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Blue @ Work

The people make the difference

Multi-Cultural Center of Sioux Falls, South Dakota

We asked some of our long-time small business customers why they chose — and continue to choose — Wellmark for their health coverage. Here's the story of the Multi-Cultural Center of Sioux Falls, which provides services and resources for their community and for its hardworking staff, too.

Live. Work. Play. Together.

With a mission so clearly stated, it's no wonder the Multi-Cultural Center of Sioux Falls External Site serves as a beacon for kids and adults alike. The organization, which offers interpretation, youth programming, immigration services, adult educational opportunities, diversity training and cultural celebrations, has served Sioux Falls and surrounding communities for more than two decades.

In the city of almost 177,000 — where 101 countries are represented and 145 different languages can be heard — cultural understanding and inclusion become an everyday practice. "It's just beautiful," Christy Nicolaisen, the executive director, says. "When not everyone is the same, people think differently and outside of the box, and that's how progress gets made."

Impacting the community

With about 60 full- and part-time staff, the Multi-Cultural Center strives to have its employees reflect the different religious and cultural communities it serves. The staff is the backbone of the organization and brings professionalism, integrity, confidentiality and trust to the programs and services they provide daily. "They are able to give a voice to someone that doesn't have one," says Christy. "We want to bring resources together, find ways to get past barriers and help people succeed."

On top of regular programming, the organization also hosts different events throughout the year. The Wacipi External Site, a pow wow and community dinner held in October, celebrates native cultures and traditions. In June, more than 40,000 people flock to Falls Park for the annual Festival of Cultures External Site. "These are safe, comfortable places for people to come together and learn," Christy says.

Putting people first

Learning, collaboration and understanding extend from the Multi-Cultural Center's community work back into organization choices, too. Employees are brought together when its time for big decisions, like benefits for the upcoming year. Together, the staff share opinions and options, and then present their recommendation to the board for final approval. 

And each year when it comes time to make the call on health coverage — no surprise here — it comes down to the people. "Theresa [Kocer, senior account manager at Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield] is definitely the reason we choose Wellmark. She has been totally amazing: answers questions, takes phone calls, explains policy changes," Christy says. "I trust Wellmark because of Theresa." And it shows. The Multi-Cultural Center has selected Wellmark for more than 20 years.

Take it from the Multi-Cultural Center: Creating personal connections, no matter how small, can make all the difference.

Looking for coverage for your small business?

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About the series

We wanted to learn more about why some of our long-time small business customers continue to choose Wellmark for their health coverage in their own words. Trust, shared values, experience, longevity and understanding continually came to the forefront.

Thank you to the Multi-Cultural Center of Sioux Falls for sharing their story with us and for making inclusion a priority.