Only 30 percent of C-suite healthcare leadership teams are female, according to this year's Oliver Wyman Women in Healthcare Leadership report. Florida Blue — part of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association — is above industry norm with 40 percent female C-suite representation. In this episode of the Oliver Wyman Health Podcast, Julie Murchinson, CEO of Health Evolution, and Terry Stone, report co-author, Oliver Wyman Health & Life Sciences Partner, and Global Chair for Inclusion & Diversity, interview Florida Blue's President and CEO, Patrick Geraghty, to get a male leader's perspective on why so few women in healthcare make it to the top.
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- "When I arrived at Florida Blue, we had a diversity department — literally a dozen people who worked on diversity [full-time]. In my view, they were good at securing recognition for the organization … but when I looked at eight white male executives reporting to the CEO, my benchmark's always been about results, not activity. So, we [disbanded] our diversity department. I had some employers associated with that department question my commitment. I was very clear with them: my commitment couldn't be at a higher level. Diversity was going to be managed by the executive management team. I was going to chair that activity and we were going to have regular discussions around diversity at my leadership team meetings as part of our regular agenda. It wasn't a compartmentalized, side activity. It was integrated into our business." (2:48)
- "My 'aha' moment came three weeks into my job when a young woman on our diversity team wrote me an email with a tremendous amount of 'chutzpah.' She challenged my decision to dismantle the functional diversity group, thinking we were turning our backs on diversity. I was so impressed by her candor, I immediately invited her to my office. When she wanted to tender her resignation, I shared with her my bigger vision for diversity. Not only did she turn the corner and become one of our best advocates – she got promoted multiple times. This young lady is losing her eyesight, yet became the lead person in our organization for people with physical challenges and a community spokesperson, helping us win awards for accommodating people with vision and other physical challenges. ... She was young, passionate, she challenged the CEO in his first month on the job, and she pushed us to understand all sides can modify their position when the best information is shared." (7:21)
- "What’s [most] relevant is a leader’s initial experience. I grew up thinking I’d be a lawyer like my father, but I ended up in insurance like my mother – something we joke about in my family. My parents both worked. My mother, who managed men in the 1950s in the actuarial department of Metropolitan Life, said when she was supervising men, she was told, 'You won’t be paid what your predecessor was paid. He had a family.' My brother, my three sisters, and I heard that early on. And, my father – way ahead of Title IX – integrated our town’s sports program so young women could play softball, basketball, and soccer. Chores in our home were gender neutral. My brother and I vacuumed, did dishes, and folded laundry.” (13:35)
- "Having a base background that gives you the right set of frameworks is important. I try when I interview people to get into how they grew up, what their backgrounds were, what they were exposed to, and then understanding what other training [they've had] and how their thinking has evolved. That's kind of how I think about this space." (15:58)