Updated March 31 at 10:09pm

A port in the storm of an uncertain industry

She is an inspiration to many colleagues who say she climbed the corporate ladder with modesty and humility. Shanna Marzilli of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, has spent 18 years holding positions with increasing levels of responsibility at the state’s leading health insurer, which covers more than 600,000 members. More

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BUSINESS WOMEN

A port in the storm of an uncertain industry

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She is an inspiration to many colleagues who say she climbed the corporate ladder with modesty and humility. Shanna Marzilli of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, has spent 18 years holding positions with increasing levels of responsibility at the state’s leading health insurer, which covers more than 600,000 members.

Can this kind of a strong career be tackled with an equally demanding family life? Marzilli, who has three children, said it’s important to “balance being present” both at work and home. In fact, Marzilli leads an informal support group for first-time mothers new to senior-management positions at BCBSRI.

And dads are right there with them, she said. “It’s not like it was 15 years ago. Men too are [striving to find a balance]. They are doing day care pickup … and also trying to be model dads and professionals.”

As an overseer of product strategy and development, brand and marketing communications and sales distribution, she describes herself as having a strong work ethic.

“When you’re in leadership, you can’t ask what [you] wouldn’t be willing to do [yourself]. If I have to stay ’til 10 p.m. or work a weekend, I will,” she said.

By spearheading BCBSRI’s efforts to transform the company and the way health care is delivered in Rhode Island, Marzilli is helping to bring about changes that will improve care and moderate costs over the long-term.

The patient-centered medical home is an example of such an initiative. “It’s a team-based approach comprised of a physician, physician’s assistant and a nurse care manager. It’s especially helpful for the sickest patients,” said Marzilli. It’s a solution for the times when a doctor is very busy.

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