting something of what it's not into children. I mean, how many kids watch SpongeBob? So I mean, again, how are we in the industry going to combat that? That's where until we change that and we just really have to push and maybe Comp Laude would be the vehicle. I'm not trying to, I mean, I'll always push it, but it's one of the ones that does have everybody come to the table at once.

Kristen Chavez (32:40):

And how do we all agree that we're going to showcase the positive? Because I've interviewed a lot of people saying, how did you get in? And it's like, I fell in, I needed a job. I did this. And how do we get it to where we're getting more people in? Is it getting at the college level? Is it finding a company that will support their employees, going to colleges and recruiting there, talking about it, finding all the job fairs when they're going on, do a road show, with all the universities across the nation and talk about how amazing our industry is.

Shawn Deane (33:25):

I think all those things and I think even younger than college, I mean, you said it, I promise it'll be my last SpongeBob reference <laugh> but if in a pop culture cartoon and kids are getting that message, what does that say about the industry? I wrote an article called 'I Want to be in Workers' Compensation When I Grow Up' and I wrote the article because I one, love the industry, but I also wanted that as a search term in Google. If you Googled that search term before I wrote the article, it didn't exist.

Kristen Chavez (33:58):

Oh, okay.

Shawn Deane (34:00):

On the entire internet. So no one had ever put those words into the internet.

Kristen Chavez (34:05):

<laugh>

Shawn Deane (34:05):

Now, if you go, "I wanna be a lawyer. When I grow up, I wanna be a doctor, when I grow up, I wanna be a firefighter. When I grow up, I wanna be an astronaut. When I grow up, I wanna be president when I grow up, those are great lofty goals. But for someone, I haven't been quite as long, 14-ish, years. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so I have a few years to go, and in an industry I love, I wanted those words on the interwebs because I want a kid someday to search it and go, "oh, that's, that's there, someone's spoken about this." Right. Um, but I, I think you're right. I think it's all those things. I think a road show is a fantastic idea, from elementary, secondary colleges, to get the word out because everyone I talk to on this podcast, including my own experience, "it's the industry found you and <affirmative> you fell into it." It came at you. You didn't have a choice. I want folks to have an informed choice to go, "that's where I want to go."

Kristen Chavez (35:13):

So can I give you a person that I think would be interesting for you to talk to?

Shawn Deane (35:17):

Yeah, absolutely. This is what this is about.

Kristen Chavez (35:20):

Do you know Jeff Adelson?

Shawn Deane (35:22):

I don't.

Kristen Chavez (35:23):

Yeah. He is an attorney out here in California. He actually wanted to come into the industry. He's an individual that I think you should talk to and hear his story. He talks about it. So, he's with Adelson McLean. I hope I said that, right. Jeff don't hurt me if I didn't. But I can share his contact info. I mean he's on LinkedIn. He's a great gentleman. He has a wealth of knowledge. David knew him and that's how I was introduced to him. Great guy. Hear his story you know, he had the intention of coming into the industry.

Shawn Deane (36:01):

That's great. I love it. I mean, I speak with folks like Mark Pew and Claire Muselman and you, and when I think of it, that's like the triumphant of the work comp, the Titans, and it's always the same thing. And that's great that I'm the same way. It kind of found us, but I wanna flip the script and, and find other people. So I'll definitely reach out to Jeff and make contact with him. Could you talk a little bit about Transitions?

Kristen Chavez (36:33):

Yeah. Let's talk really quick. I want to flip it where we're talking with people and they're like, yes. I found the industry. Like I heard about it in college. Yes, so hopefully we'll start seeing that. If we really get a good campaign going, but I love it. Yeah. Let's talk about The Transitions. Another great thing that I'm so excited about.

Shawn Deane (36:58):

Yeah. Tell us what it is about and what the mission is.

Kristen Chavez (37:01):

It's been great so far. I did that. So it's a mentor, mentee program.

Shawn Deane (37:06):

So, Melissa Coleman here, who runs our marketing program is involved in it, but I don't know a whole lot about it. I looked quickly. I looked it up on LinkedIn and it talked about the mission being to promote workers' compensation. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, and to recruit the next generation of individuals.

Kristen Chavez (37:27):

And it's for anybody, wherever you are in your career. So, one, if the project that I talked about before does go through, I wanted to understand what the kids would be going through. But two, I have 18 years of experience in the industry, but I know I have so much to learn. So that's why I I'm doing the mentee program. It's a great thing. You fill in an application, you know when you talk about yourself, I think I probably the worst job ever. I was just like, I am blah, blah, blah. But you put in your information and then it has a database of people that have been vetted on their side, and it's a vetting process. And then it tells you how much time they can give, what they do, what their experience is, and you can select your mentor.

