InsideBlue February 2022

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<strong>InsideBlue</strong><br />

FEBRUARY <strong>2022</strong><br />

A publication for the employees of the Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield family of companies<br />


Curtis Barnett<br />

President and chief<br />

executive officer<br />

Curtis Barnett<br />

President and Chief<br />

Executive Officer<br />

Our InBLUEsion Journey<br />

More than a year ago, we began a journey to ensure<br />

that our employees – all of our employees – feel<br />

welcome, valued, and are thriving. Through focus<br />

groups and candid conversations, we have learned<br />

that not everyone feels that way, so we have<br />

worked to make changes. We listened, and we<br />

continue to listen.<br />

This issue of <strong>InsideBlue</strong> magazine shares the steps<br />

we have taken toward making Arkansas Blue<br />

Cross and Blue Shield a more diverse and inclusive<br />

company. That means providing transparency in our<br />

hiring practices, offering a safe way for employees<br />

to address diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)<br />

concerns, communicating about DEI and, in the<br />

future, connecting our employees through resource<br />

groups and mentoring programs.<br />

Companies that value diversity and inclusion do a<br />

much better job unlocking the talent that already<br />

exists inside their organizations. Also, studies have<br />

shown that organizations seeking diverse viewpoints<br />

experience higher rates of innovation, which is<br />

extremely important in the healthcare industry.<br />

While this publication is mainly focused on our<br />

internal InBLUEsion program, I want to recognize<br />

that our commitment to equity expands beyond<br />

our employees. We are also addressing health<br />

disparities within our state. During the height of the<br />

COVID-19 pandemic, we saw the lack of access to<br />

healthcare in portions of our state and we've joined<br />

with other organizations to address it. We can no<br />

longer accept systemic bias in any form.<br />

I want to thank you, our employees, for joining the<br />

journey toward an enterprise where the playing<br />

field is level and everyone feels that they matter.<br />

We have made great strides in this first year, but<br />

I know we still have a ways to go. The important<br />

thing to me is that we are walking together.<br />

2 <strong>InsideBlue</strong> <strong>February</strong>

Representation matters:<br />


Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield has approximately 3,000 full-time workers.<br />

Our employees as they identify themselves<br />

American Indian or Alaska Native<br />

Asian<br />

Black or African American<br />

Hispanic or Latino<br />

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander<br />

Two or More Races (Not Hispanic or Latino)<br />

White<br />

Choose not to disclose<br />

0.34%<br />

3.52%<br />

34.88%<br />

2.37%<br />

0.06%<br />

1.47%<br />

56.36%<br />

1.00%<br />

Generations<br />

Post-War Cohort (1928- 1945)<br />

Baby Boomers (1946 - 1965)<br />

Generation X (1966 - 1976)<br />

Generation Y / Millenials (1977 - 1994)<br />

Generation Z (1995 - 2012)<br />

2<br />

514<br />

872<br />

1,570<br />

115<br />

Veterans<br />

3.71%<br />

114 Employees<br />

self-identify as veterans<br />

70.98%<br />

Women*<br />

* At this time, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue<br />

Shield employees do not have a way to<br />

indicate non-binary identities in Workday.<br />

Women employees<br />

People with a disability<br />

.065%<br />

20 employees self-identify<br />

as having a disability<br />

62%<br />

Women represented in positions<br />

of supervisor and above<br />

<strong>February</strong> <strong>InsideBlue</strong> 3

Our first year’s milestones<br />

In September 2020, the Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield Board of Directors<br />

granted unanimous approval to launch an enterprise inclusion initiative. The<br />

following November, a 12-member InBLUEsion Steering Committee was formed.<br />

You can read more about the steering committee on page 8. In December,<br />

the enterprise entered a partnership with Teleos Leadership Institute, a<br />

global organizational development firm, and determined how to use existing<br />

relationships with McLean & Co. and FranklinCovey.<br />

Watch Curtis’ vlog that<br />

introduced the initiative<br />

Milestones 2021<br />


Curtis introduces the initiative<br />

through a video blog to<br />

all employees.<br />

Teleos provides guidance<br />

and training to the<br />

Steering Committee.<br />


Steering committee members and<br />

employees at the director level and<br />

above attend Unconscious Bias<br />

Training led by Mark Murphy from<br />

FranklinCovey.<br />

Teleos conducts 23 employee<br />

forums, 24 employee focus groups<br />

and ten one-on-one interviews.<br />

Almost 1,000 employees participated<br />

in one of the sessions.<br />

4 <strong>InsideBlue</strong> <strong>February</strong><br />

APRIL<br />

Teleos presents the results of<br />

the employee group meetings,<br />

identifying six themes and making<br />

13 recommendations across four<br />

focus areas. Read more on page 6.<br />

JUNE<br />

The enterprise adopts a Diversity,<br />

Equity and Inclusion policy.<br />

The Office of the Ombuds is<br />

established. Read more on page 10.<br />

Pride Month and Juneteenth are<br />

recognized in the <strong>InsideBlue</strong><br />

magazine, with two articles<br />

featuring employee perspectives.<br />

Curtis and Stephanie Floyd present<br />

the results and recommendations<br />

to all employees through a vlog<br />

for all employees.<br />

The InBLUEsion site launches<br />

on <strong>InsideBlue</strong>.

