corporate social responsibility

The best leaders accept that they are not perfect, and they don’t demand perfection from those they lead. Instead, great leaders recognize their own strengths and weaknesses and surround themselves with people who have complementary skills, creating an effective team.

That was the message from Walter Woods, Chief Executive Officer of the Humana Foundation, at a recent Leadership Louisville conference. Walter spoke about “The Power of Passion and Perseverance” at the 2018 Leadership Summit – Leading in the New World of Work.

What leaders eventually accomplish depends more on their passion and perseverance for long-term goals than on their innate talent, Walter said. That’s important in a business environment that is increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA).

He said the best leaders accept VUCA and lead through it with their strengths AND weaknesses. They also understand the leadership capabilities all organizations need:

• Sensemaking – interpreting developments in the business environment
• Relating – building trusting relationships
• Visioning – communicating a compelling image of the future
• Inventing – coming up with new ways of doing things

In short, leaders find and work with others who can provide the capabilities they’re missing. That takes clarity and passion, a fact Walter illustrated through his adventure travels, which have taken him to Antarctica, the North Pole and other far-off places.

Walter is a nonprofit veteran of 30 years and has served in a number of executive-level roles, with organizations ranging from the AARP Foundation, to The World Bank, to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, DC.

He leads the Humana Foundation as its strategy evolves to focus “upstream” on the root causes of illness and chronic conditions – such as social determinants of health — identifying solutions to help people lead their healthiest lives. This approach aligns with Humana’s “Bold Goal” of improving the health of the communities it serves 20 percent by 2020.

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Humana’s Maria Hughes, Senior Vice President and Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, has been named to BLACK ENTERPRISE’s 2018 Top Executives in Corporate Diversity List, a roster of the nation’s leading professionals who drive innovation, productivity and profitability by ensuring across-the-board diversity.

The list includes “leading professionals who drive innovation, productivity, and profitability by ensuring across-the-board diversity that includes the workforce, leadership, corporate governance and supply chain,” the magazine said. A special report appeared in the magazine’s latest issue, highlighting the critical role played by Hughes and her peers “in bolstering the global competitiveness of corporate America.”

“I’m honored to be on this list, because it reflects the important work we do at Humana to ensure that inclusion and diversity helps create a culture that drives innovation, improves quality and sustains growth,” Maria said. “Health care is a varied and intensely personal marketplace, and cultivating the uniqueness of our team helps us leverage a broad array of insights and understanding as we guide our members toward their best health.”

To select the Top Executives in Corporate Diversity, BLACK ENTERPRISE editors consulted major corporations and identified the leading corporate executives charged with driving corporate diversity efforts within some of the nation’s largest entities. They selected leaders who drive diversity initiatives vital to their business objectives.

Read the full news release.

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For the 11th consecutive year, Humana is included on CR Magazine’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens list and is one of only two health insurers to make the list.

Each year, Corporate Responsibility Magazine (CR Magazine) announces a list of 100 companies with standout corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance. Humana is No. 69 on the 2018 Best Corporate Citizens list for its efforts, including health and well-being programs, environmental sustainability and a commitment to ethics and governance.

The ranking recognizes companies for “standout environmental, social and governance performance documenting 260 data points of disclosure and performance measures – harvested from publicly available information in seven categories: environment, climate change, employee relations, human rights, governance, finance, and philanthropy & community support.”

You can see the full list and Humana’s rank on each of these individual components here.

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Humana has been named to the DiversityInc list of Top 50 Companies for Diversity, the leading assessment of diversity management in corporate America and around the world. Humana is No. 48 on the list.

In addition, Humana is No. 10 on the DiversityInc list of the Top 18 Companies for Veterans.

The DiversityInc Top 50 list, issued yearly since 2001, recognizes the nation’s top companies for diversity and inclusion management. These companies excel in such areas as hiring, retaining and promoting women, minorities, people with disabilities, LGBT and veterans.

“We’re honored to be on this list and proud that our employees reflect the wide variety of the communities in which we work,” said Bruce Broussard, Humana’s President and CEO. “Our members are unique and have different health needs and goals. Having a diverse group of employees who can empathize with and relate to our members is critical to our helping them achieve their best health.”

The DiversityInc list is derived exclusively from corporate survey submissions, and there is no cost. To be considered for a spot in the DiversityInc Top 50, a company must score above average in recruitment, talent development, senior leadership commitment and supplier diversity. Companies are evaluated within the context of their own industries.

Read the news release here.

