Hope Scott is Busy, But That’s Nothing New

by Savoy Staff

Hope H. Scott, Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, Blue Shield of California

The general counsel and corporate secretary of Blue Shield of California remembers early in her career when
she was juggling the tasks of work and a newborn son. Her boss at the time didn’t relate to family life. Despite
all the issues with parenting a baby, such as handling sickness or finding a sitter, her manager wouldn’t accept excuses for family commitments. So, Scott, already having developed keen business acumen, found ways to work around the situation, but it left her with a feeling of not being heard.

She vowed things would be different when she in turn managed others, and during her career, she followed through. “I’ve taken all of the terrible managers I’ve had over the years and done the opposite of them,” she says.

As a young Black practicing attorney early in her career, she would often be mistaken as the secretary and
asked to make photocopies. She would kindly take care of the task, then sit down in the room of lawyers near
her counterpart, much to the person’s chagrin.

Guided by humility, her style as a manager has been to observe, take things in, and assess before acting. “Throughout
my entire life, people underestimate me because I am not boisterous, out there, coming in and saying, ‘This is how we’re going to do it,’” Scott says. “People tend to be completely stunned when I finally start talking and doing things, taking charge and organizing.”

One of her leadership traits is listening to others. Scott, in addition to running the law department, also chairs Blue Shield’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council, and last year helped to support a company-wide campaign to listen to employees. There were plenty of issues to cover among the four pillars of the council’s focus: social justice, people, business growth, and health equity. The project involved small focus groups with each grouping representing a specific employee such as Black, Latinx, Asian, LGBTQ+, employees with disabilities, veterans, and employees who are 40+ years old.

The campaign created safe spaces for employees to provide candid feedback about what’s important to them, what they are experiencing, what they need, and what the company needs to be aware of so it can better support them and their communities. “We received valuable information about lived experiences through the lenses of race, ethnicity, gender, veteran and disability status and more,” Scott says.

This year, Blue Shield is expanding its focus groups to gain more insight on the experiences of employees and to continue better serving its employees.

Living the California Dream

By 2012, Scott landed at Blue Shield of California, chasing a dream of living in the Golden State — all the while jumping back into her love for privacy law. She steadily rose through the ranks: from chief privacy officer to vice president, chief risk and compliance officer in 2015, to deputy general counsel in 2019, and her current role in 2021. Aside from her deep legal expertise, her ascendence was due to “excellent judgment, unwavering ethics, strong independence, great leadership skills, outstanding communication skills, strong business acumen,” noted Paul Markovich, president, and chief executive officer of Blue Shield when he promoted her to general counsel in 2021.

Her work as general counsel for Blue Shield includes advising on initiatives that are fundamentally changing the healthcare industry, such as building contracts with providers based more on value rather than just the services they deliver and readying the company for a mandatory shift to a centralized, statewide database for electronic medical records. Yet, her work to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion might give her the most satisfaction — and the progress shows in the results.

In her council leadership role, she says it isn’t about a Black woman at the helm, “It’s about the council members who are going out there and representing the organization and our community, showing what it means to be your best self, in your skin.”

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