InBLUEsion<br />

Operations<br />

Council<br />

JULY<br />

The employee-led InBLUEsion<br />

Operations Council is established.<br />

Read more on page 9.<br />

AUGUST<br />

Members of the InBLUEsion<br />

Operations Council attend a<br />

training led by Teleos.<br />

Human Resources implements<br />

a feedback policy and process<br />

in Workday so that internal<br />

candidates can opt to receive<br />

feedback from interviews.<br />

Human Resources trains all hiring<br />

leaders in the feedback process.<br />


To equip managers with information<br />

about returning employees to<br />

the office, Enterprise Learning<br />

& Development conducts training<br />

that includes using empathy to<br />

help employees process the<br />

emotions related to changes.<br />

The Operations Council meets<br />

several times to develop a<br />

calendar of observances for <strong>2022</strong>.<br />


Ombuds officers begin meeting with<br />

teams throughout the enterprise to<br />

discuss the initiative and answer<br />

questions in small settings.<br />

Human Resources gains approval for<br />

the candidate application process for<br />

<strong>2022</strong> that will support a candidate’s<br />

preferred pronouns.<br />


Employees participate in an<br />

engagement survey that includes<br />

questions regarding inclusion<br />

in the workplace.<br />


Holiday décor includes a Hanukkah<br />

menorah and a Kwanzaa kinara<br />

and the holiday meeting uses<br />

more inclusive language and<br />

song selections.<br />

<strong>InsideBlue</strong> articles about Hanukkah,<br />

Kwanzaa and Winter Solstice/Yule<br />

introduce employees to different<br />

traditions and beliefs.<br />

<strong>February</strong><br />

<strong>InsideBlue</strong> 5

Findings and recommendations<br />

In <strong>February</strong>, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield partnered with<br />

Teleos Leaders to host nearly fifty forums, interviews, and focus<br />

groups that involved more than 1,000 of our employees. Teleos<br />

analyzed the data gathered and identified six high-level themes,<br />

then worked with the InBLUEsion Steering Committee to develop<br />

13 recommendations and determine a path forward.<br />

Themes<br />

There is much to love about<br />

working at Arkansas Blue Cross.<br />

Our benefits and compensation and the<br />

service we provide to our communities<br />

are top-notch. Many employees<br />

described co-workers as friends. Teleos<br />

noted that not every company shares<br />

Arkansas Blue Cross’ relational power<br />

and that our company’s strength of<br />

connection among people can create<br />

the most vibrant and positive cultures.<br />

Representation matters.<br />

Our employees want to see people who<br />

look like them in all areas and levels of<br />

the company and they want to seek out<br />

role models and mentors who can help<br />

guide their professional development.<br />

Longing for belonging.<br />

Employees expressed a desire for<br />

opportunities to learn more about others’<br />

experiences and to connect with others<br />

with similar identities.<br />

Advancement opportunities.<br />

Employees expressed a desire to<br />

improve job descriptions, and how they<br />

are posted and communicated, a greater<br />

understanding of what hiring managers<br />

are looking for from the beginning of<br />

the search and consistency among<br />

departments and hiring managers.<br />

More inclusive and<br />

transparent decision-making<br />

and communication.<br />

Employees asked that we involve more<br />

people who work closer to the frontlines<br />

sooner in the decision-making process<br />

to get the benefit of their knowledge and<br />

experience. Employees want consistency<br />

among all executives, directors, or<br />

managers to communicate information,<br />

especially difficult and tough decisions,<br />

in an honest and understandable<br />

way. Finally, employees want more<br />

information to be delivered in person<br />

and not just over email or <strong>InsideBlue</strong>.<br />

Process to report questions<br />

and concerns.<br />

Some employees shared that they want<br />

a way to report questions and concerns<br />

related to fairness and inclusion and a<br />

clear process to have them addressed.<br />

Some employees felt when they<br />

spoke up about unfair treatment in<br />

the past, they experienced negative<br />

consequences.<br />

Watch Curtis’ vlog with<br />

Stephanie Floyd about these<br />

findings and recommendations<br />

6 <strong>InsideBlue</strong> <strong>February</strong>

Recommendations and Action Items<br />

Working closely with Teleos, the InBLUEsion Steering Committee identified these 13 recommendations for improvement and set<br />

