Every person matters: Judy Cruz
"I have been told by various employees through the years that they felt like they were being treated like the Superintendent of Schools when they sit in the chair by my desk and talk to me about insurance benefits" says Insurance Benefits Coordinator Judy Cruz. “I treat every person as they matter … to me that is the #1!”
Nearly 15 years ago, then a parent volunteer, she never imagined that today she would be interacting with so many employees! With three kids attending Marina Vista Elementary (and subsequently Los Arboles Middle and Seaside High), she was tapped to work in the after school program. She did so well that she was asked to be the school librarian and the PTA president. “Juggling three hats at one time was such fun,” she quips!
One day she was about to resign to go to work in the private sector, there was a job vacancy in Benefits. When the then Director of HR learned of Judy's insurance background, having worked at the corporate office of American Savings Bank as a Senior Benefits Representative, she was quickly introduced to Judy Durant and the rest was history as Judy became MPUSD's Insurance Benefit representative in 2003. She took a brief hiatus from 2009-2011 tor pursue an associate degree in health care management, and subbed as school office supervisor at various sites.
“My two years away made me realize and discover a passion for helping folks through their benefit orientation and retiring processes,” Judy says. “The minute I realized the passion is when I really started to have fun at doing my job. To me it was a vocation more than a job!” "I work at MPUSD to make a difference." Judy says proudly. Although working for higher paying companies was highly recommended by close friends working in the Bay Area, she turned them down because she wanted to set an example of what high level customer service experiences should be like in a government agency.
She was in tears when asked to be part of an MPUSD Way story because “it validated why she is here.”
In her role as Benefits Technician, she helps employees transition in and out. “I want people to know what to expect and who their resources are,” she says. She acts as a liaison between the insurance companies, doctors' offices, and employees; ensures premiums are set up correctly; coordinates open enrollment, health fair, and flu shot fair; wraps up end of year processes; helps on COBRA, leave of absences, and billing reconciliations.
She is very proud of her communication with retirees, maximizing resources, such as using her voice mail and email to alert people to provide answers to frequently asked questions; and lastly the creation of the benefits web page! MPUSD is the only school district in region – not one school district or college has a dedicated benefits web page filled with resources for the employees, and prospective employees, to access 24/7.
"I just really want people to know that they deserves to be heard and follow-ed up with in a respectful time frame so they can stay focused on their job instead of their payroll or benefits," says Judy.