Together We're Giving Everyone a Voice

Dear Friends,

Bold leaps, modern ideas, and a groundswell of positive energy.

That’s how I describe our accomplishments last year to advance diversity and inclusion (D&I) at Blue Cross.

What a thrill it was to witness our associates—including many who felt empowered to participate in this dialogue for the first time—working together to hardwire D&I into every corner of the company. Their energy and involvement propelled us beyond anything previously considered possible. Among the highlights:

  1. 1.

    We felt the full power of our employee resource groups (ERGs). The company launched four new ERGs—AzulLatino, Asian Blue Community, Young Professionals, and Empowering Abilities—bringing our total to seven. These groups are mobilizing their members and allies to contribute to a more inclusive workplace.

  2. 2.

    We delivered on our promise to embed D&I into all organizational practices. Recruiters and hiring managers searched in unconventional places for future talent, while senior leadership reached new heights of accountability for diverse hiring and inclusion.

  3. 3.

    We empowered the “D&I believers.” Our Diversity Dialogues series provided a platform for associates to be heard, while the Blue Beacon Awards recognized colleagues who champion D&I at work and in the community.

As always, we are grateful to our associates, leaders, and external partners for their unwavering support. And we welcome new faces—come join us! Diverse, inclusive, collaborative—that’s the kind of company we want to be.


Su Joun talking with a colleague Su Joun
Senior Director of Talent, Inclusion, and Diversity
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

We will not rest until every Blue Cross Associate can say, “I see a reflection of myself in every level of the organization, and I have a shot to be truly successful.”

Internal Programs

The Grassroots of Inclusion

It was an action-packed year for our employee resource groups (ERGs). Four new groups debuted, and overall membership swelled by 42 percent.

ERGs bring together people with shared characteristics, affinities, or life experiences, and any associate can join any ERG, no matter his or her background. The groups are a great way for associates to learn more about their colleagues and the differences that make our company strong.

In 2014, the ERGs led companywide celebrations of Women’s History Month, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) Pride Month, and Black History Month. They engaged associates through speaker series, professional networking events, and community activities. And they helped our internal communications team educate associates about issues of importance to diverse groups.

Thanks to our ERGs for driving a culture of inclusion.

  • Empowering Abilities
    Leaders Laura Stout and Heather O'Neil
  • AzulLatino
    Leaders Sylvia Dutra and Kevin Coffey
  • Young Professionals
    Leaders Aubre Carreon Aguilar, KT Blaha
  • Asian Blue Community (ABC)
    Leaders Joydeep Mukherjee, Taranjit Saini
  • Black Professional Network
    Current and Founding Leaders Renee Hollins, Eddie Walker, Theresa Tillmon, Martine Beaumont
  • Blue Pride (LGBT)
    Current and Founding Leaders Andrew Goodman, Amy Deveau, Greg DeCenzo
  • Women’s Inclusion Network
    Current and Founding Leaders Io Cyrus, Jennifer Buchanan, Winnie Willis, Yvonne Tang

Women@Blue Explores “Our Total Selves”

Can women really “do it all” at work and at home? That question sparked a lively discussion for guests of the annual Women@Blue event on May 1. More than 200 associates and community partners explored issues like work-life balance, wellness, and career development. See what they had to say.


The Talent of Tomorrow

Sachin Sahney talking to an associate

Sachin Sahney is passionate about recruiting and developing associates who bring new viewpoints and experiences to our company.

In the search for great ideas, lightning rarely strikes when everyone in the room thinks, communicates, and perceives the world in the same way. In fact, researchers have shown it takes teams of diverse contributors to unleash innovation and power market growth.1

At Blue Cross, we encourage fresh thinking by looking for talented people who can help us challenge the conventional ways of doing business.

“What got us here is not what will get us there,” explains Sachin Sahney, senior director of talent management. “When it comes to recruiting, we need to think progressively about where to find the right talent for our company.”

Sachin and other leaders are working to infuse D&I more deeply into our talent acquisition and retention strategy. Innovation is one reason; shifting demographics, another. By 2020, millennials will make up roughly half of the U.S. workforce,2 and people of color will comprise 40 percent of the U.S. population.3

  1. Hewlett, S.A., Marshall, M. and Sherbin, L. (December 2013). How Diversity Can Drive Innovation. Harvard Business Review.
  2. Meister, Jean. (October 5, 2012). Three Reasons You Need to Adopt a Millennial Mindset Regardless of Your Age.
  3. Emergent Research and Intuit Inc. (October 2010). Intuit 2020 Report: Twenty Trends That Will Shape the Next Decade.

Try This Job On for Size

Three associates are using our job rotation programs to advance their careers and make Blue Cross stronger.

  • Finance Development

    Salin Thomas is building financial management know-how through a series of 12-month assignments in different business areas.

  • Corporate Leadership Rotation

    Edward Walker is learning how strategic thinking and cross-functional teamwork support our vision of making quality health care affordable.

  • Blue Express

    Peter Sally is spending 20 percent of his time in another area to build skills, gain exposure to other leaders, and solve business challenges.

Strategic Partnerships

The Voices of Community

Good things are happening to advance D&I at Blue Cross, but we don’t claim to know all the answers. We stay sharp on best practices by partnering with diverse professional organizations and listening to people in the market and community.

Last year, we created more platforms for people to share ideas. “We want to convene and connect,” explains Aisha Yasin, D&I strategic external relationships and communications manager. “Bringing people to our house shows our associates and the community just how important D&I is to our company.”

She adds that the forums are great networking opportunities for associates who want to meet diverse professionals, and they connect Blue Cross to a pipeline of talent from different backgrounds.

