Gratitude at Optum: A Case Study

February 13, 2020


Twin Cities

February is Gratitude Month at Genesys Works. We hope you already know this, but if you don’t: that means that during this month in particular, we embed within our everyday interactions gratitude by practicing intentional recognition, appreciation, and celebration of the people in our lives. And we encourage the Genesys Works network – supervisors, young professionals, program coordinators – to embed gratitude into their work this month – and beyond.

This Gratitude Feature zooms in on the Optum Technology ecosystem. Young professional Saadaq Shire is thriving in his role – and that’s thanks to his commitment, initiative, and drive. It’s also due to commitment from his supervisor Mahbub Zamen, his account coordinator Mikala Bedor, and his College and Career Connections (CCC) coordinator Thao Pham. These three Genesys Works all-stars work together to ensure that Saadaq is set up for success in his role at Optum, in his postsecondary plans, and in his professional career.


So, we asked Saadaq to slow down for a secondand reflect on moments of gratitude – big or small – for these champions. And then, we asked them to share a message for Saadaq. Here’s what they had to say:

Saadaq: “One moment I felt grateful for Mahbub was during the performance review because that was a time where I really needed his help with an upfront conversation. I’m not the type of person that would be speaking to most people and it still continues to be a challenge but what Mahbub said helped me to keep trying. He had told me that trying to speak more would be the best way to grow the connections you create with others.”

“I have seen many times of gratitude and thankfulness that appear in our relationship and I hope it continues in the future. I believe that my thought process is much faster and confidence with speaking up on ideas that sometimes lead to right ideas in the end is something that grew because of Mikala. I am thankful to have her on my team!”

“Thao comes through for the interns and that’s something that she is proud of doing not because it’s her job. I have seen gratitude and thankfulness appear many times in our relationship whether it was her one-on-one meeting about colleges or missing materials, whether it was during the CCC meetings and addressing important information pertaining our college path. I am grateful for having Thao on my team this year because I’d be in a different situation on my career journey if it wasn’t for her.”

And, what messages of gratitude did they have to share for Saadaq?

Mahbub: “Saadaq, I am fortunate to have you on my team, and thank you for your hard work and dedication. I truly enjoy mentoring you.”

Thao: “Saadaq, I appreciate your leadership, your passion for technology, and how you are self-driven. I hope you continue to inspire your peers to follow in your footsteps.”

Mikala: “Saadaq – it has been an absolute pleasure getting to know you and watching you grow throughout your internship. You bring so much drive and passion into everything you do at Optum and it shows with the questions you ask, the way you carry yourself and the additional work that you’ve taken on. Thank you for being an outstanding young professional! I am excited to see what you will have accomplished by the end of the year!”

Gratitude matters. Share it. Say it. Do it.

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