Advocacy and Impact

Scott Mcglaun has led BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) as their CIO for years, and he continues to utilize his expertise, wisdom, and skill to better TechBridge as an integral part of our board. This week, we’ll discuss advocacy and impact with this longtime supporter of our mission!


[00:00:00] Scott Mcglaun: You know, I think about my childhood, you know, it was a, you know, a blue collar, hardworking family. Um, but I was surrounded by three things. Um, love, encouragement, and most important. Advocacy. And as you know, I became an adult. I realized that all of those make a difference in life, but I think the biggest difference maker in terms of changing the trajectory of someone's life is that of advocacy.

Um, the reason we do what we do at TechBridge is because of the impact that we help drive one individual life at a time

[00:00:44] Adam Walker: today on TechBridge Talks. Advocacy and impact. This is where TechBridge shines. We're able to bring technology to nonprofits, allowing them to increase their. And make a bigger difference in their communities.

So stay tuned. We've got a great show just ahead for you.

My guest on the show today is long time TechBridge supporter. Scott Mcglaun. Scott is the CIO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama. Scott, welcome to the show!

[00:01:21] Scott Mcglaun: Yeah. Thanks Adam. Good to see you this morning. Thanks for having me on TechBridge. And I appreciate you, uh, hosted me and, uh, uh, shout out to all the other, uh, TechBridge team members for the hard work that they do every day, driving impact in communities all across the country.

[00:01:38] Adam Walker: That's right. We got a great team, uh, and a great, a great community surrounding that great team. Right. So, and you've been a big part of that. So, I'd love for you to just kind of fill us in. Like, how did you get involved in TechBridge and what's your current role?

[00:01:49] Scott Mcglaun: Yeah, so, um, so I guess this goes back maybe 12, 14 years ago.

So, uh, it wasn't in Georgia at the time. Um, and, uh, the Atlanta technology community was really good at drawing, you know, people, you know, technology executives from across the entire state and, uh, as a part of that got introduced, uh, to, uh, the then CEO of Texas. Um, you know, really liked what they were doing.

It was kind of at this crossroads for me personally, uh, you know, giving back and, uh, leveraging technology, uh, the drive in. Um, and so that's what drew me in. Um, and, uh, when I moved over to Birmingham, uh, about 13 years ago, uh, maybe a year or two after that, uh, James Franklin was CEO at TechBridge at that time.

And I were having a conversation about expanding TechBridge, um, outside of Georgia. Um, and so he and I worked together, um, and brought TechBridge over to Alabama. Um, we started a board, uh, for the Alabama community. Um, and then a couple of years ago, uh, I was recruited to join the national board, uh, in Georgia.

[00:02:58] Adam Walker: That's fantastic. And I think, I mean, I've even seen you at Georgia events, you've even traveled back, you know, back to Atlanta for that, which has been great.

[00:03:07] Scott Mcglaun: I do it as often as I can. I love that.

[00:03:09] Adam Walker: I love that. It's always good to see you even virtually. It's great to see you. So, so let's talk just about technology for a minute.

The pandemic, if nothing else has certainly exacerbated the need for technology, especially in the healthcare sector. Um, how have you seen technology's role shift since 2020 from, from your vantage point as a.

[00:03:29] Scott Mcglaun: Yeah. So, you know, the healthcare industry, like, you know, really most, all other industries saw digital transformation, uh, really occurring at an accelerated rate, uh, during 2020.

And, uh, you know, I would arguably say many companies saw, you know, anywhere from two to four years worth of digital strategy execution. You know, six to nine months period, um, after the COVID pandemic was declared, um, in the states, which was, I guess the first quarter of 2020. Um, you know, so with that, as the backdrop, I'd have to say that the biggest step forward, um, that I think the healthcare industry made during that timeframe was its adoption and leverage of telemedicine.

Um, you know, many people may, maybe you may be, you know, some of your family members saw their primary care physician. Um, and many specialty, you know, uh, care physicians for that matter, through a screen, whether it was their laptop, their tablet, their mobile phone or whatnot. And, you know, so I'd say that was probably the single largest step.

Uh, the industry took. And then secondly, Um, you know, there were significant leaps forward, uh, in the collaboration tools that businesses across the board, not just those in the healthcare industry are using to bring people together regardless of where they are physically located. And, you know, I think those two changes in our industry will, will stick, you know, as, as we, as we go.

[00:04:53] Adam Walker: Yeah, absolutely. And, and honestly, I may not, I kinda love it. Right. It's simplified so many different things. I mean, we're having a great conversation on zoom, recording a podcast, which is fantastic. So yeah. Well, so, so will work still remains to be done in the healthcare sector to better the communities that it serves.

[00:05:11] Scott Mcglaun: Yeah, I would say the biggest challenge in healthcare still remains that of access, access to healthcare providers. Um, and you know, unfortunately socioeconomic status and geography are still far too dominant, uh, determining factors in whether or not someone has access to healthcare. You know, for many healthcare is out of reach, uh, simply because they lack health insurance.

Um, but we're also seeing the development of more and more healthcare deserts as the population in America continues to shift towards the larger metropolitan population centers and away from many rural parts of the country. And what that does is it leaves fewer and fewer healthcare options for those that remain in the rural areas of our country.

You know, we just talked about telemedicine and telemedicine would be a great viable option if only these rural areas, weren't also broadband deserts. And so I still think we have a lot of work to do, uh, in our industry in terms of, uh, you know, ensuring that everyone has access to healthcare. Uh,

[00:06:13] Adam Walker: yeah, we totally do.