“D&I activities at Blue Cross don’t come 
from inside a silo. We’re living and breathing it together, from the top down, bottom up, and in the middle.” —Aisha Yasin, Strategic External Relationships and Communications Manager“Our associates are the fuel that powers our services, products, processes, and partnerships. The practice of inclusion helps us make sure all associates understand the importance of what they do.” —Gwendolyn McCoy, Enterprise Inclusion Leader“It’s important for us to support nonprofits that serve diverse communities, and the ERGs have been great in helping us identify worthwhile organizations.” —Yvonne Tang, Director of Community Investments

Our Business Community

  • Asian American Civic Association
  • Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting
  • Black Ministerial Alliance
  • Boston Young Healthcare Professionals
  • Color Magazine
  • Conexión
  • Disabled American Veterans
  • El Mundo
  • Get Konnected!
  • GLBTQ Domestic Violence Project
  • Greater Boston Business Council
  • Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
  • Hispanic-American Chamber of Commerce
  • Human Rights Campaign
  • Massachusetts Conference for Women
  • National Association of Asian American Professionals
  • National Black MBA Association
  • National Society of Hispanic MBAs
  • Office for New Bostonians
  • The Partnership Inc.
  • Simmons Leadership Conference
  • Work Without Limits
  • Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts
  • Urban League of Springfield
  • Young Professionals Network

Convene and Connect

A sampling of the 150 D&I events and career fairs we supported in 2014:

Hosted Events Sponsored Events
  • January

    • People sitting around a formal dinner table at GBBC award event
      JAN 17: Greater Boston Business Council’s Award for Excellence
  • February

    • People standing in a circle talking
      FEB 27: Boston Healthy Business: Diversity Driving Business Results, Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA)
  • April

    • APR 5: Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts Dinner
    • APR 9: Boston Young Healthcare Professionals’ Business Strategy and Ethics in Health Care
  • May

    • MAY 8: Northeast Human Resources Association’s Diversity Awards Gala
    • Speaker at podium
      MAY 13: Rosoff Awards
  • June

    • Group photo of around 14 people at summit
      JUNE 6: ALPFA Healthcare Summit
    • JUNE 12: Color Magazine’s Women of Color Leadership and Empowerment Forum
  • September

    • SEP 23: Get Konnected! National Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration
  • October

    • Panelists on the stage at the Forum
      OCT 10: Color Magazine Men of Color Leadership and Empowerment Forum
    • OCT 22: Boston Business Journal Leaders in Diversity Awards
    • Room full of people alert with raised hands
      OCT 30-31: Fourth Annual Work Without Limits Conference
  • November

    • NOV 6: A Fellows and Associates Alumni Reception Co-hosted by The Partnership Inc.
    • Group of three at podium
      NOV 17: Conexión’s Closing Session
  • December

    • Group on award ceremony stage
      DEC 4: Color Magazine’s All-Inclusive Awards
“What prevents you from freely expressing your views?”
“What tools do you need to feel empowered?”
“What must you see to know diversity and inclusion are happening for real at Blue Cross?”
Honest discussion of tough questions like these is critical in an inclusive workplace. More than 700 associates have participated to date in Diversity Dialogues—a forum for exploring the mix of backgrounds, ages, career levels, and other characteristics that make us unique.

Year in Review

participated in an employee resource group,
Up 42% from 2013
supported the gay pride parade and other unifying causes
have completed D&I training (to date)
are certified as culturally competent (to date)
% of associates who are women
% of external hires in 2014 who were people of color
50 partnerships + 150 events
strengthened our community ties

Hats off to four associates who embody the spirit of inclusion every day.

  • Workforce Diversity Initiative Award Boston Business Journal
  • Multicultural Marketing Award Boston Business Journal
  • Workforce Diversity Award Supplier Diversity Award Color Magazine
  • D&I Award Finalist Rosoff Awards
  • Trailblazer Award National Black MBA Association

The Leaders

Talent, Inclusion, and Diversity Team

  • Pam Horne Consultant, Corporate Leadership Rotation Program
  • Su Joun Senior Director, Talent, Inclusion, and Diversity
  • Gwendolyn McCoy Enterprise Inclusion Leader
  • Anna Ribeiro Administrative Assistant and Event Coordinator
  • Sachin Sahney Senior Director, Talent Management
  • Bridget Wagner Enterprise Engagement Leader
  • Deborah Varao-Martin Senior Director, Talent Development
  • Aisha Yasin Strategic External Relationships and Communications Manager

Diversity and Inclusion Council

As of December 31, 2014

  • Eileen Alexopoulos Director, Health and Medical Management
  • Jeff Bellows Vice President, Corporate Citizenship
  • Andrew Dreyfus President and CEO; Council Chair
  • Matthew Connell Vice President, Pharmacy and Contracted Health Services
  • Su Joun Senior Director, Talent, Inclusion, and Diversity
  • Gwendolyn McCoy Enterprise Inclusion Leader
  • Jay McQuaide Senior Vice President, Communications and Corporate Citizenship
  • Timothy O’Brien Senior Vice President, Sales
  • Jason Robart Senior Vice President, Organizational Effectiveness; Chief Human Resources Officer
  • Dana Safran Senior Vice President, Performance Measurement and Improvement
  • Sachin Sahney Senior Director, Talent Management
  • Linda Williams Senior Vice President, Underwriting
  • Aisha Yasin Strategic External Relationships and Communications Manager

External Members

  • Paul W. Lee Of Counsel, Goodwin Proctor LLP
  • Zoila Torres Feldman Chief Expansion Officer, North End Waterfront Health

The Path Forward

Arm in arm, we will continue to

welcome and nurture diverse talent,
cultivate a more inclusive workplace,
measure and report our success,
and give everyone a voice.

Thank you, associates and partners,
for taking the journey with us.