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Vasantha Prammagnanam grew up in a small southern town in India where education generally wasn’t seen as a priority for females. But her parents — especially her father — encouraged her to dream big, she says.
Ms. Prammagnanam thrived in an academic setting and began competing at speaking tournaments when she was 12 years old.
“I loved public speaking, especially extemporaneous speaking,” she said. “It gave me the confidence that I didn’t have before because I contracted polio when I was a small child. It gave me the confidence to dream that one day I would move to America.”
Although she had dreams of becoming a doctor, she was better at math and studied engineering. In 1999 she arrived in Minneapolis with only a suitcase and $500.
“I had no contacts in the States, and I had never been on a plane,” Ms. Prammagnanam said. “I was hired as a temp and then I got a big-time job — at Enron.”
Ms. Prammagnanam worked at Enron Corp. as a senior software engineer in Houston. She had only been there six months when Enron filed for bankruptcy. She survived the ensuing layoffs and stayed on for more than a year, but she knew that there was no future with the company.
While looking for her next opportunity, she found CorVel Corp., where she realized she could combine her love of medicine with technology and engineering. She started working for CorVel in 2002 as a software engineer in the Portland, Oregon, office and was promoted to her current role in 2017.
Ms. Prammagnanam focuses on state and Medicare regulations, medical coding and reimbursement methodologies, claims management, pharmacy solutions, treatment guidelines, case management, telehealth and artificial intelligence. She is also an advocate for women in information technology.
“I created a professional development group at CorVel called ROOTS that provides mentorship and support for professional growth and career development,” Ms. Prammagnanam said. “I want to help other women move up the ladder in the insurance industry and help them, as mentors in my life have helped me.”