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June 11, 2020

DES MOINES, IA – Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Forsyth, has been named as the recipient of the 2020 Ally Award from dsm Magazine and the advocacy group, One Iowa. The Ally Award is given to one individual outside of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community who has embraced and promoted LGBTQ Iowans as friends and colleagues.

"I am honored and humbled to receive this award," said Forsyth. "My vision has always been to create an organization that is welcoming and accepting of all. The benefit of our different views, ideas and backgrounds to our company and the community is beyond measure."

Forsyth has moved Wellmark to the forefront of inclusivity in the workplace, including for LGBTQ individuals. In the late 1990s, Wellmark became one of the first organizations in Iowa to establish insurance benefits for same-sex couples. Forsyth also oversaw the creation of the company's Inclusion Council that brings a wide range of voices to the decision-making table. Because of Forsyth, Wellmark's charitable efforts only support nonprofit organizations that agree with the company's Inclusion Statement.

"As a leader, you want to have a strong company and make the best decisions for your employees," said Forsyth. "I still get excited each time I hear somebody say 'what you've done has made a difference in my life.'"

The 2020 Ally award will be presented during One Iowa's virtual LGBTQ Legacy Leader awards event presented by dsm Magazine on June 18.