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Bruce BroussardIn a series of LinkedIn Influencer blog posts, Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard shares insights and ideas about the future of health care and discusses the importance of working together to improve the health-care system as well as our own health and well-being. His latest — Leadership Lessons: Getting Lost Can Be a Good Thing — is reprinted below. To see all of his blog posts, click here.

It’s hard to get lost today. Yet sometimes you need to get lost to find something you didn’t expect. This happened to me a few months ago at New York’s Penn Station.

I was traveling with my family, and we couldn’t find our train. We were lost, running late and stressed. I was fortunate to meet Jermaine Jones from Amtrak, who stopped what he was doing to help. I could tell that Jermaine was someone who could write a book on customer service. Given how my company serves 14 million people, I’m always intrigued when I encounter someone who clearly loves helping people.

I certainly wasn’t aware of Jermaine’s title (I learned later that he is the Amtrak Station Manager for Penn Station), but it was obvious that he led by going above and beyond. I knew he’d be the perfect keynote speaker for my company’s annual Perfect Experience Summit, a gathering of several thousand leaders who are there to discuss how we’re going to deliver the perfect experience for our customers.

An inspirational story – that’s still going on

Jermaine isn’t a professional speaker. He speaks from faith, passion and pain. Jermaine is just someone who loves helping people and is in the middle of his own career journey. But he does have an inspiring story.

In 2009, Jermaine lost his job at DHL after 14 years, along with thousands of others. He didn’t have a backup plan, because he never thought it would happen to him. With a wife and three daughters to support, it was very difficult, personally and financially, for him and his family.

Jermaine was at one of the lowest points of his life. Sitting in his back yard late one night in the rain, he made a promise to God that if he ever managed to change his mindset, he would never think the same way again. Jermaine picked himself up and found out through a friend that Amtrak was hiring. After 25 resume submissions by his wife (Jermaine joked that she wanted him out of the house), and a rejection, he was hired as a baggage handler.

Yet in four short years, mainly due to his new attitude, how his actions reflected it and leaders within Amtrak noticing his talent, Jermaine was promoted to Station Manager of New York Penn Station, easily one of Amtrak’s busiest stations. He has been a Station Manager in New York Penn Station for four years and has been at Amtrak a total of seven years and six months.

Jermaine even managed to start Brothers Making a Difference of New Jersey, an all-volunteer-based “nonprofit organization aimed at enriching the lives of youth academically, culturally and professionally.” He has run it for nearly six years.

Five lessons in leadership – regardless of industry

Jermaine did not disappoint and delivered an inspiring and timeless message to our leaders. Some highlights:

Going the extra mile is never crowded. If you are looking for no traffic, go the extra mile. Given my experience with Jermaine, it’s clear that he goes the extra mile for the customer. As leaders, we should strive to deliver a perfect experience and inspire others to do the same. It’s often the small stuff that turns out to be the big stuff in positively impacting someone’s day.

Don’t let the people change you; you change the people. That’s how you hold yourself accountable. Jermaine has a very outgoing, positive attitude, and when he first started his baggage job, some of his colleagues told him to calm down. Jermaine felt that people sometimes look to contaminate you. He knows that when you’re serving your customers, you need to be true to yourself and set an example that can inspire others. Customers deserve the best you can offer them.

Hold yourself accountable, even when no one is watching. Jermaine told our leaders that he never thought that if he changed his way of thinking, his entire life would change. He chalks this up to accountability. He knew that he could pass the blame to others. Yet when he looked in the mirror, he knew he had to be accountable. It’s always easy to blame others (we’ve all done it), but we owe ourselves more.

Your setbacks can become a setup for your comeback. 2009 was a challenging year for our country’s economy. Yet Jermaine brought up a great point. We all get knocked down. Use it as a way to address your faults so you can succeed the next time. For Jermaine, the toughest job was changing his own mindset.

Treat everyone you meet like they are the CEO. Jermaine said that if you treat everyone you encounter as the CEO, you never have to change your behavior because it becomes a lifestyle. Regardless of where you stand in your organization, leadership is not defined by titles but by actions. Give your employees and customers the best service you can.

Jermaine says character is built when no one is watching. As leaders, we have a responsibility to provide the best service to our customers and the best leadership to inspire our teams. Both deserve nothing less. We must always give our best, especially when no one is watching.

In any career journey, you will have success and failure. It’s important to learn how to stay the course. But don’t forget that getting lost can have its advantages, like it did for me that day in Penn Station.

 

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