Joseph Searles

Joseph Searles
Director of Diversity Community Engagement

Sady Fischer
Director of Diversity & Inclusion

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
Headquarters: Rochester, NY
Business: Health Insurance

“At Excellus, we work to ensure a diverse workforce that reflects the communities we serve and an inclusive, respectful, fair, and equitable organization in which all employees feel valued, respected, and safe to be their authentic selves at work.”

In 2018, Directors Joseph Searles and Sady Fischer led several key diversity and inclusion initiatives focused on the following areas:

Recruitment: Excellus enhanced and leveraged its Diversity & Inclusion Internship Program; conducted outreach at colleges, universities, and association groups; increased the number of college interns from underrepresented groups to 40 percent; and connected with more high school students to develop tomorrow’s workforce.

Employee Development: The company grew ERG membership, support, and value proposition; championed its Diversity & Inclusion Mentoring Program; and sponsored development programs focused on leadership, transferrable skills, and civic engagement.

Culture: Excellus increased executive leadership engagement and cross-cultural understanding; introduced two new diversity workshops and trained all company leaders in at least one of them; enriched organizational knowledge of the business case for diversity and inclusion; increased the number of employees that participated in diversity workshops; and increased the number of employees who adopted a published diversity profile in the online corporate directory.

Business Growth: The company partnered with local organizations to help connect uninsured individuals and families to its individual-market insurance products.

Looking forward to 2019, Excellus’s goals and objectives are to:

  1. Ensure diversity and inclusion concepts and best practices are central to every activity, from compensation and equitable pay to interviewing, hiring, and onboarding
  2. Expand applicant pools to include more candidates from underrepresented groups
  3. Increase diversity at all levels of the organization
  4. Introduce new diversity education and Increase knowledge of related topics and issues
  5. Identify new ways to connect the uninsured to Excellus’s individual market products

Creating a diverse and inclusive culture has been a journey for Excellus, and the company is looking forward to continuing to build a culture by learning—continuing to evolve the organization’s collective diversity and inclusion knowledge through formal education, workshops, and authentic conversations the enable leadership and staff members to learn from one another. Through these ongoing efforts, Excellus can truly define what it means to be diverse and inclusive, how it relates to the company’s profitability, and how everyone is accountable.