Yasmirel Reynoso Shares Importance of Lifting Up Others
During Women’s History Month, Centene is shining a spotlight on women breaking barriers each and every day. Yasmirel Reynoso joined Centene health plan Sunshine Health in 2013 and is currently Senior Clinical Development Program Manager for Population Health. She also is Co-President of Centene’s women’s Employee Inclusion Group I.N.S.P.I.R.E. Yasmirel has a pharmacy background and works to remove barriers and advance health equity for our members. In the following Q&A, she shares her thoughts on advancing equality and the importance of “lifting up others” through mentoring and allyship.
Q. Tell us about your background and your current role as Senior Clinical Development Program Manager for Population Health?
A. My background is in pharmacy and new program development. I started my career working as a Pharmacy Technician at CVS. I worked on the frontline helping customers fill their prescriptions. After three years, I moved around and worked in different pharmacy settings. I worked in the mail order, behavioral health, and hospital setting, gaining experience and knowledge about each. I joined Sunshine Health as a Pharmacy Coordinator in 2013. My role was to manage the pharmacy benefit, overseeing the specialty and high-cost utilization of drugs and helping pharmacies process claims. We reviewed prior authorization requests and developed initiatives to improve our quality scores around medication adherence. I received several promotions, moving to Pharmacy Specialist and then Pharmacy Supervisor.
Next, I decided to switch careers to Marketing and Communications. I had the opportunity to take on a specialist role supporting the Employee Engagement team. I led the Employee Recognition, Employee Well-Being, and Employee Events programs. When COVID-19 and the WellCare merger happened, my responsibilities changed. I supported the communications side of the team, writing for our employee newsletter and copyediting member and provider communications. I learned a lot about the importance of clear communication for our members and successful strategies to deliver messages. I was approached in July 2021 to join the Population Health team to develop and oversee communications for new and existing clinical programs with the goal of improved health for our members.
Q. What is the most meaningful part of your job?
A. Knowing that what I do has an impact on removing barriers to care and improving the health of those we serve. Having worked on the front line as a Pharmacy Technician, I understand how social determinants of health and administrative processes can cause barriers in accessing care and medications for people who need it most. I am always thinking about the member experience first in the work that I do.
Q. Who influenced you most during your career and why?
A. I have worked with so many amazing people throughout my career. My friend and prior manager, Paula Turner, had a big influence on the person I am today. As a woman of color, seeing another woman of color show up as her authentic self was inspiring. I learned by watching her speak up and advocate for employees when they weren’t in the room. She showed me what a true ally is and that I didn’t have to change parts of myself to fit in or be successful.
She taught me how to build authentic relationships and be more confident in my abilities but most importantly, she gave me the opportunity and visibility to show others what I was capable of. I remember something she told me that has stuck with me: “Lift as you climb.” I take that to mean to give other women and women of color the same opportunities given to me.
Q. Can you talk about the importance of mentoring?
A. When it comes to mentorship, I think of the student and teacher relationship. Early in your career, you start off as the student learning all you can and as you gain experience, your role will shift to a mentor. A mentor can be a guide to helping you navigate your own career path by teaching through those lived experiences. As a mentor, you assume the responsibility of helping someone tap into their own potential and guiding them in the right direction to achieve their career goals. It’s truly rewarding when you help someone become a better version of themselves.
Q. How is Centene’s approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) different from other companies?
A. I feel Centene’s approach to DEI has been organic and robust by adding equity into the DEI strategy. Equity is the fair treatment and equal access to opportunity, information, and resources to all. By establishing accountability and measurement standards across industry benchmarks, Centene has demonstrated true commitment in its words and actions. I see the Employee Inclusion Groups (EIG) as focus groups for understanding the needs and addressing the issues that matter most to not only our employees, but also the populations we serve. EIGs provide a way to the solutions to solve or address those issues.
Q. Tell us about your role as I.N.S.P.I.R.E Co-President and why it was important to you to become involved with this Employee Inclusion Group (EIG)?
A. As a working mom, I.N.S.P.I.R.E’s mission statement is something I truly believe in. Centene’s Women’s EIG aims to further help its members meet their professional and personal goals at all career and life stages. As Co-President, my role is to drive the execution of our goals and advocate for the issues that are important to our members. This year, our goals are to drive policy change to accommodate women at all phases of parenthood, implement accountability standards for leadership development, and strengthen partnerships with intersecting communities. The EIG is focused on leveraging tools such as targeted development sessions, mentoring, and community engagement to develop women as leaders and prepare them to take on leadership opportunities at all levels of the company. I have seen the correlation of success by being part of a community like the EIGs.
Q. What is the importance of allyship to you, and how can employees be better allies?
A. I think of allies as a support system that can open doors. Allyship to me means using your privilege and voice to advocate for an underrepresented group of people not in the room when and where decisions are being made that impact them. Employees can be better allies by being attentive to the person they’re working with. You can be an ally by speaking up for someone else, giving opportunities, and promoting someone into a higher position. Collaborating with different people opens up your own perceptions. When you find a group of allies with a shared goal, it creates a spark where there is open communication and active sharing of ideas that can build a new or better workplace.
Q. What are your thoughts on the significance of Women’s History Month?
A. I have seen awareness grow over the past couple years around Women’s History Month. Empowering women doesn’t put us above men, it promotes gender equality and support to overcome gender bias. Women’s History Month shines a spotlight on the contributions of incredible women across various industries who are breaking barriers and creating a more equitable world, and who wouldn’t want to support that?