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Wellmark receives 2010 NAACP Merit Employer of the Year Award
November 24, 2010

Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield is proud to receive the 2010 Merit Employer of the Year Award from the Des Moines NAACP.


The annual award, presented by the Des Moines NAACP, is designed to recognize employers that promote best practice principles of diversity in both their workplace and community. Wellmark Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John D. Forsyth accepted the award on behalf of its employees.


In making the award announcement at the NAACP Annual Freedom Fund Banquet, Preston Daniels, Honorary Banquet Chair and Iowa Director of Human Rights, noted Wellmark’s commitment to providing a safe and inclusive environment in which both seen and unseen differences are embraced and appreciated.


“Every individual has the opportunity to contribute and develop in ways consistent with their vision, mission, and values. Leadership within the Wellmark organization shoulder the responsibility to strengthen culture through encouraging and motivating employees to become the CEO of their career, through rewards and recognition for hard work, and engaging in open and honest conversations,” Daniels said.


Several of Wellmark’s internal programs were profiled in the award presentation, including its Diversity and Inclusion curriculum, Diversity Awareness Month, culturally diverse exercise classes such as hip-hop and zumba, and its Inclusion Council. The 16-member Council, established in 2006, promotes workplace diversity initiatives to increase the understanding and value of an inclusive culture.


“We are greatly honored to receive this prestigious award and humbly thank the NAACP for recognizing our commitment to diversity and inclusion,” says Forsyth. “Diversity strengthens all aspects of our business. Our inclusive culture drives performance, spurs innovation and creativity, and helps us provide the best service to our customers.”


Linda Carter-Lewis, president of NAACP’s Des Moines chapter, noted Wellmark’s commitment to diversity starts at the top of the organization.


 “John Forsyth is genuinely interested and enthusiastic about diversity and inclusion at Wellmark. The fact that he chairs the Wellmark Inclusion Council makes a huge statement and exhibits his commitment and desire to make diversity a very important piece of corporate culture,” she says. “Diversity is vitally important to growth of any business – and especially in today’s climate, if you don’t value diversity then you will not thrive. Wellmark has that flavor and is doing everything they can to put emphasis on it.”



Des Moines NAACP Chapter President Linda Carter-Lewis (left), and Preston Daniels, honorary banquet chair and Iowa Director of Human Rights, present the Merit Employer of the Year Award to Wellmark Chairman and CEO John Forsyth. (photo by Bert Moody, Imagez Photo Studio)

Wellmark Chairman and CEO John Forsyth (center, with award) shares the Des Moines NAACP Merit Employer of the Year Award with Inclusion Council members (from left) Teresa Thrift, Pleasure Allen, Joe Ann Alexander, Muriel Pemble, Michelle Henderson, Dennis Michener and Rona Berinobis. (photo by Bert Moody, Imagez Photo Studio)


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Contact Wellmark Media Relations

Traci McBee
Phone: 515-376-4338


Teresa Roof
Phone: 515-376-5869


1331 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50309-2901

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