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Diversity & Inclusion

At Highmark Health, we are committed to being open, inclusive and supportive to all. Our workforce includes talented people from every background. We welcome and value new ideas, different experiences and fresh perspectives.

For us, supporting a diverse and inclusive workforce is more than the right thing to do. It makes us stronger as a business and more innovative as a group — positioning us to be highly effective at serving our customers and communities.

Read on to learn more about our comprehensive efforts including our Business Resource Groups (BRGs), executive sponsorship, programs, commitment to supplier diversity, awards and recognition and other resources.

Executive Sponsorship

At Highmark Health, executives sponsor diversity and inclusion at three distinct levels: within the board of directors, through an inclusion advisory council and through sponsorship of our BRGs.

Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Board of Directors of Highmark Inc.

This committee includes board members and executive leaders who oversee the work of our corporate diversity and inclusion team, assist in the development of goals and strategy and establish accountability for results related to those efforts.

Inclusion Advisory Council (IAC)

Comprised of executive leaders across the enterprise who collaborate with the office of diversity and inclusion, the IAC guides their respective business units in implementing and sustaining successful diversity and inclusion practices. They lead by example and consistently work to ensure that Highmark Health demonstrates a culture of inclusion that will enable us to meet the needs of our diverse employees, customers and communities.

Military Advisory Council (MAC)

This executive council of military and veteran employees guide our enterprise strategy for the employment, retention, development, and community sponsorship of veterans, military personnel, and their families.

Executive sponsors and champions

Executive sponsors and champions from across our company guide and support our business resource groups in order for their initiatives to have maximum impact all areas of our business, workplace and community.

Business Resource Groups (BRGs)

BRGs serve and operate as an inclusive network of employees. Led through executive sponsorship, mentoring, and engagement, our BRGs share personal knowledge and experiences to enhance professional growth, promote cultural competency and multicultural awareness, and positively impact our company's bottom line. BRGs contribute to our competitive strength in the health care industry by enhancing our enterprise capability through targeted market intelligence, development of human capital, diverse leadership development, and community outreach programs.

Abilities BRG

The Abilities BRG raises awareness about the needs of, and offers support to, people with disabilities and their caregivers in the workplace, marketplace and community. The Abilities BRG encourages workplace inclusion, equality of opportunity and best practices in recruitment. Its members also build community partnerships through educational-to-career experiences for students with disabilities, advocate accessibility to Highmark Health facilities, act as a champion for customers with disabilities, and serve as a voice for those who care for or support people with disabilities.

BOLD BRG (Black Organization for Leadership and Development)

BOLD supports the strategic initiative to empower black employees in achieving great business results for the workplace, marketplace, and community. BOLD supports and inspires employees through its activities, relationships, leadership development, unique perspectives, and commitment to advancing corporate goals while creating an environment that celebrates diversity within the organization and throughout the community.

EAST BRG (Exploring Asian Societies and Traditions)

EAST is Highmark Health’s newest business resource group, launched in 2018. A central focus for EAST is to engage and connect global communities from Asian, Middle Eastern, North African, Asian-American and Pacific Islander backgrounds. Its purpose is to enhance professional growth for employees, promote cultural humility, learning and multicultural awareness across the organization, and also provide insights that will help Highmark Health companies to better understand and meet the needs of their customers.

Generation BRG (GenNEXT)

GenNEXT is a cross-generational BRG that leverages the unique skills and perspectives of Gen X and Gen Y employees to influence our organization's direction and relevance in the future workplace, marketplace, and community. GenNEXT promotes cross-generational understanding, collaboration, and leadership, and leads initiatives and programs that explore career paths and professional development across the enterprise.

PRIDE BRG (People Respecting Inclusion Diversity & Equity)

The PRIDE BRG leverages diverse LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) experiences to help promote inclusion among employees, enrich community outreach efforts, and foster marketplace excellence. The PRIDE BRG brings together LGBTQ employees and their allies to cultivate openness and encourage different and inclusive thinking. The PRIDE BRG is instrumental in ensuring that our enterprise is the most LGBTQ friendly employer that it can be by building community partnerships, partnering with human resources to educate leaders and the workforce about the LGBTQ community and marketplace, and acting as a focus group for our companies in offering the right insurance products and services to LGBTQ communities and our employees.

