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Hartford Youth Shadow UnitedHealthcare Executives

Halls at the UnitedHealthcare office in Hartford, CT recently looked more like a high school, when more than 100 students gathered for the third annual job shadow event.

Students from all over the state spent the day shadowing employees and participating in mock interviews and resume building. They even competed in a Jeopardy-like competition to test their knowledge about what they’d learned throughout the day. 


“To see the students channel their focus and energy into the day to learn about what UnitedHealthcare does and what their future in this career world could look like, is outstanding,” said Craig LaFiandra, national vice president, UnitedHealthcare National Accounts. “It’s obvious these students are invested in their  futures, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to be even a small part of that investment.”

UnitedHealthcare and Optum executives from areas such as underwriting, legal, marketing and technology explained to students their career paths and what their day-to-day entails. Otis Maynard, senior associate general counsel, UnitedHealthcare, spoke with the group about his personal career journey, having started out wanting to be a physician but ending up a lawyer. The students were captivated by Otis’ words of encouragement.

“It’s normal to be unsure what your future will look like now, and that’s part of the journey,” Otis said. “It’s important to remember that no matter what field you want to explore, what job you want, it’s possible with hard work and training.”


In addition to experiencing a work day, students wrote cards to send to active military, thanking them for their service.

Students from several Hartford organizations participated in the event including: the Governor’s Prevention Partnership Youth Leadership Council; Capital Preparatory Magnet School; Urban League of Greater Hartford; Youth – Educated – and Determined to Succeed Program; Blue Hills Civic Association; YWCA Hartford Region; Community Renewal Team; Sanctuary of Faith and Glory Youth Program; Hartford Youth Scholars; and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hartford,


The job shadow event was planned by a core team of UnitedHealthcare and Optum leaders including employees Leslie Muszynski and Kevin Pigeon and held in collaboration with the Governor’s Prevention Partnership and highlights the ongoing support of the organization. In 2016, United Health Foundation awarded the Governor’s Prevention Partnership a $900,000 grant. The funds support a statewide awareness campaign to help prevent substance misuse among urban Latino youth and families.