Kimberley Goode joined Blue Shield of California in 2017 as the senior vice president of External Affairs. She has more than 25 years of leadership experience with numerous global companies. She currently serves as the executive sponsor for the Black Employee Network (B.E.N.), one of Blue Shied’s employee resource groups and was recently named one of the most influential women in the Bay Area.
Why health care?
As a mom of three and caregiver for my mother and grandmother, healthcare matters to me personally and professionally. I chose to join Blue Shield because I want to help create a healthcare system worthy of my family and friends and sustainably affordable. I also want to make sure the system works for women, people of color and the most vulnerable. Being part of a company that is committed to achieving equity in healthcare aligns with my personal values and I am inspired to come to work every day to help us move closer to that reality.
Who are women that inspire you?
I am inspired by women who make a way, those who push through adversity, even when odds aren’t in their favor. For example, my grandmother was one of the first African-American woman supervisors for Michigan Bell in the 1940s. She was ahead of her time, and like so many women who experienced both sexism and racism, she worked hard to be successful in corporate America, while facing lots of barriers. These days, I am also inspired by the next generation of women leaders who are tackling a new set of challenges. Whether it’s navigating work life balance or pioneering in fields still dominated by men, women who make a way for themselves and for those who come after them are the ones I most admire.
How can we/do you support the next generation of women leaders?
The best way to support the next generation of women leaders is to walk beside them listening to their ideas, gently offering our advice along the way and stepping aside to allow them to lead when they are ready. That doesn’t mean taking a seat in the background, but it does mean creating space for others to shine. Women leaders need the support of other women. I learned this early in my career and it has served me well throughout. Some of my best role models, mentors and bosses have been women. These women leaders showed me what was possible for me to achieve and also mirrored for me a responsibility to help others which I have worked hard to do throughout my career.
What challenges do we still need to overcome to achieve equality?
The biggest threat to achieving equality is fear and hatred. People who fear those who are different from them are likely to foster hate and division. That can lead to biases and barriers that create unfair practices and inequity. It’s up to all of us to stand for equality. We can do that by actively helping others to have the same advantages we desire for ourselves and by rejecting behaviors and practices that hold people back. A good place to start is with what we teach our children in our homes and in schools. Teaching children to be fair and kind to everyone will make equality more attainable and it will make the world a much better place for all.
How has the Covid-19 outbreak changed/challenged the way you lead?
Leading a team where every member is personally impacted in one way or another causes me to lead with more intentionality. I am more intentional about connecting with my team, checking on how people are doing personally and being more flexible, understanding that people may be struggling in ways we don’t even know. I am also more intentional about self care because I realize that I have new pressures on my plate as in-home caregiver to my mom and grandmother and by taking on a bunch of household duties that I otherwise had help for. I am intentionally exercising more, enjoying the outdoors and taking breaks to ensure I am in the right frame of mind to be the leader my team needs.