SALUD BRG (Strengthening Awareness of Latino culture Using and understanding Diversity; Latino/Hispanic)

The SALUD BRG leverages our Latino and Hispanic talent to develop business opportunities in the workplace, marketplace and community. SALUD collaborates and partners with the Latino and Hispanic community to support customer needs and enterprise efforts to recruit and retain diverse talent. The group promotes personal accountability and equitable opportunity of diverse talent through professional development programs and supports marketplace excellence through education of multicultural business and language capabilities.

V.E.T.S. BRG (Voices of Employees That have Served; Military/Veterans)

The V.E.T.S. BRG provides a platform for the communication and sharing of common challenges and opportunities, and establishes a network for promoting the professional development of employees. The V.E.T.S. BRG partners closely with business leaders to leverage the viewpoints of military personnel and veterans in areas such as recruitment, retention and professional development, and it served as a fundamental resource in developing an enterprise-wide military and veteran talent strategy. The group also fosters community partnerships through volunteer opportunities and fundraisers to help military and veteran families.

Women of Highmark Health BRG

The Women of Highmark Health BRG leverages the perspectives of women within the diverse markets and partners with senior leadership across the enterprise to develop campaigns, products and services that empower women through all walks of life. The Women of Highmark Health BRG also develops strategic initiatives to retain, develop and attract high-performing women in leadership roles through a series of personal and professional development programs and initiatives in which members share information, volunteer, mentor, and learn from peers and women executives within our organization. The Women of Highmark Health BRG champions workplace benefits that support women in their careers and strives to equip women with tools and resources to make successful decisions in health care, finances and professional development.

Best Practices

At Highmark Health, we are committed to living out our best practices, and being a leader in diversity and inclusion.

The "Rooney Rule"

Named after Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, the Rooney Rule was first instituted within the Steelers organization and later across the entire National Football League. Rooney believed that to truly grow his organization, he would need to bring in new perspectives. His rule required that at least one minority candidate be part of the candidate pool for all coaching and front office job openings.

Similarly, at Highmark Health, our top leaders are committed to interviewing at least one diverse candidate for any open position at the director level and above. A diverse candidate is someone who differs from the makeup of the particular hiring group. He or she could be a person of a different gender, ethnic, cultural or generational background or a veteran or person with a disability. By implementing the "Rooney Rule" at Highmark Health, we ensure that we are building leadership that reflects the diverse consumers, patients and members we are proud to serve.

Workforce education

Educating our workforce is a key pillar of our diversity and inclusion efforts at Highmark Health. We provide educational opportunities to teach fundamental concepts such as unconscious bias and the business case for diversity, and also offer training for all employees such as the Military Toolkit and iDisability. Through these key learnings, our diversity and inclusion team works to equip employees and leaders with the tools and best practices in building, engaging and working in a diverse workforce and delivering to a diverse marketplace.

Our diversity and inclusion team also designs and sustains strategies that attract, retain and elevate diverse talent. One such strategy, the BRGs, offer a number of developmental opportunities for our workforce including mentoring, professional workshops and networking.

Communications support

It's not just what we communicate, but how we communicate that is critical to the engagement of our employees, customers and communities. Our diversity and inclusion team and BRGs offer communications support in language, accessibility and culture. "Inclusion Begins with You" is our internal campaign which works in continuing to promote an inclusive workplace and business practices.

Supplier Diversity

Our supplier diversity program promotes business opportunities for diverse suppliers, including minority-owned, woman-owned, historically underutilized business zone (HUBZone), service-disabled veteran-owned, veteran-owned, small businesses and other disadvantaged business enterprises in the various communities we serve.

