This year, International Women’s Day is focused on driving gender balance around the world by encouraging the international community to “think equal, build smart and innovate for change.” I’ve dedicated most of my career to gender equality in the workplace and know that we can only achieve this balance when everyone is involved in the solution. At GCI Health, we’ve created an environment where anyone – regardless of gender – can tackle new challenges and bring their innovative ideas to the table to help drive transformation in healthcare delivery. In other words, we are driving progress toward a more gender-balanced world by being a gender-balanced agency ourselves.
In today’s world, women have more opportunities to lead than ever before, and I’m proud to be part of an organization that not only accepts women in leadership roles but nurtures and invests in the growth and empowerment of all the members of the GCI Health team equally. Long before I joined GCI Health, I was passionate about advancing gender equality – in fact, I held a sign at my college graduation voicing my frustration that women at the time were making 55 cents for every dollar earned by our male counterparts. This fire has fueled me throughout my career.
It is critical that we take people’s lives into consideration to ensure that our employees can have the best life possible. Over the last few years, by committing to this, our company’s growth continues to soar. I believe our dedication to fostering female leadership and understanding every individual’s unique circumstances plays an important role in building an organization’s culture and our success.
By giving women opportunities to lead and develop their skill set in an encouraging environment, we are creating more thoughtful, impactful leaders for the future and directly supporting progress against the United Nations (U.N.) Sustainable Development Goal 5. Two of our most recent initiatives – People at the Center and the #BeHealthiHer movement – put women front and center while also providing equal opportunities for our colleagues to utilize their skills and showcase creative thinking.
Our People at the Center initiative allows us to spotlight the ways in which patients are more than patients – they are people with hopes, fears, families and passions. The initiative is an evolution of our Patients at the Center program, which aimed to help our clients and colleagues remember that there is a patient at the center of every treatment journey and each educational effort. Through People at the Center, our colleagues are able to tap into their compassion and patience, to translate learnings into thoughtful strategy and perceptive insights to strengthen our client work. This program, managed by some of GCI Health’s female leaders, is essential to what we do because it forces us to look past the traditional confines of the healthcare system and identify the true needs of the people that our clients serve.
According to the U.N., women spend roughly three times as many hours in unpaid domestic and care work as men; however, women often overlook or deprioritize their own health and care due to other career, family or personal responsibilities. The #BeHealthiHer movement, a GCI Health initiative launched in 2018, aims to encourage women to feel empowered to make self-care a priority and provides the tools they need to make that change. Women today wear many hats – they’re wives, mothers, caregivers, employees, business leaders and breadwinners, often at the same time; however, this leaves little time and energy to prioritize personal health and well-being. The #BeHealthiHer platform gives us the opportunity to connect with women outside of our company and industry, letting them know that the issues they face are shared by other women globally while empowering them in the process.
In my years since joining GCI Health, I’ve led the charge, and I’m proud of building and being fiercely committed to a gender-balanced agency. While I know there is still more we can do to reach true gender balance universally, I am encouraged by the evolution of our agency and our industry and look forward to continued progress in bringing women into well-deserved leadership roles. Women who are empowered at work are ultimately more empowered in other aspects of their lives, contributing to a stronger and more successful community. It’s a personal mission of mine to ensure that the GCI Health family has the support and resources needed to become great leaders, and at the end of the day, even greater people.
Written by: Wendy Lund, CEO, GCI Health