Zundra Bryant Shares Importance of Celebrating Women
Centene is highlighting women leaders who make an everyday impact at Centene this Women’s History Month. Zundra Bryant joined Centene in 2019 and is now Vice President, Human Resources (HR) Operations. Learn even more about Zundra, her background and role, her perspectives on intersectionality, and the importance of highlighting and celebrating the contributions of women.
Q. Tell us about your background and your current role at Centene?
A. Earning my undergraduate degree in actuarial science from Howard University set me on the path to achieving a successful, multi-disciplinary career. My career spans over 25 years, with diverse experiences, including management consulting, program and project management, customer relationship management, strategy, information technology, finance and HR shared services, healthcare, and payment processing. I’m also a strong internal and external corporate citizen leading diversity and inclusion initiatives, serving on both civic and community boards, and have received multiple leadership recognitions and awards.
As Vice President, HR Operations, I lead multiple services, including the HR contact center, employee relations intake, payroll Tier 1, proof of vaccination validation, unemployment claims processing, interview scheduling, temporary-to-permanent conversion services, and HR digital services (technology capabilities). My organization is responsible for delivering critical employee support by optimizing services and simplifying engagement.
Q. What is the most meaningful part of your job?
A. Without question, working with my team. I’m committed to cultivating an environment that offers the opportunity for every team member to thrive and unleash our collective brilliance in carrying out our day-to-day responsibilities. Setting strategic direction, providing guidance, and removing roadblocks to support my team’s success is how I approach my every day.
Q. Who influenced you most during your career and why?
A. My who has been and continues to be a village of diverse individuals and groups that support my personal and professional aspirations. Choosing just one person would be impossible. Participating in the St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative Fellows Experience Program and subsequently forming a three-year accountability partnership with two other Fellows based on principles in the book by Jan Torrisi-Mokwa, “Building Career Equity,” were both life-altering experiences that propelled the trajectory of my career.
Q. How do you feel about Centene’s approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion?
A. Every company is unique and at different stages of the diversity, equity, and inclusion journey, which makes it difficult to compare. I do appreciate that Centene’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts focus on both our internal corporate practices, how we deliver our services, and that we take an active role in addressing healthcare disparities.
Q. Can you talk about the importance of intersectionality?
A. Let’s first define intersectionality. Kimberle Crenshaw coined the term “intersectionality” in 1989 to acknowledge that people are disadvantaged by multiple sources of oppression — race, class, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, etc. I personally experience oppression during my career at three sources — female, African American, and African American female. All three have come with unique and similar challenges. The third, African American female, is both the most challenging and most rewarding. Following my own advice, staying unapologetically true to who I am and understanding my worth continues to be foundations to my personal success and triumph.
Q. What are your thoughts on the significance of Women’s History Month?
A. Women’s History Month provides an opportunity to focus on and highlight the contributions and greatness of women. It’s a wonderful time to pour love and support on a group of individuals who often are underappreciated and/or undervalued. Women often give to others at our own expense. We need to practice receiving from others and being the center of attention. Those who know me, know I like to be seen and don’t shy away from an opportunity to show my pearly whites.