Scott Vowels
Robert A. James

Program Manager, Supplier Diversity
Highmark Health

Robert A. James Conveys Clear Vision for Supplier Diversity at Highmark Health

Robert A. James, Program Manager for Supplier Diversity at Highmark Health, has taken the supplier diversity program to a new level of achievement. He has developed strong partnerships with his procurement team, talented diverse supplier partners, and the executive steering committee he established. He communicates a clear vision and strategy, identifies best practices and how to programmatically execute, and has established a routine reporting process for spend metrics and supplier activities.

James believes that generating and reporting metrics to track diverse Tier 1 and Tier 2 spend is a key to success. He keeps Highmark's board and executive leadership informed of spend progress; sponsors monthly matchmaking events for diverse suppliers to pitch their capabilities to procurement; offers trainings to procurement members including unconscious bias awareness; and leads new programs including a mentor/protégé initiative, the Rooney Rule for RFPs, an annual golf how-to clinic and outing, a small business forum, and opportunities for the company to demonstrate its thought leadership. James was recently appointed to the Pennsylvania governor's Advisory Council for Diversity Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities.

Favorite Quote:
"Inclusion and fairness in the workplace…. Is not simply the right thing to do it’s the smart thing to do."
- The Honorable Alexis Herman