By Cyril Tuohy
Health insurer WellPoint has been named one of the 2013 “Best Companies for Multicultural Women” by Working Mother magazine, and recently was featured in the 2013 Diversity Inc. Top 50 Companies for Diversity list. Company executives cited WellPoint’s ties to colleges and its robust recruitment and promotional policies as reasons for its strong diversity showing.
“We are proud that our workforce reflects the multicultural make-up of the customers we serve, including women, who make 80 percent of the health care decisions for American families,” Karin Sarratt, WellPoint vice president of talent management and chief diversity officer, said in a news release.
The recognition “is a testament to WellPoint’s commitment to a workforce with strong female representation at all levels,” she said.
Along with the internal development programs and diversity education programs, the company offers mentoring and networking opportunities for women of color to groom them for senior positions, and to prepare them should those opportunities arise, Jessica Aguilar, WellPoint director of talent acquisition, sourcing, college relations and employment brand, said in a telephone interview withInsuranceNewsNet.
The company also cultivates partnerships with black colleges and universities, and makes it a point to form relationships with important minority student groups such as the National Black MBA Association, the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, or with other groups representing professional minorities like the Black Data Processing Associates, she said.
“Being an inclusive organization means more than just representation,” Aguilar said, noting WellPoint’s commitment to diversity in its own workforce and in the communities in which the company is located.
WellPoint, which employs about 43,658 people, has several women and multicultural women who hold the rank of vice president or higher, according to a spokeswoman. The company chairwoman is Jackie M. Ward.
Carol Evans, president of Working Mother Media, said that companies with a more diverse workforce make for better and stronger teams. “Grooming female leaders has become a crucial mandate, and great companies are simultaneously weaving diversity into their culture,” she said in a news release.
The challenge for many companies is to “build a pipeline of diverse talent to represent them at every level of decision-making and management,” Evans said.
Cyril Tuohy is a writer based in Pennsylvania. He has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. He can be reached at [email protected].
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