Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Company: Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Diversity Team Name: Inclusion Council
Diversity Team Leader: Chairman and CEO John Forsyth
Website: www.wellmark.com


Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield at Capital City Pride Event, Inclusion Council team

Our Commitment–Wellmark is a committed inclusive company, where each individual is important, respected, and feels a sense of belonging. Every individual will have the opportunity to contribute and develop in ways consistent with our vision, mission, and values. With Inclusion as one of our core values, we are able to attract and retain the best talent and gain insights regarding how to meet the needs of our members. Wellmark has been recognized for this commitment to inclusion with more than 70 Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) awards since 2009.

The Team–Under Wellmark Chairman & CEO John Forsyth’s leadership, the Inclusion Council was formed in 2006 to drive heightened focus and awareness, building an inclusive company for Wellmark’s members, employees, and the community. The Inclusion Council comprises up to 18 members at any given time (employee volunteers) and is led by the Chair, John; this diverse group represents a variety of backgrounds and job levels. The purpose of the council is to promote engagement, to educate and communicate through various channels, and increasing awareness and workforce participation in the community. This team serves as role models for cultivating an inclusive, trusting, and healthy culture.

Inclusion at Wellmark

ATTRACTING DIVERSE TALENT–Wellmark has established a reputation of commitment to D&I and organically draws diverse talent. The Talent Acquisition Team has strategic goals to ensure an ongoing pipeline of strong, diverse talent. This team and the Inclusion Council participate in multiple organizations through volunteerism, sitting on boards and committees with the intent to establish and grow relationships across multifaceted diversity organizations.

INCLUSION AWARENESS MONTH–An annual tradition of heightened education and experiences for employees, the month includes a theme contest, special events, demonstrations, fairs, activities, and an employee-nominated Inclusion Ambassador Award for outstanding commitment to D&I. For ten years, an annual employee survey has averaged 93 percent of employees valuing inclusion at Wellmark.

INCLUSIVE LEARNING–Wellmark infuses inclusion into all curricula. A foundational inclusion course is required for all new hires. Many other D&I-focused elective workshops are also offered.

BEACON PROGRAM–This high school internship program provides meaningful paid working experiences for underadvantaged students.

INCLUSION HUB–This website gives employees a way to share feedback and receive regular updates about Wellmark’s commitment to inclusion. The Hub is one of the most viewed employee sites on Wellmark’s intranet. One component is Wellmark Superheroes, which focuses on core values, strengths, gratitude and recognition of others to engage, connect, and inspire employees.

INCLUSIVE MEDICAL BENEFITS–Inclusion Council feedback resulted in enhanced gender affirmation benefits, Wellmark was one of the first companies to implement these changes.

INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY COMMITMENT–Volunteerism is promoted and rewarded through a volunteer giving program. The Council leads or supports many diversity- focused events. Nonprofits must certify that they are accepting of all aspects of diversity. Other examples of commitment include Wellmark proudly flying the Pan-African flag during Black History Month and the Pride Flag during LGBTQ month.

INCLUSION INFUSION INTO THE BUSINESS–Wellmark has a Health Provider Inclusion Hub with D&I tools and resources, Supplier Diversity Program, and an Inclusion Communication Guide for all organizational communications.

Recognition and Awards

  • LGBTQ Legacy Leader Ally Award–dsm Magazine/One Iowa
  • One Iowa presented Wellmark with the Sharon Malheiro Award for LGBT Advocacy
  • Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index–Best Place to work for LGBTQ Equality (100%, Perfect Score)
  • Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Youth Leadership Initiative Community Partner Award
  • Des Moines NAACP Merit Employer of the Year Award
  • Employer Support of Guard and Reserve’s Pro Patria Above and Beyond Awards
  • Capital City Pride’s Company Ally Award
  • Best of the Best Top Employer, Hispanic Network Magazine
  • Top Veteran-Friendly Company, U.S. Veterans Magazine
  • Best of the Best Top Employer, Professional Woman’s Magazine
  • Best of the Best Top Disability- Friendly Company, DIVERSEability Magazine
  • Best of the Best Top Employer, Black EOE Journal
  • Recognized as Top Diversity Employers by Black EOE Journal and Professional Woman’s Magazine
  • Recognized as a Top Health Insurance Company by Professional Woman’s Magazine