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Blue Shield of California Executive Appointments Bolster Strategic Growth Plans; Deepen Nonprofit Health Plan’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commitments

Sarah Iselin named Executive Vice President, Strategy and Public Affairs; Hope Scott named Senior Vice President and General Counsel

OAKLAND, Calif. (July 27, 2021) – Blue Shield of California, a leader in diversity, equity and inclusion, today announced two women will join the nonprofit health plan’s top executive ranks to help drive operational excellence and accelerate an ambitious transformation plan. Both roles will report to President and CEO Paul Markovich, further strengthening the role women play in the company’s leadership.

Sarah Iselin

Sarah Iselin will join Blue Shield on August 9, 2021 in a new role as executive vice president of strategy and public affairs. Hope Scott, vice president, deputy general counsel, has been promoted to senior vice president and general counsel. She is also the chair of the company’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council.

The company has also announced that Sandra Clarke, chief financial officer, was recently promoted to executive vice president from senior vice president. Mary O’Hara, chief human resources officer and senior vice president of internal communications, was also recently promoted to executive vice president of people and engagement.

Of the 19 senior leadership positions within the company, 13 are now occupied by women and people of color. 

Scott and Iselin join a CEO-direct report leadership team that includes Todd Walthall, chief operating officer; Clarke; O’Hara; AnaLisa Luippold, vice president of operating committee and Office of the CEO; and Debbie Chang, president and CEO of Blue Shield of California Foundation. 

Iselin joins Blue Shield from Guidewell and Florida Blue where she served as executive vice president, government programs and diversified business, as well as senior vice president and chief strategy officer.

“Sarah brings a proven track record of transforming health care and has significant experience working with Blue health plans and at the state level with the then-Governor Deval Patrick in Massachusetts on complex public issues,” Markovich said. “She is a very talented strategic thinker and leader who shares our values and vision: to create a healthcare system that is worthy of our family and friends and sustainably affordable for everyone.”

Scott has been a senior member of Blue Shield’s legal department since 2012. She served has Blue Shield’s chief risk and compliance officer, as well as the company’s chief privacy officer and privacy counsel.  

Nick  Hope Headshots Q2 2019-24 3sq
Hope Scott

“Through several promotions, Hope has proven to be a strong leader,” Markovich said. “All great general counsels share certain attributes: excellent judgment, unwavering ethics, strong independence, great leadership skills, outstanding communication skills, strong business acumen, and of course, legal expertise. Hope excels in all these areas.”

Scott replaces Seth Jacobs, senior vice president and general counsel, who will retire after a distinguished career that has included more than 25 years at Blue Shield. 

“Seth has been a strategic adviser, trusted colleague and good friend to me and so many of us here at the company. He has played an important role in our efforts to grow the company and to transform health care. I wish him a long and healthy retirement,” Markovich said.

These moves build on Blue Shield’s commitment to and recognized leadership in diversity, equity and inclusion. In addition to Kristina Leslie serving as the company’s first woman chair of the board of directors, the governing body also has gender balance, and women chair four of the board’s five standing committees. The tax-paying nonprofit, which has more than 7,500 employees and $21 billion in annual revenues, is one of the largest companies in California to achieve gender balance on its board. Additionally, people of color make up nearly half of the board.  

Blue Shield also maintains a zero pay-ratio gap by both gender and ethnicity. It has a balanced representation of women and men in leadership roles (Director and above) and was recently included on the 2021 National Diversity Council Index and named one of America’s Best Companies for Women to Advance by


About Blue Shield of California

Blue Shield of California strives to create a healthcare system worthy of its family and friends that is sustainably affordable. Blue Shield of California is a tax paying, nonprofit, independent member of the Blue Shield Association with over 4.5 million members, over 7,500 employees and more than $21 billion in annual revenues. Founded in 1939 in San Francisco and now headquartered in Oakland, Blue Shield of California and its affiliates provide health, dental, vision, Medicaid and Medicare healthcare service plans in California. The company has contributed more than $150 million to the Blue Shield of California Foundation in the last four years to have an impact on California communities.

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