2021 Top 25 Diversity Change Leaders Continue Progress in Difficult Times

Kendra Burris-Austin Grows Centene Supplier Diversity through Local Focus

As the Director, Supplier Diversity & Vendor Sustainability at Centene Corporation, Kendra Burris-Austin advances the corporation’s diversity efforts by focusing on local and collaborative strategies that roll into larger corporate goals. She believes sustained change depends on driving economic impact within local underserved communities, by providing opportunities to smaller and more strategic vendors that can grow with the health plans ecosystem and move into the corporate structure. The local focus has been hugely successful, leading to an increase of 44% in spend within the first year.

Kendra uses fact based analytics to educate leaders on the ROI of Supplier Diversity. She develops strategies that mitigate risk and create positive brand recognition and economic impact at local and national levels, driving leader decision-making based on information and knowledge. Kendra utilizes analytics to gain operational leadership support and convey “what’s in it for me” knowledge as a motivator. She has the full support of senior leadership, which is vital to creating the atmosphere at Centene, where success is shared by the entire company.

  • Favorite Quote: “Talent is equally distributed but opportunity is not.” – Leila Janah