We tell, I mean, and you're right, like that, that move to urbanization is really, it's really had a huge impact on those rural areas, but from a connectivity standpoint and from a healthcare state, Um, it's it's so, so true. So, so Scott you've, you've served on lots of boards. You've done lots of mentoring, lots of service.

Um, why do you continue to find new ways to give back to your community? Like what keeps you, what keeps you motivated?

[00:06:38] Scott Mcglaun: Yeah. So, you know, given back is, um, it's always been important to me. It's, it's kind of in my DNA. Um, you know, when I was a kid, you know, my parents, uh, taught my sister and I, the importance of giving and, you know, as I matured into a young adult, um, you know, I thought that predominantly.

You know, giving financially. Um, but as I got older, maybe in my late twenties, early thirties, I realized, you know, not only the importance of given financially, but you know, the importance of giving in additional ways, like with my time, um, and using my influence to benefit others, um, You know, I think about my childhood, you know, it was a, you know, a blue collar, hardworking family.

Um, but I was surrounded by three things. Um, love, encouragement, and most importantly advocacy. And as you know, I became an adult. I realized that all of those make a difference in one's life. But I think the biggest difference maker in terms of changing, you know, the trajectory of someone's life. That of advocacy.

And so, you know, as I think about it, we all have a personal platform. And, you know, when I use that phrase personal platform, I'm using it, you know, to represent the power that, you know, we each have with our own, you know, network, um, the positions of leadership for which we've been entrusted, um, the influence that we have within that network and the opportunities to create impact through that network and through those positions of leadership and.

In a week, like many other things, we can use that platform for our own good, or we can use it for the good of others and not choose to use mine, to advocate for others. And I think everyone deserves to have the benefit of advocacy, especially when you consider how impactful it can be on someone's life.

And I also believe there's never going to be a shortage of people lacking, um, in advocacy. And so I think there's always going to be new and much needed ways of giving.

[00:08:38] Adam Walker: I love that. I love that. And I, and I appreciate your, your heart in that, you know, I can, I can say from my own personal experience, you're a very giving person and I can't tell you how much, you know, TechBridge appreciates all the, all the help and support that you've given over so many years.

Um, so. As you know, TechBridge has we got a lot of initiatives. We were working across four pillars, hunger relief, homeless support, social justice, and workforce development of the kind of current initiatives that we're working on. What makes you excited? Right.

[00:09:08] Scott Mcglaun: Yeah. You know, it's, it's a really hard question.

I mean, you, you mentioned the four pillars and there's, there's so much good, you know, that's done, um, partnering with nonprofits and communities driving impact across those four pillars. But you know, if, if I had to pick what you're asking me to pick, um, I would have to say workforce. Um, and I'm probably going to butcher this, but there's, um, you know, there's a, one of these proverbial, you know, sayings or adages that goes something along the lines of, um, if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach that man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.

And so when I think about TechBridge, um, We support programs that are, uh, maybe stop gap in nature. So like connecting people to homeless shelters or soup kitchens, um, to me, that's analogous to providing fish for the day, um, if you will. And so then once food and shelter in place, you know, then along comes workforce development.

Um, and I think that's where we teach people how to face. And we know by doing so we feed them for a lifetime. And so for me, you know, closing that digital divide and positioning people to achieve a livable wage. I mean, man, that, that right there is some life-changing stuff. And I think it creates a huge disruption, um, in the cycles of poverty and generational poverty, which is, you know, really at the core of what TechBridge is.

Yeah, that's

[00:10:40] Adam Walker: right. That's right. Ending generational poverty with the use of technology. And I think, I think we can do it. I think we can do it together. So. All right. So, so the last question, you know, Scott, uh, you're, you're a CIO of a large organization. You've got a family, you've got kids, you've got all kinds of other social obligations.

I'm sure. Uh, what drew you to TechBridge and what keeps you connected to TechBridge? Why are you, why do you continue to be excited about your work with.

[00:11:09] Scott Mcglaun: Yeah. You know, I'd say, Adam, what, what drew me in personally? Um, when I think about it is the exponential impact that TechBridge enables. I mean, you know, you and I have the same amount of time and every single day, Um, and there are a lot of demands, you know, family work life, you know, you know, drawing against that bank of time.

And, you know, I spent a few years, you know, being on a few non-profit boards, trying to assist, you know, those individual nonprofits with their technology needs and, you know, helping them figure out how to leverage that technology to drive greater impact. Um, And, you know, you can only do so much in that model.

Um, and so pouring my energy into TechBridge who literally helps thousands of nonprofits across the country, um, to me is just a, you know, a much more effective model of engagement. Um, You know, tackling, uh, generational poverty is also, uh, something that's important to me. And so, you know, it just, it, it it's at the right crossroads for me personally.

Um, and what keeps me here are those stories of impact. Um, the reason we do what we do at TechBridge is because of the impact that we helped drive one individual life at the time. And so hearing those stories of individual impact and changing the trajectory of someone's. I mean, that's, that's what keeps me here.

Um, and that's really what keeps me excited and jazzed up about the TechBridge mission.

[00:12:42] Adam Walker: Me too. Me too. That's exactly what keeps me going every day is the exponential impact and the personal impact. Right? They're just so two sides of the same coin. And so, so important. Uh, well, Scott, just such a pleasure to spend some time with you today.

We're going to have you back on the show again, maybe with some tougher questions soon, but in the meantime, thank you for joining us today.

[00:13:03] Scott Mcglaun: Great. Thanks Adam. Good talking to you.

[00:13:06] Adam Walker: Thank you for listening to TechBridge Talks a podcast about breaking the cycle of generational poverty through the innovative use of technology.

This podcast is produced. Bridge to find out more about our work and how you can be a part visit that's Also make sure to follow us on social media. Thanks again for listening and tune in next week for more great content.