Featured Blogger: Chad M., Cyber Security Manager, Optum Technology
As a disabled vet, see how Chad has thrived as a member of our diverse culture, and inspires his team to embrace different experiences and viewpoints.
What does diversity mean to you?
Diversity to me goes beyond the commonly accepted definition of differences in race, religion, gender etc. When I hear the word diversity, I hear varied life experiences. Diversity to me is really differing viewpoints based on past personal experiences and how those viewpoints and experiences shape our current thought process.
What diverse organizations do you support?
I am a 21-year Army Medical NCO and Combat Veteran, a life member of the VFW, a Junior High Small Group Director at my Church and a BSA Venturing Advisor. The mission of each organization is what drew me to partner with them. In each organization, I am surrounded by like-minded people who all have the same passion for the mission. Despite all of the members having different backgrounds and different life experiences, it is the shared vision or mission that unites us and allows us to succeed at what we do.
How has UnitedHealth Group’s commitment to diversity influenced your experience here?
Through personal experience I have seen how we embrace diversity at UnitedHealth Group. I am a disabled Vet with a service dog which has the potential to bring on a negative perspective from others. I don’t look like I have a disability but I have a dog with me 95% of the time.
Outside of work, I have been confronted by people who feel I am taking advantage of the rules so that I can bring my pet with me everywhere. I hear comments like “I wish I could take my dog everywhere with me” or “You are one of those people huh?” all the time. I have also been pitied by some who think I am not able to be successful because of my disability.
It has been my experience that here at UnitedHealth Group, we look past what’s in front of us to partner with individuals with an openness that is hard to find elsewhere. I am proud to say I work at United Health Group, and that we not only embrace diversity, but that we live it daily.
What professional accomplishment makes you the most proud?
The pride I feel in accomplishment is not in anything that I have done, but in the successes achieved by teams that I have had the privilege to be a member of. I have served with amazing teams in the Military and in civilian life. Each of these teams had successes and struggles, but it has been through embracing their different viewpoints that has allowed them to win at all they have done.
As a manager, how do you inspire diversity on your team?
Currently I manage 3 teams of professionals. Each team has its own mission and they excel at achieving their goals independently, but together they all unite around UnitedHealth Group’s mission and it truly is a privilege to work with them. Each member of the team is encouraged to provide their leadership with open and honest feedback. It is that sharing of feedback and ideas that has allowed us to continually improve the quality of the work we do as well as the customer service we provide.
Why is diversity so important in a large company like UnitedHealth Group?
The ancient Greeks believed that the universe is made up of four different elements (Earth, Air, Water and Fire). If one of these elements is missing, the universe will not exist as it does today. Sun Tzu believed that four elements (Ground, Climate, Command and Method) all united around a common mission defines the competitive world.
Similarly, UnitedHealth Group’s universe (customers and employees) is made up of a unique population. If we are to succeed as an organization, we must embrace the personal life experiences and perspectives of our customers and employees. Only then will we be able to work together towards our shared mission of helping people live healthier lives and to help make the health system work better for everyone. This must be part of who we are at the core.