priorities for 2021 and <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

Representation<br />

and Belonging<br />

Employee Support<br />

and Resources<br />

Equal<br />

Opportunities<br />

Leadership<br />

Behavior<br />

In-person celebration<br />

of InBLUEsion<br />

Develop a calendar<br />

of company events and<br />

national observances<br />

Communications plan<br />

Establish Office of Ombuds<br />

Establish Operations<br />

committee<br />

Develop Employee<br />

Resource Groups<br />

Ensure integrity of job<br />

postings<br />

Support greater<br />

transparency in<br />

recruiting process<br />

Develop mentoring program<br />

Reconfigure leadership<br />

curriculum to include<br />

inclusion, bias and empathy<br />

Train hiring managers in<br />

giving constructive feedback<br />

Resume Leadership Forum<br />

for directors and above for<br />

teaching moments<br />

Coaching for InBLUEsion<br />

Representation and Belonging<br />

The InBLUEsion Operations Council was established in 2021 and<br />

charged with focusing on the recommendations in this section.<br />

The in-person celebration of InBLUEsion was not implemented<br />

to keep employees safe during pandemic conditions. The council<br />

developed a calendar for <strong>2022</strong> that highlights important cultural<br />

dates and observances reflecting our diverse population (see<br />

page 12) and is coordinating with Corporate Marketing to share<br />

information with employees.<br />

Employee Support and Resources<br />

The Office of Ombuds was created as a safe place for<br />

employees to share concerns about inclusion. Read more on<br />

page 10. Two employee resource groups (ERGs) will be piloted in<br />

<strong>2022</strong> (specific topics/demographics to be determined) and more<br />

ERGs will be added in the future. Learn more on page 10.<br />

Equal Opportunities<br />

To ensure the integrity of job postings and hiring process,<br />

Human Resources updated messaging that applicants receive<br />

during the process and managers were trained in giving<br />

feedback. In <strong>2022</strong>, Enterprise Learning & Development and<br />

Human Resources will work with Teleos to plan a mentoring<br />

program, with the goal of implementing it in 2023.<br />

Leadership Behavior<br />

In August, employees with direct reports participated in training<br />

on how to give constructive feedback. These skills can be used<br />

in multiple settings: one-on-one meetings, post-interview<br />

feedback and other “teaching moments.” The Leadership Forum<br />

resumed in 2021 and took place virtually. Participants watched<br />

a pre-recorded presentation by Stephanie Floyd, InBLUEsion<br />

Steering Committee chair, and Fran Johnston, Ph.D., of Teleos<br />

Leaders, updating viewers on InBLUEsion’s first year and plans<br />

for <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

<strong>February</strong> <strong>InsideBlue</strong> 7

Leadership and Governance:<br />


The InBLUEsion Steering Committee, which convened in November 2020, was charged with evaluating the current state of inclusion at<br />

the enterprise and creating a plan to support our Inclusion Vision Statement. Committee members, appointed by Curtis Barnett and Odell<br />

Nickelberry, include employees from all levels of the organization. The steering committee members elected Stephanie Floyd as chair.<br />

How to contact: You can contact any steering committee member directly or send an email to InBLUEsion@arkbluecross.com.<br />

InBLUEsion Steering Committee Members<br />

Stephanie Floyd<br />

Steering committee chair,<br />

Ombuds officer, and Director of<br />

Membership Administration<br />

Curtis Barnett<br />

President and Chief<br />

Executive Officer<br />

Alicia Berkemeyer<br />

Executive Vice President<br />

and Chief Health<br />

Management Officer<br />

Lynn Dauzat<br />

Manager of Northeast<br />

Regional and Retail<br />

Operations<br />

Gray Dillard<br />

Executive Vice President<br />

and Chief Operating Officer<br />

Katie Eisenhower<br />

Employee Communications<br />

with Corporate Marketing<br />

Judy Garcia<br />

Manager of Enterprise<br />

Information Services<br />

Judy Lohmar<br />

Director of Enterprise<br />

Learning & Development<br />

Grady McCorkle<br />

Director of Workforce<br />

Planning<br />

8 <strong>InsideBlue</strong> <strong>February</strong><br />

Alison Melson<br />

Vice President of<br />

Corporate Marketing<br />

Odell Nickelberry<br />

Vice President and Chief<br />

Human Resources Officer<br />

Kathy Ryan<br />

Executive Vice President,<br />

Chief Administrative Officer<br />

and Chief Information Officer

Leadership and Governance:<br />


The InBLUEsion Council was formed in August 2021 to carry out the tasks and recommendations of the InBLUEsion strategic plan and<br />

help our employees understand diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) through communications and activities. The 11 council members<br />

direct our inclusion initiative at the employee level and the four ambassadors direct our inclusion initiative at the management level.<br />