Kristen Chavez (38:14):

But on top of it, you then also have an executive, somebody if you need additional resources or whatnot. But it's to really help you find who you are, what you want to accomplish, and just have that resource. Because I never would've thought about finding a mentor, like the intention. I have mentors. I have a lot of great mentors in the industry, especially after David died, they picked me up, put me under their wing and did a lot across all sides. You know, I've been very fortunate, that WorkCompCentral was kind of like the median. So I have friends all across and they've been great. Again, for anybody that's listening, that's not in our industry, our industry is great. We do a lot of good.

Kristen Chavez (39:10):

We're not perfect. That's the biggest thing, is we're not perfect. But with The Transitions, you get to select it. So I'm at the stage right now where I did the application and now have to go search the database. But you have to have the intent. And if you don't have the intent, it's not going to work for you. And so that's where I need to put my intent, and go find my mentor. But I am very excited; when Melissa talked to me about it when I saw it at the conference and what it's trying to do, it's like, yes, that's what we need we need.

Kristen Chavez (39:47):

And this is probably gonna be bad to say, but you know, we'll see, we need a fraternity. We need something like that. Like that bond, you know? This thing of our industry and fraternity, I don't know what I'm trying to say with fraternity, but you know what I'm saying? Like people 20 years after they're out of college have a fraternity, they go to their fraternity stuff. It's a brotherhood, connection, community, that kind of thing that you know you can kind of link yourself to, if that makes sense. And I think with the The Transitions, you get your mentor, you create that, you see other people that are in the program, and you can eventually then maybe become a mentor. And again, there are different ways to get out there. And to see these different generations going through it, new people coming and you're like, yay, come to our world and get to see different sides of somebody that's 18 years in. I, you know, being at a company that you think knows everything, because we were reporting on all 50 states, you know, knowing all what's going on in 50 different ecosystems...

Kristen Chavez (40:59):

I still have so much to learn for myself as well as for my current employer, for my future self for that.

Shawn Deane (41:10):

So I'm gonna leave you with this question. And I don't mean to put you on the spot, but I'm gonna do it. So it could be your 18-year old self. It could be any 18 year old. Maybe they're coming out or thinking about going into college, or coming out of high school. What would you tell them? What would be your elevator pitch to say work comp is for you?

Kristen Chavez (41:39):

All right. Work comp is for you.

Shawn Deane (41:42):

And here's why...

Kristen Chavez (41:43):

Here's why let's see...You can make a career out of workers' compensation, no matter what your passion is and still do good things for people that have had unfortunate things happen to them. You can make somebody's day. You can treat them like a human; we are an industry that has that human capacity. And no matter what your passion is, if you're a marketing major, if you're business, if you're an attorney, you will find a community, you will find a passion, and you will find good people, and you will get to help people. And there's probably not many other industries where you can accomplish all of that in one place.

Shawn Deane (42:38):

Full stop. I could not have said it better than how you just articulated it. That was beautiful. Oh, thank you. You, you sold me. <laugh> um, I have so many ideas about how to spread the word, the good word about what a dynamic industry we're in, and would love to have you back. And I'm even thinking maybe with a group of people mm-hmm <affirmative> and maybe some non-workers' compensation folks who are considering it or don't know anything about it, to talk to them about our industry.

Shawn Deane (43:14):

And it would be great to have you back. I appreciate it. It's Settled. We just had Kristen Chavez, President of the Kids' Chance of California on the It's Settled Podcast. Can't thank you enough for joining us. We'd love to have you back again.

Kristen Chavez (43:26):

Yes, I'm in. I love it too. We're gonna get some new people in. Let's do it.

Shawn Deane (43:30):

Let's do it. Thank you.

Kristen Chavez (43:32):

Thank you. And thank you know, I didn't get to thank you. Thank you for having me. I'm so appreciative of it.

Shawn Deane (43:36):

Oh, of course, absolutely.

Speaker 2 (43:39):

Thanks for joining us for this episode of It's Settled: The Ametros Podcast. For more information and episodes, you can visit us at our website ametros.com. That's A-M-E-T-R-O-S.com or head over to iTunes, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app. We hope you enjoyed this episode and look forward to sharing more stories of people overcoming their workplace accidents and bodily injury claims, and those who are working hard to make a difference for them. So it's settled. We'll see you next time.

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