Beyond the boardroom
A philanthropist, motorcycle enthusiast and patriarch: Ted Haynes balances it all.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma President Ted Haynes took his children on a motorcycle trip every year when they were young.
Although not a Tulsa native, President of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma Ted Haynes connects with the heart of the city. Haynes grew up in Roscoe, Texas — a town of about 1,300 people, where everyone knew everyone. So when Haynes moved to Tulsa years later, he was instantly attracted to the “arms wide open” philosophy.
“Tulsa has such a hometown feel,” Haynes says. “People are not clique-ish. They are genuinely excited to welcome you in. It’s also very easy to get involved.”
Get involved he did, quickly becoming a cornerstone in Tulsa philanthropy. During his tenure as the 2015 Tulsa Area United Way campaign chairman, he took the time to visit each of the organization’s 60 partner agencies.
Haynes was particularly impressed by the agencies focusing on youth services, a cause that truly hit home. Years ago, the Hayneses welcomed a homeless girl into their family, after their foreign exchange student alerted them that the girl’s mother had abandoned her. They became her guardians and treated her as their daughter in every way until she graduated from high school and left home.
“I have a really tender spot now for homeless youth because of that experience,” Haynes says. “Organizations like United Way and the generosity of the people of Tulsa create opportunities for us to help others in situations like that.”
Haynes also looks forward to co-chairing the upcoming American Red Cross Rescue Gala on April 21. The other co-chair is his wife, Shiela Haynes, who has a hand in everything from charity work, to giving tours of downtown Tulsa, to training to be a docent at Philbrook Museum of Art.
Although he began his career in Houston as a certified public accountant, Haynes harbored passions to be a negotiator. When he later worked for a large hospital system, he found his niche in negotiating contracts.
Haynes eventually earned a master’s degree in conflict management and dispute resolution in 2012 from Southern Methodist University. Over time, he saw that developing this skill set also was rewarding on a personal level.
“I’ve noticed how hard it is for people to be in conflict,” he says. “I get a lot of gratification out of resolving conflicts for people, so that they can be peaceful and happy in their lives.”
Luckily, Haynes is able to take his negotiator hat off at home. He enjoys spending time with his family above all — and especially taking motorcycle trips with his wife.
“Riding motorcycles is my No. 1 hobby,” he says. “It really defined my relationship with my kids because I would take each of them on a special trip every year” when they were younger and living at home.
Despite his heavy load of responsibilities and interests, Haynes doesn’t struggle to balance it all. His secret is journaling — a technique he has used since 1996. The racks of journals in his study hold his life goals, solutions to problems and spiritual revelations.
“Journaling is where I work things out,” he explains. “Your mind cannot wander while you are writing.”
Haynes enjoys sharing his favorite quote by Winston Churchill: “You make a living off of what you get, but you make a life off of what you give.”
By this standard, Haynes and his family have made quite a life here in Tulsa.