Inclusion and Diversity

Louisville is among cities harnessing the collective power of community-based organizations, local government, and nonprofits to become a more equitable place where everyone can thrive.

Two Metro Louisville government leaders driving these efforts were guest speakers for Humana’s celebration of the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. This year’s theme: Unity in Community.

Maria Hughes, Humana SVP and Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, with Mayor Greg Fischer at the Lean Into Louisville kickoff event.

Kellie Watson, Louisville’s first Chief Equity Officer, and the Rev. Dr. Vincent James Sr., the city’s first Chief of Community Building, discussed the state of our nation and the city of Louisville. The speakers also highlighted Humana’s partnership with Lean Into Louisville, a city-wide effort that will provide an unprecedented series of presentations, conversations, activities, and art exhibits to explore and confront the city’s legacy of discrimination and inequality.

Ms. Watson provides strategic, visionary planning and oversight to advance racial equity throughout Louisville Metro Government. She oversees the Departments of Human Resources and the Human Relations Commission.

Watson is leading the city on an “equity journey,” joining national partners and other cities to learn how government can make a difference. A top goal: Rooting out structural racism, institutional racism, and implicit bias. This requires raising awareness, investing in marginalized communities, and helping people navigate difficult terrain together.

She shared a startling fact about how black income continues to lag behind white income: “Black wealth is at $5.04 for every $100 that a white family has. That’s $5 for every $100. Those are the inequities that government helps perpetuate that we need to fix.”

“How does government break down the institutional barriers around racism?” she asked. “How does government break down those systems that continue to perpetuate the barriers that keep people from reaching their full potential? And as we all know, government has perpetuated a lot of those barriers throughout history.”

“Governments,” she observed, “must be intentional about fixing such things.”

Each Louisville Metro Government department now has a “racial equity liaison.” These high-ranking leaders have authority to represent issues effectively within their areas.

To evaluate proposed policy changes, Ms. Watson and her team use a “racial equity toolkit.” It provides questions to help define desired outcomes, highlight relevant data, and identify community stakeholders so they are represented.

There were 8,500 victims of hate crimes in the United States in 2017. Ms. Watson gave a powerful, personal account of Louisville’s efforts to reduce these crimes, noting that recently she and her family have been victims.

Rev. James also spoke about being called to serve, saying he was horrified and inspired to act after a triple homicide near his church. He arrived at the scene to find two young people whom he had mentored among the dead.

“I said I never wanted to see another young person die in our streets,” he said. “I asked what would happen to them if I don’t help. I volunteered for everything.”

James left his corporate career to become Chief of Community Building. He focuses on the city’s comprehensive public safety strategy, supervising departments including the Office for Safe & Healthy Neighborhoods, Public Health & Wellness, Youth Detention Services, the Louisville Zoo, and Parks & Recreation.

He serves as the Faith and Community Based Coordinator in the Office for Safe & Healthy Neighborhoods, which works to address the root causes of violence through community engagement and programs such as Pivot to Peace and mentorship.

James is also pastor of Elim Baptist Church in Louisville’s Parkland neighborhood, and he has been involved in multiple non-profit community-building initiatives.

He said the work that he, Watson, and Mayor Greg Fischer are doing is “helping us understand how we got here, that we didn’t just arrive at this point in time in our country, but it was through systems and government policies and individuals who wanted to keep things the way they were without allowing others to have full access to opportunities. Years and years of divesting from our communities have led to what we see.”

The goal, he said, is to bring equity to all communities.

“Why is it that if you lived in one zip code versus another, there is a 12-year lifespan gap?” he asked. “That’s injustice.”

“When you give people jobs and hope, and they have the opportunity to receive an education, it changes history. That’s the work that we’re in. We’re in the people-changing business.”

After a Q&A session with associates, Maria Hughes, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, closed the session with a quote from Dr. King: “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

Learn more about Lean Into Louisville. Learning opportunities will be available throughout Louisville.

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Forbes has recognized Humana for cultivating a culture that welcomes and supports all workers.

The magazine partnered with market research company Statista to create their second annual ranking of America’s Best Employers for Diversity. The list was compiled by surveying 50,000 Americans working for businesses with at least 1,000 employees.

Read the story and see the list here.



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Humana’s David Best, Senior Talent Management Professional and Veteran Hiring Initiative Leader, recently spoke with DiversityInc. about Humana’s military recruitment and outreach efforts.

“Humana has a deep commitment to the veteran and military spouse population,” David said. “As a longtime partner to the Department of Defense’s TRICARE program, Humana currently administers health benefits for more than 6 million active duty military and retirees as well as their families across 32 states.

