Working at a company for 30 years is an accomplishment few achieve. Working at a company for 30 years with your sister is even rarer, but for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) employees Christy Kofoed and Kim Yong, it’s just another day in the office.
Kofoed, who works in the medical management department, said she and Yong, a claims team member, love to tell the story of how they both came to be employed at BCBSNE.
“Thirty years ago, I started at the Blue Cross and Blue Shield building in September and Kim started at the HMO Nebraska building in July,” Kofoed said. “Whenever anyone asks who started here first, I say I started first because I came to Blue Cross, even though Blue Cross absorbed HMO Nebraska later on.”
Kofoed said she loves to give Yong a hard time about starting at the company after her. One thing both sisters can agree on is that they’ve seen many changes take place at the company through the years.
“We came in at a time when everything was still paper,” Kofoed said. “We barely had an electronic email system, and I think the first year we came here was the first year they asked employees to stop smoking at their desks. If you can imagine the change we’ve seen, we’ve seen it all.”
“Nothing shocks us anymore,” Yong added.
Besides experiencing change within the company, the sisters have experienced change within themselves.
“We’ve both grown up here,” Kofoed said. “Kimmy came here when she was 18. I was 19.”
Kofoed and Yong credit growth opportunities within the company, such as tuition assistance, for helping them grow as individuals while at BCBSNE.
“This company has given us that chance to go back to school and get our degrees and education while still working full-time and taking care of our families,” Kofoed said.
So, what’s it like to work at the same company as your sibling?
“It’s awesome,” Yong said.
Kofoed joked it’s a good thing she and Yong like each other since they work in the same areas, though they don’t see each other often in their day-to-day interactions. The two enjoy eating lunch together every day.
Not many people at BCBSNE know the two women are related, however, because their last names are different. Kofoed said most people figure it out when they’re in a meeting together. For those who do know they’re related, the sisters’ different personalities have created a running joke in the office.
“The running joke is Kim is the nice one and Christy is the loud, mean one,” Kofoed said, “but it’s because she’s so quiet. As soon as she gets to know them, she’s just like me.”
Looking to their futures at BCBSNE, both sisters say they’ll stay with the company until retirement, “without a doubt.”
“I never imagined how quickly 30 years could go by,” Kofoed said. “Now, it’s like ‘oh my, we might actually have to leave here because they might kick us out for being too old!’”