Michael Ye

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Honoree: Ke (Michael) Ye

Honored by: UnitedHealthcare

Cause Area: Healthcare

Michael Ye is a dedicated employee at UnitedHealthcare, serving as a director for economic analysis and research at UnitedHealthcare in Cypress. It’s demanding work that calls for his professional best every day. But there is another job for Michael that calls for his personal best every morning and evening: he is a devoted volunteer for a local newspaper-the Epoch Times-which serves the Chinese community of Orange County. He has been working for UnitedHealthcare while providing his free and tireless volunteer service, which begins with newspaper deliveries at dawn and editorial work until night falls, for the past 10 years. Michael has been an enduring part of the publication’s success in providing timely and relevant news to its readers and, in particular, useful news about health-related topics. He has also been instrumental in bringing in other volunteers to serve as writers or correspondents. Since 2006, Michael has been rising early to serve as an energetic delivery driver for Epoch, the OC area edition of an international newspaper based in New York that prints editions in English, Chinese and other languages. He hand delivers the paper to 300-plus customers along a bustling route. Starting in the late afternoon after finishing at UnitedHealthcare, he works in the newsroom as an enterprising reporter-editor on deadline, putting together a variety of stories while at the same time enthusiastically directing teams of volunteer correspondents. Michael says he is absolutely committed to, and energized by, keeping his community well informed, particularly when it comes to important topics like traditional culture, healthy lifestyles and human rights. Michael’s forte at the newspaper is working on the Chinese-language editions. He stays busy overseeing translation work and making sure that there is regular reporting on the health issues, including “news you can use” for readers such as stories on meditation, yoga, tai chi and other Asian-oriented practices. Michael is acutely aware about making a connection between his actual work in the healthcare industry and the contributions he provides by bringing forward stories about the wisdom of healthy living and how that can lead to less medical problems and lower costs for people. Although Michael does get involved in many of UnitedHealthcare’s employee volunteer opportunities, such as its Easter donation program, most of his free time and energy goes to the newspaper work. And a good part of that work centers on recruiting, directing and motivating small teams of revolving volunteers to contribute their time and energy. The volunteers, he notes, can help out in a variety of ways and begin with small chunks of time. For example, if not assisting on the deliveries, it could be sharing story ideas or having the volunteers use their writing skills to develop articles. “And then later on, they get more and more involved so you have to communicate with them on a regular basis,” he says about the volunteer teams that can range from five to as many as 20, and sometimes include a few of the UnitedHealthcare co-workers he has personally recruited. “So they feel excited and they can use their talents. They definitely feel good when their energy or talent can be converted into stories or something that can be impactful to their community or to others.” Michael’s volunteer work, and its community importance, has received little fanfare over the years. But many of his fellow employees, along with UnitedHealthcare executives, are well aware of his service. “Michael’s enthusiasm, creativity and work ethic are simply outstanding,” stated Alex Uhm, chief operating officer for UnitedHealthcare of California, and 2015 co-chair of the organization’s California Social Responsibility Committee. “He is a blessing to the community. And a gift to the newspaper. He is so valued ── what are they going to do when he leaves?” “For me, it’s a lifestyle,” he says about volunteering. “I want to spend my time in a meaningful way.” Michael, in summary, is an employee who quietly and tirelessly gives his time and talent to improve the overall health and well-being of people in the local community. He is a wonderful example of UnitedHealth Group’s mission to help people live healthier lives and the Spirit of Volunteerism. His work, at all levels, is greatly appreciated.

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