“What does inclusion mean to you?” That question was recently posed to Daniel J. Loepp, president and CEO at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, in a special question and answer session with employees. It means that every employee at Blue Cross has the same opportunity to succeed, Loepp explained. By fostering an open-minded and inclusive environment, diverse viewpoints thrive, are heard and acted upon, and further fuel business success by allowing us to better serve our members and customers.
The Q&A was hosted by Bridget Hurd, senior director, Diversity and Inclusion at BCBSM, and was the culminating event in a monthlong celebration of diversity. Throughout August, employees across the state had the opportunity to experience different cultures through special learning sessions and presentations centered on musical instruments, bands, cultural dance, customs and diverse food. The interview between Loepp and Hurd highlighted efforts to make diversity and inclusion an everyday focus across the organization, particularly in the past 10 years since the launch of an internal Diversity Leadership Council, a program that was initiated by Loepp soon after he became CEO. When discussing the mission of the council, Loepp emphasized the importance of everyone being welcomed at the table and having equal opportunities to excel. To celebrate not only our similarities, but also our differences is a key value the BCBSM organization upholds, he said. That mission and purpose hasn’t gone unnoticed. BCBSM was recognized as one of the “Best Employers for Diversity” earlier this year by Forbes and one of the “Best Companies for Women & Diverse Managers to Work” by DiversityMBA. Last year, Loepp became one of 700-plus executives to sign the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion Pledge, which supports a nationwide effort to create work environments where all employees feel welcomed, respected and valued. Blue Cross recently participated in a Check Your Blind Spots Unconscious Bias Tour as part of the initiative. “It is my responsibility to make this a priority,” Loepp said about diversity and inclusion internally at BCBSM, as well as externally through a robust diverse supplier network, which prioritizes doing business with minority and female business owners, and brings great value to our company, he said. At the culminating celebration for the month, employees also heard from Diana McKittrick, executive director of Communication Access for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing; and Brad Cohen, president of the Brad Cohen Tourette Syndrome Foundation. Read more about Blue Cross’ diversity and inclusion initiatives here. If you found this post helpful, you might also enjoy:
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Main image photo credit: Anchiy