Developing Your Team with Stretch@KP

Brandy, Laura and Iffie's Story

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Brandy Lappi, MA, is the Director of Workforce Health and Employer Onsite Services in Colorado. Always looking for new ways to develop her team, she discovered Stretch@KP when the program was in its pilot phase. She shared the information with her staff and encouraged them to join and search the platform for projects that could help them develop desired skills or find something they were passionate about exploring.


Brandy pointed Iffie Jennings to Stretch@KP as she knew Iffie was looking to expand her knowledge of health care, with a focus on strategy. At the time, Iffie was a Workforce Health Consultant in Employer Health & Wellness and had been with KP for more than seven years; she jumped at the opportunity to expand her skills. Iffie discussed the first project she found with her manager, Brandy, who convinced her to keep looking. “Brandy said it wasn’t enough of a stretch for me, so she pushed me to find something a bit more challenging. I went through the Stretch@KP process, thinking I wanted to find a project here in Colorado. Instead, I found a few projects outside of our region that were a better fit to cultivate the skills I needed.”  

    The project’s team... were from a wide range of backgrounds, experience, and came from four different KP regions.

While Iffie came across a project at Program Office that was focused on building perspectives on what makes care and coverage unaffordable to individuals and families. It was recruiting participants to dive into internal data and external reports to highlight the experience of KP members and people in our communities as they struggle to pay for the care they need. Laura Rehfeld is Senior Director of Corporate Strategy and hosted the 90-day project. The project was designed to address an ever-growing need in health care that's fundamental to KP’s mission. Laura searched for participants who wanted to make strategic contributions to the organization and who cared deeply about making health care affordable.  


Iffie joined four other employees to make up the project’s team, who were from a wide range of backgrounds, experience, and came from four different KP regions. The team met via WebEx or Skype, and they were able to get to know each other and learn from a variety of stakeholders. Together they created an executive briefing on the insights on gaps in affordable coverage. “This project gave me an opportunity to focus on health equity within our commitment to affordability," Iffie says. "By doing so, I was able to contribute to the larger discussion of why individuals and families find healthcare unaffordable." 

    Brandy feels she needs to set her employees up for success and says that the Stretch@KP program helps her do that.

Iffie is thankful her manager, Brandy, encouraged her to take on something more challenging. “It was definitely a stretch for me,” Iffie says. “Putting a new skill set into practice can be challenging because it forced me to work outside my comfort zone and see things from different angles. Overall, I would recommend Stretch@KP because it was the best opportunity to develop a new skill set in a safe environment and it helped me advance my career.” It also gave Iffie the resources and experience she needed to eventually land her dream job of being a Strategy Consultant!

Laura, the host of the project, said the project was a huge benefit to her team because without the Stretch@KP participants, they couldn't have taken on this work. They were able to expand and deepen what they knew about when care and coverage isn't affordable and inform KP's affordability strategies that benefit all of the 65 million people who live in KP communities. Laura encourages hosts to match their projects with participant's skills. “I found this to be a terrific way to help them expand their insights into new areas of Kaiser Permanente while being able to contribute quickly.” 


Brandy, Iffie’s manager, made sure the Stretch@KP projects her team chose were a stretch for them. She says that you have to be picky about what projects your employees choose — because in the end it’s all about development. “As a manager, my job is to develop them into their next role, whether it’s with me, or on another team. Make sure the project is in line with where the person is looking for development. This truly is an opportunity for employees to grow in areas outside the scope of your team.” As a manager, Brandy feels she needs to set her employees up for success and says that the Stretch@KP program helps her do that. “Be aware that it's a time commitment for the employee,” she added. “It may exceed what you first anticipated, but it was well-worth the investment in personal development.”