The council has subcommittees that plan activities to support holidays and observances in the <strong>2022</strong> InBLUEsion calendar. You can view<br />

the calendar on page 11. If you’d like to be involved, please email InBLUEsion@arkbluecross.com. Thank you in advance!<br />

InBLUEsion Council Members<br />

Wanda King<br />

Vice President of Claims and<br />

FEP, Executive Lead, InBLUEsion<br />

Operations Council<br />

Murali Aggala<br />

Manager of Enterprise<br />

Data Management<br />

Samantha Allen<br />

Business Systems Analyst<br />

for AMISYS Configuration<br />

and Analysis IV<br />

Tina Baggett<br />

Network Development<br />

Representative for<br />

Central Region<br />

Sherri Brewer<br />

Manager of Clinical Services for<br />

Enterprise Medical Management<br />

Harry Bounds<br />

Primary Care<br />

Representative for<br />

Primary Care Reps<br />

Claudia Calderon<br />

Supervisor of Customer Service<br />

for Health Advantage/ASE/PSE<br />

Customer Service Management<br />

Stacy Cockrell<br />

Software Administrator<br />

for Enterprise Learning<br />

and Development<br />

Meredith Hicks<br />

Project Manager for Regulatory<br />

Compliance Programs<br />

Karen Howard<br />

Support Specialist Customer<br />

Service for Southwest Regional<br />

Operations and Customer Service<br />

Courtney Johnson<br />

Bookkeeper for Claims<br />

Payments and Refunds<br />

Bennie L. Langley<br />

Manager in IT<br />

Support Services<br />

Robert Mims<br />

IT Customer Services Technologies<br />

Analyst lead for IT Customer Support<br />

Core Technologies<br />

Wade Mitchell<br />

Enterprise Technology<br />

Architect Senior for<br />

Enterprise Architecture<br />

Creshelle R. Nash, M.D.<br />

Medical Director for Health<br />

Equity and Public Programs<br />

Selection Process<br />

Gedidiah Starks<br />

Supervisor of Customer Service<br />

for Exchange Customer Service II<br />

InBLUEsion Ambassadors<br />

Angela Winston<br />

Director of Enterprise<br />

Customer Service<br />

All employees were invited to apply to be considered for membership<br />

and 11 employees were selected to serve a term of two years.<br />

Employees who were not selected to be on the council were invited to<br />

serve on subcommittees, helping to plan and participate in events and<br />

developing communications. For more information about the selection<br />

process, visit this article on <strong>InsideBlue</strong>.<br />

<strong>February</strong><br />

<strong>InsideBlue</strong> 9

Leadership and Governance:<br />


In June 2021, the Office of the Ombuds was established to receive, investigate and assist in resolving<br />

complaints and potential violations of the Enterprise Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy (DEI).<br />

The Ombuds Office is staffed by Stephanie Floyd, InBLUEsion Steering Committee chair and director<br />

of Individual Customer Accounts.<br />

We are still listening and I encourage you to share your<br />

ideas and concerns. I hope you’ll consider volunteering to<br />

serve on one of our sub-committees to expand this initiative<br />

so that every employee feels welcome, valued and is thriving.<br />

Stephanie Floyd<br />

Ombuds Officer and Director<br />

of Membership Administration<br />

Inquiries in 2021<br />

Since its inception, the Ombuds Office has received roughly 15 inquiries.<br />

Two inquiries merited investigations. The others were opportunities to<br />

have transparent and safe conversations about employees’ concerns.<br />

InBLUEsion "Q&A Roadshow"<br />

Stephanie, along with Wanda King, executive lead for the InBLUEsion<br />

Council, are committed to facilitating open and respectful discussions<br />

about InBLUEsion and want to be sure your questions are answered.<br />

Watch <strong>InsideBlue</strong> for a recording of a short presentation that answers<br />

frequently asked questions about InBLUEsion, then send your comments,<br />

questions and kudos to InBLUEsion@arkbluecross.com.<br />

10 <strong>InsideBlue</strong> <strong>February</strong>

Our second year:<br />


Calendar<br />

The InBLUEsion Operations Concil developed this calendar. All the dates have been added to the<br />

