With March being Women’s History Month and the eighth marking International Women’s Day, we’d like to celebrate the contributions and achievements of women, not only across the nation and globe, but also here at Blue Shield of California. Acknowledging the hardships women have faced and continue to face, one of our employee resource groups (ERGs), Elevating Women, celebrates the achievements and accomplishments of women each day, and with the work and resources provided by this ERG, women have pushed barriers to grow and develop professionally. We do this through our mission of engaging all genders to advocate for and support the career growth, development, and success of women at all levels throughout Blue Shield, promoting a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace for all with no pay gap between gender and ethnicity.
Messages from Elevating Women members
To give you further insight into what Elevating Women means to so many of our people and how coming to Blue Shield has been a positive change in their lives, we asked a few members of this employee resource group to share their experiences with us.
Vivian Burgard, transformation principal, who identifies as a mixed-race mother over forty, said that in previous roles with other companies she, “found that I would turn my cheek on things that were not so okay in the workplace as a woman, and I did this because my goal was to be able to provide for my kids." For Vivian, Elevating Women was one of the reasons she joined Blue Shield of California. “I wanted to have an opportunity,” shared Vivian, “where a company would recognize the importance of employees wanting to be recognized for being different.”
“I’m the daughter of immigrants,” said Antoinette Mayer, vice president of Corporate Citizenship. Her parents immigrated to the United States from the Philippines in the 1970’s. “Because of not having enough money and feeling like my family and my background didn’t really fit in, I had a lot of insecurity.”
For Antoinette, who recalls at times a more “elbows up” environment amongst women at some of her previous employers, Elevating Women is a place at the company where women advocate for each other's best interest.
“I can count many instances where I have felt othered or less than,” said Lindsay Gervacio, senior legislative advocate of Public Programs. As a woman who has always valued being rooted in a sense of community and family growing up, she experienced instances of “being told to go back home, and I’m thinking, but I grew up in the Bay Area, I am home.” Lindsay doesn’t allow the biases surrounding her to speak for her story and how she identifies. “It’s important for me to not second guess my own capabilities.” In Elevating Women, she has found a strong network of women who support and push one another to be their “best possible”.
For Leigh Purry, senior manager of Community Health, she recalls being discounted because she is a woman. “And then,” shared Leigh, “there are times when I’m doubly discounted because I’m a Black woman.” But at Blue Shield and with Elevating Women, the environment is a place women can thrive. “We in senior leadership, we’re VP’s. We’re managers and directors, or even supervisors and leads.”
Crystal Garcia, provider of Dispute Resolutions, says, “My mother was fourteen when she got pregnant, and had me at fifteen. We grew up very poor, sometimes no money, no food. We had to work very hard for everything, and I was the first one in my family to graduate from high school. I really feel like I was able to start breaking the mold of those generational curses that haunted the women in my family. Blue Shield really supported me and helped me stay grounded. I have been with Blue Shield of California for eight years and I’m so blessed that I’m able to go back to school and continue to earn my bachelor’s degree. I’m able to do that because of the opportunity that Blue Shield offers. Had they not offered that opportunity for continuation, I wouldn’t be able to go back, so then therefore, I can’t provide a good life for my son.”
“I did all kinds of creative things growing up,” said Loral Wright, executive and internal communications manager. “I was a dancer for a while; I got into modeling and acting, and eventually I became a mother. When I first came into the corporate world, and even back in the modeling world, and acting world, and music world… women were really treated differently than they are today. Bosses hitting on you, giving you your bonus and trying to make a move, and knowing that if you said anything you were out.” For Loral, being involved with Elevating Women gave her the ability to bring her creative past to Blue Shield. “Elevating Women actually asked me to perform my music at their signature event,” shared Loral. “Then it became an opportunity to really own my past and talk about domestic violence.”
These are just a few examples of why Blue Shield promotes and values diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace while providing our people with a safe space to show up as their authentic selves to do meaningful work. We’re on a mission to transform not only the way that health care is delivered and priced, but also the way we see and treat others.
If you’d like to be a part of a team that values you for who you are as your authentic self and your unique skillset and talents, we’d love to hear from you. Please take a moment to look over our open career opportunities and consider applying.