Army veteran Kirstin Booth values being part of a team and helping others. As a customer service representative at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE), Booth does both.

Booth began her career in customer service in January after working in the food industry for 14 years. Moving from Denver to Omaha, she originally came to work at Blue Cross Centre as a barista in the onsite Starbucks.

The connections – and jokes – she made with BCBSNE employees while in the coffee shop led to her transitioning from an outside contractor to a full-time BCBSNE employee.

“It was a joke that happened between me and an employee working in HR,” Booth said. “They said, ‘you know, if this doesn’t work out, I could find you a job.’”

A desire for a career change led to Booth taking the HR representative up on the offer after running into them in the parking garage.

“I said, ‘could you really find me a job?’” Booth said. “They said, ‘yes.’”

Booth completed several rounds of interviews before transitioning from the coffee shop to a cubicle, kickstarting a new career in a role that’s been her “favorite civilian job.”

“It’s the first civilian job I’ve had that I’ve actually felt like part of a team,” Booth said. “It’s the best decision I’ve ever made.”

Brooke Gilsdorf, BCBSNE talent acquisition specialist, said there are many perks to bringing a contractor on as a full-time employee.

“I think the most beneficial to us is that we have had an opportunity to get to know this person and that really makes the decision-making process much easier,” Gilsdorf said. “It’s beneficial for them, too, because they have been able to test the waters and decide if this is somewhere they want to be long-term.”

Booth continues to serve customers in her new role, though she now helps people over the phone rather than face-to-face.

“It’s really nice to be helping people since insurance can be really confusing,” Booth said. “Being able to convert the information over as simply as I can and give them that reassurance is a good feeling.”

While Booth said she misses getting to know people at BCBSNE’s Starbucks, she enjoys the new jokes she shares with former coffee clients turned coworkers.

“There are a lot of people that make jokes about me coming down on my break to make their coffee still,” Booth said. “Starbucks was a really great place to start, but I love pulling into the parking lot and coming to work now.”

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