<strong>InsideBlue</strong> Calendar of Events. Look for articles on <strong>InsideBlue</strong>, volunteer opportunities and other<br />

activities where you can be involved.<br />

January<br />

World Braille Day, January 4<br />

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, January 17<br />

<strong>February</strong><br />

Black History Month<br />

Chinese New Year, <strong>February</strong> 1<br />

World Day of Social Justice, <strong>February</strong> 20<br />

March<br />

Women’s History Month & International<br />

Women’s Day, Tuesday, March 8<br />

April<br />

Autism Awareness Month<br />

Ramadan, evening of Friday, April 1<br />

to evening Saturday, April 30<br />

World Autism Day, Saturday, April 2<br />

Easter, Sunday, April 17<br />

May<br />

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month<br />

Haitian Heritage Month<br />

Jewish American Heritage Month<br />

National Day of Reason, Thursday, May 5<br />

June<br />

Pride Month<br />

Juneteenth, Sunday, June 19<br />

July<br />

Eid al-Adha, evening of Saturday, July 9<br />

to evening of Wednesday, July 13<br />

International Nelson Mandela Day,<br />

Monday, July 18<br />

August<br />

Women’s Equality Day, Friday, August 26<br />

September<br />

Ganesh Chaturthi, Friday, September 10<br />

Hispanic Heritage Month, Wednesday,<br />

September 15 – Friday, October 15<br />

Native American Day, Sunday, September 24<br />

October<br />

National Disability Employment Awareness Month<br />

Indigenous Peoples Day, October 10<br />

November<br />

Day of the Dead, Mexican holiday, November 1-2<br />

Diwali, November 4<br />

National Veterans Day, Thursday, November 11<br />

Transgender Day of Remembrance,<br />

Saturday, November 20<br />

Native American Heritage Day,<br />

Friday, November 26<br />

Hannukah, sundown on Friday, November 28<br />

to sundown on Monday, December 6<br />

December<br />

Human Rights Day, Friday, December 10<br />

Christmas, Saturday, December 25<br />

Kwanzaa, Sunday, December 26 to<br />

Saturday, January 1<br />

Quarterly Events<br />

Each quarter, the InBLUEsion Operations<br />

Council will focus on one observance with<br />

educational articles, employee perspectives,<br />

community connection opportunities and<br />

more. Stay tuned to <strong>InsideBlue</strong>.<br />

Q1 Black History Month<br />

Q2 Pride Month<br />

Q3 Woman's Equality<br />

Q4 Hispanic Heritage<br />

<strong>February</strong> <strong>InsideBlue</strong> 11

Goals for <strong>2022</strong><br />

As we continue our journey together toward a more inclusive environment, here are some things we<br />

are working toward. Check <strong>InsideBlue</strong> often for updates and opportunities for you to be involved.<br />

• Employee Resource Groups (ERGs):<br />

ERGs are voluntary, employee-led<br />

groups whose aim is to be a safe space<br />

to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace<br />

aligned with the organizations they<br />

serve. Two ERGs will be piloted,<br />

starting in summer <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

• Mentoring program: This year,<br />

a structured program will be<br />

developed, with implementation<br />

occurring in 2023. The mentoring<br />

program will be available to<br />

all employees.<br />

• Inclusion awareness training:<br />

All employees will participate<br />

in required classes to increase<br />

awareness and understanding<br />

of inclusion in the workplace.<br />

• Workday updates: Employees will<br />

be able to identify their pronouns in<br />

Workday. The pronouns we select<br />

for ourselves represent our identity.<br />

A simple way to help create an<br />

inclusive environment is to respect<br />

everyone’s identities by using the<br />

pronouns they select.<br />

By the end of <strong>2022</strong>, all 13 recommendations (page 6) will have been addressed or started.<br />

Celebrate the spirit of InBLUEsion:<br />


Every employee has the opportunity and<br />

responsibility to help create a diverse, equitable<br />

and inclusive environment at Arkansas Blue<br />

Cross. Now you can recognize these positive<br />

efforts! You can send employees a “Spirit<br />

of InBLUEsion” ecard through In$ideBlue4U<br />

anytime during the year. This fall, you can<br />

nominate employees for an annual award —<br />

stay tuned to In$ideBlue4u for more information.<br />

<strong>InsideBlue</strong><br />

A publication for the employees of the Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield family of companies<br />

EDITOR: Katie Eisenhower DESIGNER: Ryan Kravitz PHOTOGRAPHERS: Chip Bayer and Cindy Momchilov<br />

CONTRIBUTORS: Contributors: Curtis Barnett, Stephanie Floyd and Grady McCorkle<br />



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