Express Scripts Sharing Diversity Through Courageous Conversations

by LP Green, II

At Express Scripts, diversity and inclusion is not an aspiration, it is a reality – woven into the everyday workings of this Fortune 22 company. Last August, as the country watched the tragic events unfold in Charlottesville, Virginia, Express Scripts President and CEO Tim Wentworth sent an email to all 26,000 employees. “Courageous conversations matter,” he wrote. “It is not easy to talk about race, but we should. And while we’re at it, we should talk about diversity and inclusion, too. While we can’t turn a blind eye to current events, we can turn to each other and recommit to stand together, work together, and find a way forward together, especially in times where there seem to be more questions than answers.” His message reflects the organization’s commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment.

Express Scripts is the nation’s leading pharmacy benefit manager, responsible for 1.4 billion prescriptions annually for 83 million members. Its recent acquisition of eviCore establishes Express Scripts’ platform in the medical benefit management market. The company is positioned to best manage the future of healthcare, including gene therapies, increased adoption of biosimilars and personalized medicine. With unsurpassed visibility into the diversity of care provided to patients today, it’s no surprise that Express Scripts’ commitment to diversity in its workforce matches its commitment to help patients achieve better health.

As Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion and Corporate Giving, Susan Stith has led the company’s Diversity and Inclusion initiatives since 2011. “Diversity goes beyond the human characteristics you see on the surface,” said Stith, who educates, encourages and inspires employees across the organization to consider the importance of diversity in business today. “Studies show that diverse teams are more innovative and creative. When we respect and accept different points of view, only then can we all make contributions that will move the organization forward,” she added. “As our nation becomes more diverse, so does our workforce. Today, nearly one-third of the labor force is minority. By the year 2025, that number will increase to nearly 40%. Everything we do today to create an inclusive environment and recruit the best talent available will help us continue to succeed in the future.”

Experiencing diversity through storytelling

In October 2017, Express Scripts held its 4th Annual Experience Diversity Summit, a day-long conference that provided a forum for diversity champions to connect through storytelling. For attendees, including employees from Express Scripts and other St. Louis corporations, a highlight of the day was the “Courageous Conversation” panel of storytellers who spoke of overcoming challenges and adversity in their personal and professional lives. The panel included a leader in the transgender community and a Latino immigrant who fought for equal opportunity and access to the practice of law, making history in 2016 as the first undocumented immigrant to be able to practice as a lawyer in New York.

One of the summit’s keynote speakers, Bonnie St. John, shared her story of pursuing the sport of skiing despite growing up in poverty and having her right leg amputated at the age of five. St. John became the first African-American to win medals in Winter Olympic competition, taking home a silver and two bronze medals at the 1984 Winter Paralympics.

“Diversity is what makes us unique, and telling our stories is how we experience that uniqueness,” Stith noted. “Storytelling is a powerful tool that connects people, ideas and experiences in very personal and meaningful ways. Storytelling often holds the keys to our history and tells the stories of who we are.”

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