Stefanie Keefe Shares Importance of Fostering Equality and Celebrating Women
In recognition of Women’s History Month and for International Women’s Day, Centene is shining the spotlight on women leaders in the company. Stefanie Keefe joined Centene’s health plan Arizona Complete Health in 2018 and is currently a Medicare Program Manager. She also is Co-President of Centene’s women’s Employee Inclusion Group I.N.S.P.I.R.E. On International Women’s Day, Stefanie shares her thoughts on her work, allyship, and the importance of fostering equality and celebrating women.
Q. Tell us about your background and your current role at Centene?
A. I have been with Arizona Complete Health for four years. I am currently the Medicare Program Manager supporting several plans in the west region.
I have 16 years of healthcare experience — six years in project and program management, six years in leadership/supervisory roles in integrated and behavioral health settings, and four years in grant writing, consulting, and strategic planning. My educational background is in psychology, sociology, and social work. I am a Licensed Masters Social Worker and, to help keep self-care a number one priority, I am also a certified yoga teacher.
Q. What is the most meaningful part of your job?
A. The most meaningful part of my job is getting to provide support, organization, clarity, and structure to the teams I work with so that goals and deliverables are attainable and positive outcomes are created. If by doing this I can make someone else’s day a little bit easier or less stressful, then I feel successful.
Q. Who influenced you most during your career and why?
A. My mother has always been one of my biggest influences in every aspect of my life, but especially in my career. I still remember the day she chose to open her own business and the time it took for it to become sustainable. She never faltered from her goals. She knew the value of her skill set and was very intentional as she grew her business. Through her own actions, I learned the importance of creating a career plan, being intentional with my goals, and knowing my worth.
Q. How do you feel about Centene’s approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion?
A. I am very proud of our strong enterprisewide vision around diversity, equity, and inclusion. I believe that Centene’s approach is committed inclusivity and the company offers countless ways for employees to become involved and have their voices heard.
Q. Tell us about your role as I.N.S.P.I.R.E Co-President and why was it important to you to become involved with this Employee Inclusion Group (EIG)?
A. I started my journey with I.N.S.P.I.R.E three years ago. Centene had recently done a presentation on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and the EIGs. I knew I wanted to build my network and feel more connected to the company, so what better way than to join an EIG. I was immediately impressed with I.N.S.P.I.R.E’s initiatives and knew I wanted to get more involved – to be a part of creating space and resources for women in our company. I quickly became the Co-Chair for our Development Committee and absolutely loved every minute of that experience. Over my two-year term, we offered several programs to support women’s career development. I am now the Co-President of I.N.S.P.I.R.E and more excited than ever to contribute to the EIG and have a positive impact on women and allies in our company.
Q. What is the importance of allyship to you, and how can employees be better allies?
A. Allyship is a crucial component of supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion. For me, it is an important means to advocate for individuals who do not have the same privileges that I do and taking the time to educate myself on unequal opportunities and social injustices. We can become better allies in the workplace by recognizing our life experiences may be different from our colleagues. We can also show appreciation for others’ experiences through active listening, creating an inclusive, safe workplace where colleagues feel comfortable sharing their ideas, and advocating for positive change.
Q. What are your thoughts on the significance of Women’s History Month?
A. The 2022 theme for International Women’s Day is “#BreakTheBias,” with a focus on action. I believe this concisely illustrates the significance and importance of Women’s History Month. It’s a reminder to never stop doing the work to raise awareness and advocate for equality. It is also a time to recognize our victories and celebrate each other.