By Karla Amador
As the Diversity and Inclusion Manager of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA), Maryanne Ravenel is responsible for leading BCBSMA’s commitment to becoming a culturally competent organization through targeted diverse and inclusive programming within the organization.
In her role, she leads BCBSMA’s employee resource groups to ensure their initiatives are aligned with the company’s overall strategic priorities. These groups include Asian Blue Community, AzuLatinx, Blue Pride, Black Professionals Network, Empowering Abilities, Veterans Employee Resource Group, Women’s Inclusion Network, and the Young Professionals Network. The ERGs are responsible for maintaining and advancing the culture, career, commerce, and community pillars within their ERG.
Along with the VP of Talent Acquisition and Chief Diversity Officer, Stephanie Browne, Ravenel is also responsible for diverse recruitment and retention projects within the company, such as the Talent Ambassador Program, which seeks to utilize BCBSMA associates as brand ambassadors at college campuses, career fairs, and networking events. The goal is to continue to build a pipeline of diverse talent within the company.
“My role is to recruit, respect, and retain top talent with a clear understanding of who they are as individuals and what their unique skill sets can bring to our organization,” she said.
Ravenel finds fulfillment in her role knowing that the relationships she builds reflect BCBSMA’s dedication to equitable treatment across the board.
D&I work is not without obstacles, of course. Communication is a key part of creating an inclusive environment. To achieve that goal, BCBSMA hosts events such as the “Diversity Dialogues” Series, which provides information about unique perspectives of associates from different communities.
“The overall goal is to show that diversity and inclusion are key parts of our overall HR and talent strategy.”
One of her current projects involves working with the health and medical management team to provide diversity training to nurses, clinicians, and social workers in order to better understand and serve their members.
“We all have a story and an experience, so it’s important to understand who someone is,” she says.
Her motivation draws from understanding what our differences are and how they can affect an individual’s day to day life.
At the moment, Ravenel is organizing an opioid awareness event with several employee resource groups to provide insights about the epidemic and to address the disproportionate rate at which young individuals are affected.
Ravenel takes great pride in her role and as a woman of color; she believes empowering yourself and being comfortable with who you are is what allows women to succeed.
“When someone says you’re not ready to apply for a role in leadership or you may have limited experience for that role, give yourself more credit, prepare, do the work, and go for it. You have the power to steer your own ship, not anyone else.”