WellPoint | www.wellpoint.com/diversity |
Published in the September/October 2010 issue of print Search & Employ® |
Recognizing the unique qualities that veterans bring to the workforce and showing appreciation for their service is more than just a lofty goal at WellPoint; it’s a way of life. The company is recognized as a premier employer of and a trusted health care choice for veterans and their families. With over 33 million medical members, nearly one of every nine Americans is a member of a WellPoint affiliated health plan.
Just ask Alicia Wallace. She served in the United States Army on Active Duty from 1981-1988 as a Nuclear Biological & Chemical Specialist, and was a member of the All-Army Track & Field team. She joined WellPoint in August 2004 as an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Program Consultant, and has a passion for EEO compliance and ensuring that opportunities are available for all. Alicia believes veterans assimilate well into the company’s climate. “WellPoint’s culture is inclusive, and revolves around doing the ‘right thing.’ The concept of Diversity and Inclusion is a real one.”
Moreover, she believes that military veterans bring bankable talents to the civilian world. “Being able to understand and interpret regulations, policies and procedures are important at WellPoint, and veterans are quite accustomed to that. Adaptability to change and dependability are strong military assets. WellPoint’s motto of ‘Be here now’ is one that military personnel can easily relate to: showing up fully focused on the present.”
Alicia notes that the skills she learned in the military have helped in her current role with WellPoint. “More than anything, the military taught me discipline, and that in order to be a good leader you must first learn to follow. I learned how to respect authority and understand how important it is to be dedicated to the mission, even when it may not be your decision or idea.”
She encourages transitioning veterans to continue enhancing their skills within their chosen career field. “The military does an awesome job at training. I would advise veterans to use the discipline and organizational skills they learned in the military to enhance their civilian career. They should also loosen up and enjoy the ride!”
Alicia serves as the Chair of a unique outreach program at WellPoint. It began in 2009 when WellPoint veterans found themselves attending local Veteran’s Day celebrations and casually chatting about things they could do to get WellPoint more connected with the local military community. Shortly thereafter, the company’s Diversity & Inclusion team launched an Associate Resource Group initiative. After a few meetings and a successful search for an executive sponsor, they developed a business plan and dubbed themselves “Veterans Organization of WellPoint” (VOW). The group now boasts over 156 members. The name’s origin reflects the solemn oath or VOW that a service member makes upon being sworn in to the military. VOW’s membership boasts veterans, Reservists, National Guard members, military spouses, parents, and neighbors of service members.
VOW’s mission is to foster an inclusive and supportive work environment for military veterans and their families. The group seeks to attract, develop and retain military veteran associates, and help them reach their full potential by leveraging their unique experience and skills. VOW members provide recruiting support to WellPoint by attending military job fairs around the country, including RecruitMilitary Opportunity Expos. The group has presented a teleseminar on the value of veterans in the workplace, and participated in virtual job fairs designed for veterans.
Other outreach initiatives include donating a Wii gaming system to the USO, sponsoring the Wounded Warriors sports project, and hosting an “Adopt a Soldier” project by shipping packages to service members in Iraq, Afghanistan and other overseas locations. VOW’s efforts garnered recognition for WellPoint as one of the “Top 100 Military-Friendly Employers” in G.I. Jobs magazine.