“Only when we open our hearts and minds to what’s possible… can we achieve all we are destined to become.” — Gail K. Boudreaux
Gail K. Boudreaux is an American businesswoman, philanthropist, and a proven leader with more than three decades of expertise in the healthcare industry. Boudreaux grew up as part of a close-knit Polish family in the small town of Chicopee, Mass. During her childhood, Boudreaux would follow her older brother to the park to play pick-up baseball games. It was her first exposure to athletic competition. From that point forward, her love for sports flourished and her drive towards excellence continued to strengthen.
Boudreaux attended Dartmouth College in 1978, where she played on the women’s basketball team. She was a three-time Ivy League Player of the Year and became a two-time Academic All-American and third-team All-American. She became Dartmouth’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder with 1,933 points and 1,635 rebounds and led the team to three Ivy League titles. Boudreaux was also a star for the Dartmouth track & field team, earning four first-team All-Ivy League honors and first-team All-American honors. She also won four straight heptagonal shot put championships and one discus title. Boudreaux graduated from Dartmouth College with a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in 1982. After graduation, she made her first move into the healthcare industry, taking a summer internship with Aetna. Following her summer internship, Boudreaux decided to continue her basketball career and headed off to Europe where she played professional basketball in Versailles, France for one year. Following her time in Europe, Boudreaux returned to Aetna, becoming one of five people accepted into the company’s management training program. During her 20-year career with Aetna, Boudreaux ascended through the ranks to become a Senior Vice President. In 2002, she became the President of BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois, and was later named Executive Vice President of Health Care Service Corporation, the parent company of BlueCross BlueShield of IL, NM, OK and TX. Along the way, she received an MBA with distinction in Finance and Health Care Administration from Columbia Business School. In 1999, Boudreaux was named to the Ivy League 25-year anniversary team in basketball and Dartmouth College’s 25-year anniversary teams in both basketball and track & field.
Boudreaux would later become the Chief Executive Officer of UnitedHealthCare. As the CEO, Boudreaux ran the largest division, which accounted for the vast majority of the company’s overall growth. During her tenure, UnitedHealthCare increased its revenue by 50 percent.
Today, Boudreaux is the President and CEO of Anthem, Inc., a Fortune 500 company, making it the second-largest company with a woman as its CEO. Anthem, now the nation’s second-largest health insurer, serves more than 40 million people through its affiliated health plans.
In 2003, Boudreaux was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame and was one of only six individuals nationally to receive the NCAA’s Silver Anniversary Award for outstanding professionalism and athletic achievement. She was inducted into Dartmouth’s Wearers of the Green, and in 2017, Boudreaux was recognized in the inaugural class of Ivy Legends. From 2008 to 2014, and again in 2018, Boudreaux was named one of Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in American Business and made Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women in the World list. She was also named among the Top 25 Industry Leaders by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal and named to the 2018 Most Powerful People in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare.
Boudreaux epitomizes the power of sports, teamwork, and the selflessness inherent in becoming a champion whether it is on the basketball court or in the board room. To that end she has always acknowledged the prominent role that sports have played in her business career. During an interview conducted by the NCAA, Boudreaux shared that playing sports taught her to be a team player which influenced her career as a leader in adulthood.
Lastly, as true to her character, Boudreaux has a rich history of giving back and paying it forward. Beyond her strong support of her alma mater, she and her family are deeply engaged in supporting community youth athletic programs targeting underserved populations. Her support helps young people live up to their full athletic potential by developing values, leadership skills and teamwork through athletic pursuits.
It is her commitment to demonstrating the highest level of leadership that has earned Gail K. Boudreaux the 2018 Billie Jean King Leadership Award.