San Francisco Business Times today published their list of the Bay Area’s 2021 OUTstanding Voices, business leaders recognized for their contributions and advocacy of the LGBTQ community. The annual list is published as part of the publication’s annual Business of Pride issue, which highlights the companies and leaders making a difference in their organizations and throughout the Bay Area. This year’s honorees include Jeff Robertson, senior vice president and chief marketing and customer officer for Blue Shield of California.
Robertson's responsibilities include directing the company’s brand, marketing, and advertising efforts, as well as leading its award-winning member service operations and call centers. Robertson leads a workforce of nearly 2,000 employees to position the company as a forward-thinking, progressive, and inclusive leader in the health care industry.
Robertson was selected as a 2021 OUTstanding Voice in part due to his work within the company as a leader of the health plan’s Diversity and Leadership efforts and chair of the Shield Pride employee resource group. Blue Shield of California has gained a reputation for its inclusive practices; in 2020 alone the company was recognized as a Certified Great Place to Work®, named a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality by Human Rights Campaign, ranked No. 1 on DiversityInc’s Top Regional Companies list, and was included on the list of World’s Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute.
In addition to his leadership within the company, Robertson’s acknowledgement as an OUTstanding Voice also recognizes his leadership in bringing to life the company’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion outside the organization’s walls.
While it’s generally rare to see people with disabilities, same-sex couples, and people of color in most mainstream advertising, Blue Shield of California has used its platform to promote inclusivity in its marketing and advertising, so the diversity on screen represents the diversity of our employees and our members. Recent examples include the television spots “Let’s not go back to normal,” which addresses gender equity; “Get it,” which encouraged everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19; and “Hate is a virus,” which speaks out against violence toward Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
Robertson also was profiled in an article in San Francisco Business Times. When asked why he made the transition from the airline industry to health care, here’s what he had to say:
“I knew that health care was complicated. I knew that it was confusing. I knew that it was broken and it was not consumer friendly. I came here with a goal of helping drive change. And while initially it was around brand and marketing and how we showed up in our advertising and just helping transform health care’s perceptions, it began to evolve as we digitized the company. My role expanded to include all digital. I really love what I do.”
Robertson and his team have shown that at Blue Shield of California, what we stand for sets us apart.
Read the SF Business Times story on Robertson here (subscription may be required).