“Since the inception of TRICARE in 1996, Humana has worked to improve the lives entrusted to our care by partnering with the Government to create the right access, better health outcomes, and simplified experiences.

“As part of our relationship, we actively seek veterans and military spouses because we understand they’re part of a distinct and highly skilled professional talent pool.”

He added, “To help maintain our commitment, we have a talent manager dedicated to veterans and military spouses. This role provides national outreach through partnerships with organizations serving veterans and military spouses. We send a list of open roles twice monthly to our partners as well as provide career coaching, resume and interview assistance, and advocacy to recruiters and hiring managers. The talent manager works with recruiters and hiring managers to bridge the gap on translation of military skills to the corporate environment.”

He also noted the importance of Humana’s Veterans Network Resource Group (VNRG).

“Our VNRG is instrumental in promoting the hiring of veterans and military spouses,” he said. “Members act as ambassadors wherever they are located and refer veteran/military spouse talent to the program manager of the veterans hiring initiative. We also invite members to attend career events with the talent acquisition team as well as represent Humana at veteran events.”

David said, “I directly credit our VNRG for helping me to have a solid second career. The networking opportunities, the volunteering opportunities and the relationships have inspired me to become more involved. Because of my involvement with our VNRG, I’ve been able to pay back what has been given to me during my time here at Humana.”

Read the full interview here.

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When you think about a holiday like Thanksgiving, do you picture yourself surrounded by family and loved ones? What would it feel like if you weren’t welcome at that celebration? For some in the LGBTQ community, that is their reality.

For the fourth year, the Pride NRG, Humana’s LGBTQ Associates and Allies Network Resource Group, is helping to make sure students at the University of Louisville can celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with those that care about them and accept them within their community.

The UofL LGBT Center and LGBT Alumni Council host an Alternative Thanksgiving to encourage LGBTQ+ students to come as they are and celebrate the holiday. Many of these students are not allowed to return home for the holidays, or their identities are not supported at home and could cause harm by attending. The Pride NRG has partnered with these group to sponsor the turkey, dressing, and gravy for the celebration. They also encourage their members to volunteer to serve these young adults and the staff that supports them every day.

“The holiday celebrations can be stressful, perhaps even more so for LGBTQ+ young adults heading home for Thanksgiving,” said Basel Oakley, Process Improvement Professional and Associate Engagement & Development Co-Lead, Pride NRG. “We’re proud to again help the UofL LGBT Center create a welcoming environment where everyone can celebrate Thanksgiving exactly as they are.”

Each year, between 150 and 200 students attend the Alternative Thanksgiving, sharing potluck-style side dishes with each other. During the event, seniors graduating in December receive their rainbow pride graduation cords, and the winner of the Katy Garrison Award is announced, honoring a graduating senior that has held a leadership position with the UofL LGBT Center.

NRGs like Pride provide Humana’s employees with an opportunity for personal growth by enabling them to network across the organization and are a key component of building and maintaining a culture of inclusivity within the company. The Pride NRG is one of nine groups within Humana, helping employees understand and appreciate the diversity in all communities the company serves.

Read more about Humana’s Network Resources Groups here or in Humana’s 2016-2017 Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

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Humana has been honored with the top 5-star rating in employment by the 2018 HACR Corporate Inclusion Index (HACR CII), a research initiative conducted by the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) and the HACR Research Institute to measure Hispanic inclusion in corporate America.

Humana also received high marks in the categories of governance, philanthropy and procurement.

The employment category assessed:

• Recruitment, hiring, attrition and turnover
• Inclusive development opportunities with goals (internships, mentoring, sponsorships, succession planning)
• Success of a Hispanic Network Resource Group (Humana’s Unidos NRG has over 1,500 members. Twenty-nine percent of Humana associates are in at least one NRG)
• Overall I&D strategy and leadership support

“We’re honored to be on this list, because it speaks to our goal of having a culture where every associate feels welcome, appreciated and encouraged to speak up and provide their unique perspectives,” said Maria Hughes, Senior Vice President and Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer at Humana. “Our associates reflect the communities in which we work, increasing engagement and innovation as we help our members achieve their own best health.”

The HACR CII survey lets companies better understand the needs of the evolving Hispanic community, develop Hispanic initiatives, and make significant progress toward greater Hispanic inclusion in the business world.

“By adopting Hispanic inclusiveness, companies are cultivating a corporate culture that promotes forward thinking, which sustains their ability to outpace competitors,” said Dr. Lisette Garcia, HACR senior vice president and COO of HACR’s Board of Directors.

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