Awards & Recognition

Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality (2017-2020)

In recognition of Highmark Inc.'s supportive and inclusive culture for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning employees, the company has earned distinction in Pa., W.Va., and Del. as a "Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality" from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Highmark qualified for the award by receiving the top score of 100 points since 2017 in this annual Corporate Equality Index, which benchmarks corporate policies and practices pertinent to LGBT employees, helping businesses to compare themselves to those that are leaders in diversity and inclusion.

Best Place to Work for People with Disabilities (2014-2019)

Highmark Health is recognized as a "Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion" through the Disability Equality Index®, a leading national benchmark established jointly by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and Disability:IN. Points are awarded on the basis of four criteria, including culture and leadership, enterprise-wide access, employment practices, and community engagement and support services. Our organization has participated in this important benchmark since its inception in 2014, earning 100 percent on the index each year.

Military Friendly® Employer (2019-2020)

Highmark Health is a bronze-designated Military Friendly® Employer. This elite designation is achieved by exceeding Military Friendly® standards in hiring and onboarding, opportunity and advancement, culture and commitment, support and retention, policies and compliance, and recruiting and sourcing. Highmark Health proudly exceeded all categories by at least 32 percent and as high as 52 percent.

Corporate Warrior Leadership Award (2018)

Highmark Health was the 2018 recipient of the Fort Pitt Chapter's Corporate Warrior Leader Award for our leadership in the Pittsburgh Military Community, our commitment to supporting and empowering our veteran employees, and our support and service to the local military community.

Tony Coehlo Award (2018)

Bender Consulting awarded Highmark Health president and CEO, David Holmberg, with the Tony Coehlo Award. Named after the Honorable Tony Coelho, author of the Americans with Disabilities Act, this award is presented to a CEO, president, or government leader who has demonstrated a significant commitment to employ people with disabilities in competitive positions, and worked to influence other businesses or government leaders.

Vibrant Pittsburgh's Regional Economic Inclusion Summit Marketplace ERG/BRG Award (2017)

In 2017, our SALUD BRG was awarded Vibrant Pittsburgh's ERG/BRG Marketplace Award for its efforts in helping our organization cultivate marketplace opportunities for the organization through culturally competent sales and customer service, and for creating innovative, marketplace-focused business solutions in the Hispanic and Latino community.

Pennsylvania Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Above and Beyond Award (2017)

Highmark Health is one of three Pennsylvania businesses to be recognized by the Pennsylvania Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense office, with the Above and Beyond Award for extraordinary support of its employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve. The ESGR Above and Beyond Award was created to publicly recognize American employers who provide extraordinary patriotic support and cooperation to their employees.

Awards & Partnerships

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Learn more about diversity and inclusion at Highmark Health.

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Highlights from our Diversity and Inclusion program

Message from the Chief Executive Officer: A Commitment to Action, Not Just Words.

Message from the Chief Executive Officer: A Commitment to Action, Not Just Words.

A Message from Highmark Health’s Chief Diversity Officer

Highmark Health’s Chief Diversity Officer shares thoughts and resources on the combined crises of COVID-19 and recent violence and racial injustice.

Highmark’s health plans in Pa., W.Va., and Del. have been recognized as 2020 Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality.

Highmark’s health plans in Pa., W.Va., and Del. have been recognized as 2020 Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality.


Lifetime-TV’s "Military Makeover" features Highmark Health employees who are veterans of the armed forces.

David Holmberg signs CEO Pledge

Highmark Health's David Holmberg signs CEO Pledge, reinforcing organization's commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Highmark Health executive leaders and guest speaker, Mellody Hobson, focus on women in the workplace at our inaugural women's summit.

Highmark Health executive leaders and guest speaker, Mellody Hobson, focus on women in the workplace at our inaugural women's summit.

Highmark Health serves as mentor for Governor Wolf's new Mentor Protégé Program for diverse businesses.

Highmark Health serves as mentor for Governor Wolf's new Mentor Protégé Program for diverse businesses.

In the Highmark Health blog, Dr. Philp, chief trauma surgeon, offers personal reflections on the value of military experience.

In the Highmark Health blog, Dr. Philp, chief trauma surgeon, offers personal reflections on the value of military experience.