Every year, Teresa Pacheco and a good friend choose a word they hope can define the next 365 days. In January of 2022, Pacheco chose the word “intentional” in the hopes that in both her professional and personal life, the career benefits executive could place meaningful time and effort into making connections and moments really count.
Just a few months prior, Pacheco and her husband had moved from their longtime home state of Arizona to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The transition afforded her the opportunity to step into the role of senior manager of global employee benefits at Hanesbrands, and then very quickly the role of director of that same group. With a career already spanning thirty years, the admitted “benefits nerd” easily slipped into the new roles.
However, the loss of two siblings within just two months of each other eclipsed Pacheco’s career success. The director’s willingness to talk about this incredible personal loss, she believes, is just living up to the standards of benefits specialists routinely helping employees through some of their most difficult and challenging moments.
“Focusing on mental health and well-being is critical for this job,” Pacheco says. “It’s so important to me, and I feel it’s important to hold myself to the same standard as the people I help support.” This true demonstration of intentionality in action only clarifies the critical impact Pacheco has on Hanesbrands’s efforts to enhance its HR programs.
A New Challenge
The director’s resume runs deep. She spent eighteen years in the benefits space for aviation companies, a handful of years in the musical instrument space, and a decade in supporting professional services. But what motivated a lifelong Arizonian to move across the country this late in her career?
“COVID really made me look at things differently in my life,” Teresa Pacheco admits. “I think a lot of us thought about our careers, our purpose, and our priorities. My husband was open to this big move, and we’ve really come to love it here in North Carolina.”
The executive is particularly excited about the new blood being injected into the 120-year-old company. Young, old, and everywhere in between. Pacheco says the intentionality with which Hanesbrands is choosing to make itself over was an alluring prospect she just couldn’t pass up.
Upon joining the company, Pacheco found herself immediately promoted after the retirement of her boss. Both her predecessor and retired boss worked at the company for over thirty years, creating stability and the opportunity for Pacheco to start thinking outside the box.
“The foundation is very solid here, and now I’m just looking to expand it through the lens of the way we’ve all lived the past two or three years and build on it,” Pacheco explains. “It may be a buzzword right now, but I’m incredibly interested in addressing those social determinants of health, especially given the more rural feeling of our location.”
The Loss of Family and Friends
When Teresa Pacheco discusses the changing lens of how we view benefits, the new work-from-home focus brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and the more holistic approach to benefits, the executive’s push for intentionality could not be any more personal.
Pacheco lost her older sister to ovarian cancer in 2022, a condition she believes could have been mitigated had her sister attended regular medical checkups and treatment. Just two months later, her brother passed from COVID-19; his life, she thinks, could have been saved by vaccination.
“There is this incredible feeling of frustration,” Teresa Pacheco explains. “It’s now just my oldest sister and me. We’re all that’s left, and we just get on the phone and remind each other to go to that checkup, pay attention to your body, and do what you need to do to stay healthy.”
The executive wants the same for the people she supports. She wants all those at Hanesbrands to be able to see their next Christmas with their friends and family—a desire that gets her out of the bed in the morning.
“Every day, I’m looking for new and creative ways to make sure our people are getting everything they need at work and in their personal lives,” the director says. “I want them to take their mental and physical health seriously.”
From the highest of highs to lowest of lows, 2022 h proved one of the most challenging years of Pacheco’s life. But she’s harnessing that pain to ensure a better existence for her coworkers with true intentionality. While she hasn’t selected 2023’s word yet, whatever it may be, there’s no doubt Pacheco will live it as fully in service of others as possible.
At Cigna, good health and well-being are the cornerstones of our purpose and the driving force of our passion. We are champions for affordable, predictable, and simple health care. As a global health services company, our goal is to provide the right services and solutions, in the right setting, at the right time, to address the diverse health needs of our customers and patients in a highly personalized way—each and every day. We see health care as an investment in the growth of your business. Because we’re much more than a health partner. We’re a growth partner. Our data-driven insights improve both employee wellness and productivity, while our quality health care mentors provide your employees with the ongoing guidance they need to thrive. And when they thrive, so does your business. To learn more about how Cigna can help you continue to grow, please visit us at: Cigna.YourNewGrowthPlan.com