CDO Series: Humana’s Carolyn Tandy

Following the murder of George Floyd, the role of Chief Diversity Officers has become more important as companies started to be more intentional with their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, which has made the last few years tumultuous for many CDOs.

In the first interview of a series of articles dedicated to catching up with CDOs who have moved in recent years to discuss their experience, what the move has done for them, the work they’re doing and the advice they have for other aspiring or current CDOs, we spoke with Carolyn Tandy, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer at Humana (No. 9 on DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity list).

DiversityInc: You joined Humana a little more than a year ago from Texas Roadhouse where you were a Director of Diversity and Inclusion. What led you to Humana? What did you find interesting about the prospect of working at Humana and shifting industries given that healthcare and insurance is so different from hospitality?

Carolyn Tandy: “At Texas Roadhouse, I led the company’s national diversity and inclusion strategy for more than 45,000 employees across 58 markets. I’m proud of what we accomplished in shaping culture, workforce development and learning, and growing the diversity of our talent pipeline.

“Humana’s corporate headquarters are in Louisville, Kentucky – the city I call home – and I’ve always had some connection to Humana through previous work experiences, community work and mentors and peers. It is one of those mentors, Maria Hughes, that led me to Humana. Maria served in my current role at the company before me. She encouraged me to consider Humana as I advanced in my career and set the wheels in motion for me to pursue the opportunity. I am incredibly proud to follow in her footsteps to advance this important work.

“Shifting industries from steaks and hospitality to healthcare and insurance has been both exciting and challenging. In every work role throughout my career, I have always been dedicated to advancing inclusion, belonging and diversity, so the two roles are connected in that sense.

“What really drew me to Humana is the company’s commitment to wellbeing and health of all people – our employees, our members and patients, the communities we serve, the healthcare system and the environment. Our goal is to help everyone access the tools necessary to achieve their best health while advancing equity both inside and outside of our walls. We take the work of building a more equitable healthcare system and investing in the health and sustainability of the environment around us very seriously.”

DiversityInc: What sort of impact has the move had for your career and how would you describe your time with Humana thus far?

CT: “It’s hard to believe that I celebrated one year with Humana in July. As I reflect on the milestone, I can’t help but think about that saying often shared by parents – the days are long, but the years are short. It really illustrates my feelings about my first year with Humana.

“I’m excited about the progress we’ve made, and I’m committed to the work that lies ahead. The team and the scope of our work has expanded significantly since I started here. We have recently refreshed our strategy and have a clear road map of where we are going.”

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