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November Guest Blog: DEI Efforts at Blue Cross NC

David Laboy
Director – Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Blue Cross NC

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) is a mission-driven organization. Every day nearly 5,000 of us show up with one goal: to improve the health and well-being of our customers and communities. To fully achieve this goal, we must have a more equitable health care system. 

We know that racism and discrimination lead to health disparities. Simply put, no community can truly be healthy until racism no longer exists. Our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) work focuses on three areas: within our company, the health care system, and North Carolina communities.

Recruiting, retaining, and developing diverse IT talent 

One DEI area of opportunity for employers is in hiring diverse tech talent. Within our IT division at Blue Cross NC:

  • 44 percent of our IT staff and 33 percent of IT leadership are people of color
  • 33 percent of staff and 19 percent of leadership are women – that’s above the national average

We are working proactively to continuously increase our diversity in both staff and leadership roles. We’ve worked hard to create a culture built on opportunity and continuous learning to attract, develop, and retain diverse tech talent.

A few examples include:

  • TechNOW, an employee network we created two years ago for women and allies in STEM roles across the company. Since its inception, we have leveraged relationships with top tech companies like Red Hat, Amazon Web Services and Salesforce to deliver more than $100K in free training to our TechNOW members. The network also supports the company’s diversity recruitment efforts by partnering with local non-profits and mentoring area college students through community partnerships. 
  • Our internal IT mentorship program partners diverse IT leaders with IT professionals who are early in their STEM careers. Together, the mentors and mentees develop each other, and in turn create a more culturally aware and nimble workforce. 
  • We actively invest in early IT talent by partnering with local colleges to recruit young, diverse tech talent for apprenticeships and internships with an eye to the future. We currently partner with Durham Tech for an apprenticeship program and have plans to leverage relationships with local high schools.

What’s next for us 

While we’ve been making strides on our DEI work for more than a decade, there is always more to do. 

This summer, following the death of George Floyd and issuing our company’s statement on racism, we launched a special DEI taskforce outside of our existing DEI Office to take a fresh look. This was a group of employees throughout the company, representing various job functions, who provided thoughtful recommendations on opportunities we should peruse to ensure racial equity amongst our employees, in the health care system, and the communities in which we serve.

The road ahead provides an opportunity for us to think differently, look at our policies and programs, bring new voices and ideas to the table, and continue innovating together in the DEI space. 

We recognize that progress will take time – that this is a commitment we must make for the long haul. This is not a one-time event, but a journey where we must continue to evaluate what more we should be doing. Together, we will progress toward positive change. 



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