Originally published at humananews.com. Humana ranked No. 9 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2022.
On July 13th, the 2021 – 2022 cohort of business owners graduated from Humana’s Supplier Diversity Mentor Protégé Program. Launched in 2019, the program’s goal is to overcome barriers that typically inhibit or restrict the success of diverse-owned, women-owned, LGBTQIA-owned, disability-owned, veteran-owned and small business enterprises by encouraging relationships with various Humana departments and external partners.
During the 12 months of the program, participants are paired with Humana leaders for a one-on-one mentoring experience. In addition to one-on-one mentoring, protégés also participated in mentoring circles that included Humana department leaders who shared their subject-area expertise as well as information about how the company functions.
Protégé Kelly Kolar, President and Founder of Kolar Designs said, “Thanks to my mentor, I developed a personal network within the Humana ecosystem and developed a deeper understanding of Humana’s growth plans, innovation and data-driven analytics.”
Those who acted as mentors said they gained from the experience as much as they gave. Douglas Edwards, Kelly’s mentor said, “Working with Kelly, I learned about the challenges small businesses face in scaling their business and connecting to new opportunities. The experience helped me identify ways Humana can pioneer simplicity to make these partnerships easier and more beneficial for all involved parties.”
This year’s graduating class includes:
- Kenneth Lee, President of KDL Services LLC
- Kelly Kolar, President and Founder of Kolar Design and Kolar Experience Institute
- Tiffanie Ashley, President of MCI Premier Packaging and MCIAST Premier
- Purna Veer, President and Founder, V-Soft Consulting
- Robert Hirsh, Co-Owner and Tania Russell, Chief Operating Officer of JPR Medical Inc.
- Greg Cheesewright, CEO and John Munson, Jr., President of Computech Corporation
This year’s mentors include:
- Pat Brotzge, Director, Supply Chain Enterprise Print Management, Enterprise Procurement and Vendor Service
- Tom Cooper, Associate Vice President, IT Vendor Management, It Ops – IT Strategic Governance and Process
- Douglas Edwards, Senior Vice President – Enterprise Associate and Business Solutions, CAO Leadership
- Chad Johnson, Vice President, Chief Procurement Officer, Enterprise Procurement and Vendor Services
- Mark Palmenter, Vice President, Group and Specialty Marketing and Communications
- Sadie Rizzuto, Vice President, IT Service Assurance, IT Ops – IT Service Operations