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In the News: How Mary O'Hara Merges Business Planning, People and Financial Strategy

Blue Shield of California's chief human resources officer and Sandra Clarke, chief financial officer, talk about how technology is aiding the health plan's mission

Mary O'Hara, chief human resources officer and senior vice president at Blue Shield of California, told Forbes Insights about how she manages the workforce, technology and money.

In a wide ranging interview, O'Hara said the nonprofit insurer has integrated those categories -- using technology.

“Being very deliberate about growing and developing people in the same direction where our business is going is a fundamental strategy,” says O’Hara. “Our goal is to be a great place to work.” This requires an environment where people at all levels take accountability to work on the system, not just in it. “We focus a lot of our attention on equipping our people to be great leaders at all levels,” she says. “Leadership is what makes the greatest difference to establishing an environment where people can grow personally, professionally and financially and where they feel aligned to the mission, doing great work.”

Clarke Sandra_1sq
Sandra Clarke


She added:

 “We value diversity and have seven Employee Resource Groups,” which represent women, veterans, black, Hispanic, Asian, persons with disabilities and LGBTQ+ employees and their allies. O’Hara emphasizes that Blue Shield’s people strategy is fundamental to the organization. “It’s absolutely at the heart of what makes a mission-driven organization,” she says. “We can’t care for members if we don’t care for our people.”

Sandra Clarke, Blue Shield of California's chief financial officer, was also interviewed. She 

 “We’re combining data on population health we get from our claims system with our financial data, and linking this with an artificial intelligence tool. It’s giving us better insights and enabling us to drive transformation around affordability.” 

Read the full story here (download PDF).