Mayor Bart Peterson
What’s fueling the region’s economic success and helping Indianapolis
win the race for talent is its commitment to diversity. From City Hall to
corporate boardrooms, this city welcomes new residents, values differ-
ences and advances people of all races and religions, ages and abilities.
“My administration has
made it a point to encourage open dialogue
about diversity as a way
to celebrate and understand each other,” Mayor
What has been crucial
for Indianapolis’ progress
is its constantly evolving approach. “One reason that we have had continued success with diversity is that we never get complacent,”
explains former Diversity Affairs Director Sherlonda Anderson, who
now heads the city’s Department of Administration. “We also focus on
diversity from all angles—supplier, work force, community relationships, changing demographics—and continue to find ways to enhance
what we’re doing.”
WellPoint’s Well-Rounded Rx for Diversity
For the health and well-being of its associates, its customers and the communities it serves, WellPoint, Inc. promotes diversity inside and outside its
“Our diversity efforts begin with our own work force and extend out into
the marketplace,” explains David Casey, Vice President of Diversity and
Workplace Development for WellPoint, the largest publicly traded commercial health-benefits company in the U.S.
The company trains its clinicians in cultural competence and is working
with online health-care partners, such as WebMD, to post culturally relevant material for different ethnic groups. WellPoint has also integrated its
David Casey health-care disparities research into its corporate wellness program to
fully support its diverse associate population.
That work ties in with WellPoint’s mission to meet the health-care needs of its
increasingly diverse customer base and for diverse health-care consumers at
large. In December 2006, WellPoint announced a three-year, $160,000 grant to
African Community International Inc., to bring in-home health care to African
immigrants in Indianapolis. “Many recent immigrants are afraid or unaware of
how to engage health services, so this program brings health care to them,”
explains David Lee, M.D., Vice President of Health Services in Indiana.
WellPoint has extended help to other companies. It provided more than $575,000
to start the Diversity Leadership Academy of Greater Indianapolis in 2003 and has
enlisted four other corporate sponsors to sustain the Academy’s work.
WellPoint continues to make strides in supplier diversity. “We set a goal to
increase expenditures with women- and minority-owned firms by 30 percent for
2006, and we met that goal by the third quarter,” says Brenda Burke, Director of
Supplier Diversity for WellPoint.
The company has signed on with Bender Consulting Services, a placement
firm that focuses on disabled clients. Through that relationship, WellPoint committed to hire 30 disabled associates in 2006.
“Our approach to diversity is completely aligned with our mission statement
to improve the lives of the people we serve,” Casey says.
Mayor photo: Annie O’Neill;
Congressional Medal of Honor Memorial photo: Drew
Endicott; Courtesy of Indianapolis Downtown, Inc.