Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey Ranked 4 in 2013 DiversityMBA 50 Out Front Companies for Diversity Leadership

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey #4

Newark, N.J.
CEO: Robert Marino
CDE: Alison Banks-Moore
4,930 employees

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey views diversity as part of who it is as a company; takes pride in its commitment to diversity and inclusion among employees, members, physicians and business partners; and values differences of culture, education, experience, physical ability and unique perspectives in its workplace. Attracting, retaining and advancing talent from all sources is critical to the company’s continued success in providing quality health care and strengthening its bond with the multifaceted communities it serves.

“As an industry leader and a proud New Jersey business, we understand the importance of having a workforce that embodies the spirit of those we serve,” said Robert A. Marino, Horizon BCBSNJ’s Chairman, CEO and President. “That’s why the rich diversity of our state is reflected in our membership, workforce and vendor relationships. We draw on the collective strength of our diverse workforce to gain a competitive edge within the health-care industry. Our success depends on the efforts, ideas and performance of every single employee.

“At Horizon BCBSNJ, we recognize the benefits of hiring employees whose diversity offers a variety of perspectives that enable them to communicate with and relate to our members and customers,” Marino said. “We believe that with diversity comes creativity, productivity, a variety of perspectives and innovative solutions – all of which contribute to the success of our business.”

So how does Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey make such lofty ideals work in the real world of business? They do it through an array of well thought-out and targeted initiatives.

The guiding principle of the company’s Diversity Training Program is that diversity training increases employee awareness of workplace diversity and expands employees’ knowledge and competence so that they may work effectively in a multicultural environment. That goes for executives, too. Horizon BCBSNJ’s Reverse Mentoring Program enables high-potential minority employees to mentor the company’s top executives on the perspectives and challenges of individuals from different cultural or ethnic backgrounds. At the same time, it gives the employees the opportunity to engage in constructive discussions with senior management.

Another innovative program is Officer Sponsorship of Affinity Groups, designed to recognize the differing concerns and perspectives of affinity groups through their initiatives and dialogue with senior executives who champion and act as executive advisors in support of those initiatives. Horizon BCBSNJ’s affinity groups include the Enlightenment and Empowerment Enterprise (EEE), Latin-American Cultural Organization (LACO), Asian-American Affinity Group and Muslim Affinity Group.

EEE’s mission is to communicate and exchange information to empower and enhance the lives of co-workers and the surrounding community, both professionally and personally, while enhancing the company’s image through community service. EEE is championed by Peggy Johnson, Vice President and Chief Pharmacy Officer.
The goal of LACO is to promote the rich Latin-American culture, heritage and history and help all Latin Americans at Horizon in their endeavors toward success. Its sponsor is David Huber, Senior Vice President, CFO and Treasurer.

Similarly, the Asian-American Affinity Group seeks to promote the unique blend of Asian cultural heritage and traditions by educating and supporting this population, while recognizing and celebrating accomplishments of personal and professional growth and development. The group’s executive sponsor is Colleen Brennan, Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer.

The mission of the Muslim Affinity Group is to promote a better understanding of Al-Islam within the Horizon community in an environment that is open and inclusive, fostering positive relationships built upon our commonalities and respecting our differences. Dr. Glenn Pomerantz, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, is sponsor of this group.

Horizon BCBSNJ also works toward inclusion through several youth-oriented efforts. The INROADS Intern Program develops and places talented minority college students in business and industry internships to prepare them for corporate community leadership, while its Legal and Education Empowerment Project helps youths from underserved neighborhoods achieve high-level academic performance through programs to develop the skills and behaviors necessary for success and community leadership.

Horizon also partners with the Cristo Rey Network, which supports small Catholic high schools that serve economically disadvantaged urban youth, in a work/study program.

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