As SVP and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Carolyn is responsible for elevating Humana's inclusion and diversity focus and infusing cultural competency across all corners of the company and community. Her primary responsibility is to oversee Humana's enterprise culture initiatives to strengthen culture and engagement across the company.
Prior to joining Humana, she worked for the Democratic National Committee as the Director of African American Outreach and a Senior Advisor. Her role was to maintain a broader relationship between the administration and African American communities for their equal rights and economic opportunities. Over the years of experience in different roles, Tandy continues that mission of serving others.
What are the challenges that face an organization while implementing diversity and inclusion?
Leadership is one of the most significant pain points I've noticed recently. What defines the leaders? There are no particular skill sets that can define a leader. Sometimes people with different skills have developed and evolved into leadership roles over time. It could be a practitioner, an engineer, or an IT specialist. However, the ability to attract, develop, and lead diverse talent requires other traits, such as empathy, vulnerability, and curiosity to learn what you don't know. Effective leaders are relationship-focused. They must be self-motivated to master leadership challenges and have the foresight to adopt new learning methods. Rather than focusing on feelings of inclusion and belonging, we need to focus on what people within the organization are doing that is causing other people to feel excluded if we want to create more inclusive, equitable, and diverse organizations. Working with people who share similar experiences or viewpoints does not lead to better outcomes. To achieve greater results, we must be able to attract a diverse range of people, perspectives, and experiences.
2022 will see a new wave of support with organizations moving beyond setting the foundation to actively supporting gender identity and expression. These will include the use of gender-inclusive language and communication. What are your views on this trend?
Yes, we should definitely concentrate our efforts on bridging the generational gap considering the needs and future of our workforce. Previously, I worked for an organization that prioritized age diversity—particularly within the five generations. However, managing multiple generations in the workplace may not be as easy as it sounds. They may have different expectations, communication styles, and perspectives. After engaging with millennials and Gen-Z, I found their needs and perspectives to be quite forward-thinking. That's why every organization must accommodate a forward-thinking approach. It will enable them to speak up and express themselves. Nevertheless, adopting a management strategy that addresses the distinctive characteristics of different generations in the workplace can allow employers to harness the respective strengths of their workforce and compete more effectively in the marketplace.
"We should definitely concentrate on our efforts in bridging the generational gap considering the needs and future of our workforce"
What advice would you give to your fellow peers and leaders in the industry?
My sole piece of advice for them is to “Be Brave.” Because being vulnerable might be tough for certain individuals. They simply recognize themselves. But when they interact with someone who is different from them, they are less likely to trust them or see the similarities between each other. That's why I believe it's important to break those barriers, to be brave and learn what they don't know, stay curious and keep that growth mindset around how this relationship can also be valued. That to me, is certainly one of the areas where we need the most improvement, especially from leaders.