In June 2021, Cigna officially launched its Enterprise Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council, which will play a vital role in the organization’s ongoing DEI and health equity efforts. For Cigna, DEI is not only an important business priority, but it is also deeply rooted in its culture and values.
So, what does Cigna’s DEI Council hope to achieve? Cigna employees had the same question and recently had an opportunity to sit down with their Enterprise DEI Council co-chairs and members to discuss just this. Read on for their answers about what DEI means to them personally, and why they’re excited for the future of the Council.
Noelle Eder, executive vice president, chief global information officer and council co-chair:
“People are such an important part of everything we do at Cigna, and helping people is embedded in our company mission and strategy. As an organization, you can’t authentically commit to DEI without compassionate and caring people, starting at the leadership level, and all the way down. That’s the link with diversity, equity, and inclusion. People matter. They are the secret sauce in the game. Fostering equity and inclusion is so dependent on people – the work environment, the process, the spirit, and the culture of an organization all rely on your employees. They’re what surrounds diversity and makes it work.”
Mike Triplett, president, U.S. commercial and council co-chair:
“DEI is critically important to Cigna, but it’s also critically important to the clients and customers we serve each and every day. As an organization, we have to have representation across all populations of our clients and customers. I’m proud of the work that Cigna has already done in the DEI space, particularly with our Building Equity and Equality Program, the work we’re doing around minority suppliers, our product development for underserved communities, and our engagement with historically Black colleges and universities. We’re by no means perfect, nor have we figured it all out, but this Council is our way of putting our best foot forward—and being a part of it, is very exciting for me.”
John Murabito, executive vice president and chief human resources officer and council co-chair:
“What we’re doing in DEI, and specifically with the Council, gives us an opportunity to impact our customers and clients, but also society as a whole—in a special way. I see the biggest opportunity in improving health equity in the communities where we live and work, which is a top priority for Cigna and the DEI Council. Additionally, our focus on leadership accountability in the area of DEI (hiring, etc.), will make us a better, smarter company, and one that’s more likely to succeed.”
Susan Stith, vice president of diversity, equity, inclusion, civic affairs, and the Cigna Foundation and council member:
“Together, we have the power to make systemic, sustainable and positive change in the world but first, that requires us to deeply understand one another as colleagues. In particular, making space for people to share personal stories and have open, candid conversations about complex topics at work is vitally important. When we stop and listen to each other we can begin to understand each other’s experiences and the different advantages and challenges that we all face – which contributes to the kind of inclusive, equitable and diverse culture we are striving for at Cigna and beyond.”
January Realista, operations managing director and council member:
“All people carry some unconscious bias. After all, we are all different, each of us comes from different life experiences and is part of different cultures. But it’s really important to expose ourselves to different perspectives, different opinions, and to listen and learn. Education and a willingness to expand our perspective will be key to fostering an inclusive culture at Cigna, where every employee is able to reach their fullest potential.”
Bryan Holgerson, vice president, underwriting and council member:
“At the end of the day, as managers and leaders, we all own diversity, equity, and inclusion. I don’t view this as being something that just our DEI team owns; it’s all of us who own it. And it’s really up to all of us as people leaders to make sure that our teams, our managers, and all our employees are part of that. DEI is a perfect example of individual accountability that floats through leadership, and it’s extremely important for all of us to get our teams there. I’m hoping the Council can help with that.”
Doug Melton, business analytics managing director and council member:
“To me, ensuring equal and fair pay and opportunity, as well as fair hiring practices across different groups of people is probably some of the most important work that an organization can do to advance DEI. And, while it can feel like a large mountain to climb, it’s work that needs to be done to ensure that employees feel like they belong and that their hard work isn’t going unnoticed. In my role in this council, I look forward to helping make Cigna an employer of choice for diverse talent – as we continue to advance our mission for all the customers, clients and communities we serve.”