As we continue our employee spotlight series, we are excited to highlight Shelly McAdoo, Navitus’ new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Senior Manager. Shelly comes to the organization with over 14 years of experience in DEI management, most recently leading initiatives at Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. We sat down with Shelly to discuss her vision for cultivating a culture at Navitus where people can thrive professionally and personally. Read on to learn more about Shelly’s passion for DEI and how she plans to build upon Navitus’ DEI efforts to create a place of belonging.
Q: How do you define diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)?
A: Each organization’s definition of diversity, equity and inclusion is defined differently. Overall, it is characterized by a range of behaviors and competencies that promote the fair and equitable representation and participation of all people. These behaviors and competencies embrace and maximize the differences and diverse perspectives within an organization. In general, DEI comes down to core values that should be naturally intertwined within a company’s values and operations.
Q: What does a day in the life look like as the DEI Senior Manager at Navitus?
A: As the Senior Manager of DEI, most of my day revolves around meetings with executive leadership, stakeholders and team members across the organization. Over the past month since I joined Navitus, I’ve been diving in headfirst to build relationships at all levels of the company. My work has been dedicated to meeting people where they are and finding ways to put the DEI strategy, which was created by executive leadership and specialized DEI consultants, into action. Between meetings, I think of out-of-the-box ideas to build resources, create learning opportunities and strengthen the intrinsic DEI muscle at Navitus.
"My vision for Navitus is to become a trendsetter in the DEI space since we are an organization that wants the best for people. I’d like our name to become synonymous with doing the right thing." - Shelly McAdoo
Q: Why did you first get involved with DEI work?
A: Not unlike most DEI practitioners, my career evolved into this role over the years. However, throughout my entire career, I have been DEI-minded. Professionally, I started in television broadcasting, tasked with ensuring the programs aired on the network I worked for were representative of the communities we served. Each job thereafter has had some DEI affiliation, which led me to my position at Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, where I led the organization’s DEI efforts. I got involved with DEI naturally, as it is a genuine passion of mine. My personal goals are really to be a catalyst for just doing the right thing. What keeps me in DEI is seeing positive change being made within the organizations I serve. When I see someone receive the opportunity to thrive in their career as their authentic self, it is a reflection of the successful achievement of my own career goals.
Q: What interests you about DEI within the health care industry?
A: Within health care, we must lean into health equity. In many communities, there are disparities among particular groups in accessing and understanding health care. This came to light more than ever during COVID-19, as many contributing factors around hospitalization were prevalent among minorities and underserved communities. This solidified my mission to discover the underlying systems that keep communities in disadvantaged circumstances. When you can aid in dismantling a system that has historically worked against certain groups, you can begin to change the health outcomes of entire populations.
Q: What are a few DEI initiatives you’re focusing on at Navitus, and what is your vision?
A: We are currently working to build on the pillars of our mission statement. These include being a preferred employer, gaining and retaining top talent, incorporating equitable representation at every level of the organization, and implementing effective learning and development opportunities that help to create a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment. We are also working to improve community engagement to achieve reciprocal, long-term and sustainable outcomes with the communities we are proud to operate in. We do good work at Navitus, so we are pushing for our communities to know who we are and what we do.
My vision for Navitus is to become a trendsetter in the DEI space since we are an organization that wants the best for people. I’d like our name to become synonymous with doing the right thing. Internally, my vision is to make DEI practical and help people understand that we all have differences and deserve equal, equitable access to opportunities.
Q: What are the biggest challenges pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and health care organizations face with respect to DEI?
A: One of the biggest challenges PBMs face would have to be prescription drug pricing. At Navitus, we strongly believe you should never have to choose between feeding your family or getting the medications you need to feel your best. Many barriers exist that perpetuate the status quo of high drug costs but focused action to dismantle elements of the system can allow people to access the medications they deserve and desperately need. This will require partnership with other healthcare organizations, who likewise may seek to make meaningful change related to pricing and affordability. I would also mention access challenges in the broader system. Communities need access to pick up their prescriptions, get to the doctor and have knowledge of their options.
Q: What are you looking forward to as Navitus’ DEI Senior Manager in 2022 and beyond?
A: We are standing up two employee resource groups, by the end of 2022. One serves young professionals and the other is a women’s resource group. By maximizing the passion of our employees by aligning our DEI work with them, we will be able to put our best foot forward to create a solid culture and allow employees to have opportunities to bring about change, no matter where they sit within the organization. More employee resource groups will launch in 2023, so stay tuned. We are fortunate to have enthusiastic executive leadership who are invested in our DEI journey, so the sky is the limit for how much we can gain from enacting DEI programs and initiatives at Navitus.