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Blue Shield of CA’s “Disability Inclusion Alliance” (DIA) – Inaugural Signature Event

Published: Friday July 28, 2023
group photo of attendees of the blue shield disability  inclusion alliance erg signature event

Having the opportunity to speak at the Blue Shield of California’s inaugural signature event for their Disability Inclusion Alliance (DIA) Employee Resource Group (ERG) at their headquarters in Oakland, California was amazing! 

The feeling of warmth and belonging at this event was exuded by their tremendous leadership and staff.  The meeting was opened by their CEO, Paul Markovich, who amplified the meaning behind the importance of the newly found group to the overall organization.  

Patrice Bergman, Vice President and General Manager of Individual and Family Plans, followed with a powerfully personal testament that echoed and reaffirmed that the leadership at Blue Shield of California truly has their heart and minds open to the work ahead for this program.

It was somewhat of an intimidating moment to follow such great leaders in the healthcare industry in the floor to ceiling windowed space overlooking the sprawling metropolis of Oakland and San Francisco among many of the other key leaders attending in-person, as well as knowing that hundreds more were tuning in virtually for my keynote company wide.

alycia speaking at blue shield disability inclusion alliance event

However my well-honed keynote, “Getting to the Heart of Disabling Ableism” proved once again to be up for the challenge of breaking down the barriers of stigmas, biases and obstacles that often leave disability out of a conversation, and it profoundly opened the space for those with and without experience in the space to reflect, absorb and begin to think of even more how they too can find or further their place in the work of disabling ableism in our workforces and society.

A special thank you to the event organizer Saffy Johnson who orchestrated the first of its kind event for the organization who handled the expected and unexpected with grace and purpose.

I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the team at Blue Shield of California for extending this invitation and for recognizing the importance of this conversation. It is such a humbling experience to be among industry leaders and professionals who are making a real difference in people’s lives.

I am eager to stay connected with the amazing people I met at Blue Shield this week!  It is through your efforts that we can drive positive change and create a healthier and more compassionate society.

Thank you for leaning in with humanity, honesty and courage!