Florida Blue Builds Deep Connections to Keep Communities Healthy and Thriving

Jan 17, 2024

Tina James found her way to Florida Blue through professional sports. For years, she worked in community relations for teams such as the Orlando Magic, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Connecticut Sun. But after so much travel and six years living in the Northeast, she was ready to set down roots in the Tampa community where her family lived and where she’d grown up and attended college.

Tina James

Tina James, Senior Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility at Florida Blue.

While James promoted healthy lifestyles and community engagement through her work with sports teams, after Covid hit, she was drawn to public health and found a job with Florida Blue, an insurer and health partner, where she is a Senior Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility. To say that she is glad she moved into the new field would be an understatement. She loves her work.

“I get to make such a difference at Florida Blue,” James said, “I get to focus on improving what we see as three essential drivers of health—food security, health equity, and mental well-being.”

Through her work doing outreach across 14 counties in West Florida, James builds relationships with nonprofits and caring individuals working to foster healthier communities. One of those nonprofits is the Education Foundation of Sarasota County.

While education and public health might seem a curious pairing, the two are inextricably linked. Well-being and resiliency set the stage for academic success. In turn, students who can access high-quality education and succeed academically tend to lead healthier, more productive lives. As James said, “We have too many kids not reading at the third-grade level. Many of those kids miss out on getting to the next level.”

Tina James and other Florida Blue volunteers holding boxes of diapers for a volunteer event.

Tina James and Florida Blue volunteers making a difference in the lives of families.

A first-generation college student, James believes deeply in the transformative powers of education and values the opportunity to help open educational pathways and be a representative of professional avenues for the young learners she meets.

Florida Blue has been a longtime supporter of the Education Foundation, investing in two important recognition programs, the STRIVE Awards, which honor students who have overcome significant challenges to succeed, and the Ignite Education Teacher of the Year Award Celebration, which showcases amazing educators.

This year, Florida Blue will also be the presenting sponsor of the Education Foundation’s Ringling Bridge 5K/10K Run and Well-Being Expo. This exciting event seeks to unite the community to support students and teachers while increasing awareness of resources that will help them find well-being.

For James, supporting this event is, as she said, “a win win.” Having walked the Ringling Bridge many times, she understands its beauty and its symbolic importance in Sarasota County. The bridge connects people and places. Every day, people run or walk across the bridge to stay fit and enjoy the beauty of the bay. James is so excited to help make possible the first run across this bridge since before the pandemic.

The run and the expo take place on April 28, 2024, beginning at The Bay Park. James and her team are excited to be there, to meet the many other organizations working to help young people and educators find well-being, to share resources, and to help build a stronger, more resilient community.

Learn more about Florida Blue.
Learn more about the Ringling Bridge 5K/10K Run and Well-Being Expo.