Pride at Change: Expanding our Culture of Inclusion
Every year in June, Change Healthcare celebrates Pride Month, noting the contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals and culture around the world and in our own communities. Our priority of inclusion is embedded in our culture through one of our five core values, “Include All.”
Our Business Resource Groups (BRGs) are an important part of our culture that drive progress in many areas. The Pride at Change BRG provides LGBTQ+ fellowship and performs service, amplifying diverse voices and leveraging resources inside and outside our organization. To celebrate Pride Month and encourage our people to embrace diversity, I had a conversation with some of our Pride at Change BRG members, Amy Jo Dever, Jonny Woo, Ty Lee, France Nickel, and Mike Courtemanche to talk about their personal experiences, goals and projects to maintain the spirit of Pride every day of the year.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion is in our DNA
We made DEI a core value not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also because research has shown that companies that foster belonging and leverage diversity come out on top. As diversity becomes more of a reality, adequate opportunities for connection and support must keep pace. Our Pride BRG members emphasized the transformative role community and visibility are playing in their professional lives. Our Pride BRG takes a “big tent” approach; from allies to LGBTQ+ family members and community, everyone benefits from the experiences of others.
Amy Jo, whose son recently came out, shared some of her thoughts about being a member of the Pride BRG. “I've always brought my whole self to work, but it’s special to bring my son being queer into the picture,” said Amy Jo. When meeting other Pride BRG members, she recalls a mom who got teary about figuring out how to help her trans child, so she told her, “Just know there are lots of other parents in this group.”
Jonny Woo, who found Pride BRG around the time he came out, added: “This solidarity animates the BRG board’s culture. It was validation that I was at a company that does more than say it; they actually support it.”
Ty Lee agreed, expressing relief that his days of compartmentalization are over: “I used to feel like different people at work and home. At my old job, I often felt that bringing my whole self to work wasn't an option.”
The Pride’s BRG’s impact: affirmation, mentorship, and resources
Community may be the big picture, but the Pride BRG’s output extends beyond the social aspect. Educational activities, outreach to staff, and partnerships with mission-aligned organizations all fall under the group’s umbrella.
“We do programming outside of Pride Month, highlighting other important days on the LGBTQ+ calendar, like the Trans Day of Visibility,” said Amy Jo. “Transformation Journeys Worldwide is an organization we partner with on programming, like one of our recent panels in March featuring transgender speakers.” France Nickel said his internal outreach efforts never slow down. “We send invites all year long, asking Change Healthcare employees to join in and share their stories.”
Expanding the Pride BRG’s footprint
I am proud of and grateful for the Pride BRG members’ work to support and expend our culture of inclusion at Change Healthcare. But there is always more we can do to build on this work. Ty Lee feels there’s space for more outreach. “This is a partnership between our BRG and Change Healthcare as a whole, so I would love to see that combination snowball into even more involvement,” he said. “I think about the possibilities if we take focus and energy from June and project them throughout the rest of the year.”
Amy Jo wants to pilot a “refresher course” for longtime employees, explaining, “It's been a long time since I went through onboarding at Change Healthcare. BRGs didn’t exist 13 years ago. I’d love to see a BRG education component for longtime employees like me.” Mike Courtemanche expressed a desire for Change Healthcare to participate in public dialogue on LGBTQ+ topics, while remaining mindful of the work yet to be done: “We have eight really great BRGs, but let’s keep our eyes open for other groups that are underserved. Maybe there's a ninth BRG waiting for a chance.”
Inclusion as our legacy
Change Healthcare recognizes the enormous value in the diverse contributions of a workforce from all walks of life. We are more successful when we reflect the communities we serve and have an environment where people show up to work every day as their authentic selves. We know that it’s not only the right thing to do, but the success of our business depends on it. By taking real action and listening to our employees’ voices, Change Healthcare’s emphasis on inclusion makes a positive impact not only on our colleagues and for our company, but also in the communities we serve. May we live the values expressed in our recognition of Pride Month every day, year-round.