Women’s History Month: Centene Team Members Share Perspectives
Centene maintains a longstanding commitment to ensuring a diverse, equitable and inclusive (DEI) workforce. The company’s dedication to gender parity is demonstrated in its recruitment, development and retainment of women leaders at all levels, including the CEO, other executive leaders and Board of Directors. Its workforce is 77% female, with 66% at the supervisor level and above.
The company has voluntary, employee-led Employee Inclusion Groups (EIG) whose aim is to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with the organizations they serve. The Centene women’s EIG, I.N.S.P.I.R.E, develops programs and resources to further help its members meet their professional and personal goals at all career and life stages.
As Centene recognizes Women’s History Month as well as International Women’s Day on March 8, read perspectives from team members companywide on Women’s History Month and how they work to advance inclusion within their workplace and communities.
“Women’s History Month has particular significance for healthcare,” said Dr. Alice Hm Chen, Chief Health Officer. “Women not only make up the majority of the healthcare workforce, but also the majority of Medicaid and Medicare enrollees. Women are often decision makers for a family’s healthcare choices and are increasingly in positions of organizational leadership that shape community and societal health outcomes.”
“Women’s History Month is the celebration of women’s accomplishments,” said Jennifer Lignoski, RN, Senior Care Manager, Buckeye Health Plan and Buckeye DEI Council member. “Many achievements paved the way for future generations to push boundaries and lead others in positions of power. Because of those who rose to the challenge, women are being treated more equally.”
“Women’s History Month is a time for focused recognition of the accomplishments women have made through many adversities,” said Stauna Soanes, Sr. Director, HR Business Partner and DEI Lead. “It’s a time to celebrate our courage, strength and resilience, inspiring others to push forward until we have a world where there are no more firsts, to conquer. I think of inspirational women from my immediate circle — grandmothers, mom, sister, friends — to those we all admire like Michelle Obama, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Margaret Thatcher, Dame Eugenia Charles, Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, Shirley Chisholm and more.”
“Ninety-one percent of nurses are women,” said Amanda Wagner, RN, Supervisor, Case Management, Sunshine Health, Co-Chair of Tampa cPRIDE EIG and member of Sunshine DEI Council. “There are outstanding nurse leaders, including at Centene, who I look to for my history and future. We have gone from nursemaids on the battlefield to businesswomen creating change from the bedside to the boardroom. I am inspired by the legends before me and the youth coming after me. We continue to advocate for equal opportunity, representation and pay. I am proud to be a nurse and a woman.”
The team members also describe how they advance inclusion by building trusted partnerships.
“I’ve been fortunate to have strong female peers, mentors and role models my entire career — including many women of color — and have a strong belief in paying it forward,” Alice said. “I look forward to supporting DEI and belonging at Centene.”
“I promote inclusion in the workplace and the communities we serve by encouraging everyone to live to their fullest potential,” Jennifer said. “I am a personal champion to anyone who wants to pursue their goals. I also continue to assist with bringing programming to coworkers to support and celebrate their growth.”
“DEI and belonging are always at the forefront of my mind, and I take effort to turn these intentions into action,” Stauna said. “In the workplace, I ensure we are using that lens in our efforts and participate actively with the EIGs and Diversity Council. In my community, a friend and I started a non-profit where we take on local initiatives to support vulnerable populations. I continue finding opportunities to thread the needle and weave it into our culture.”
“I include pronouns in my email signature, use gender inclusive language, celebrate our differences and encourage diversity of ideas,” Amanda said. “I create a safe space for co-workers who may not be as familiar with inclusive terminology, cultural humility, allyship or advocacy so they can ask questions without fear or judgement. I also advocate for inclusive policy and procedure change for staff and members. This allows us to fulfill Centene’s purpose — transforming the health of the community, one person at a time.
Centene’s dedication to gender equity was recently recognized by its inclusion in the 2023 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index, as well as among Newsweek’s America’s Greatest Workplaces for Diversity 2023.
Chief Executive Officer Sarah London was named one of Modern Healthcare’s Top Women Leaders in Healthcare 2023. She also was selected one of Fortune magazine’s 2022 Most Powerful Women in Business.