Profiles in Diversity Journal First Quarter 2021

Page 74



Vice President, Global Solutions Latin America

LEADERS Worth Watching




Santiago Irurita

Education: JD, Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico; MBA, University of Virginia Company Name: UnitedHealthcare Global Industry: Health care Company CEO: Amy Shaw Company Headquarters Location: Minnetonka, Minnesota Number of Employees: 325,000 Your Location (if different from above): Miami, Florida Words you live by: “Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.” – Saint Augustine Who is your personal hero? My dad, who worked tirelessly all of his life building a socially responsible business What book are you reading? Life of Christ by Fray Justo perez de Urbel, a history describing the events, cultural context, and geographical settings surrounding the life of Jesus Christ as narrated by the gospels What was your first job? The summer I turned 16, I worked as a packager and cashier at a shipping company Favorite charity: The Missionaries of Charity, who provide “wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor” Interests: Hiking, playing the drums, and tennis Family: My amazing wife, Maria Jose, and our four very active boys—Manuel 13, Francisco 11, Pedro 9, and Jose 7

The Positive Power of Diversity in Action Growing up in Mexico in a family of second-generation immigrants, I was grateful that my parents strived to instill in us a global mindset, as well as a special interest in and appreciation for diverse peoples and cultures. I think that is I why leaned in the direction of pursuing an international career, and started a journey that has allowed me to live in and experience different cultures around the world in the company of my lovely wife who, like me, is an aspiring global citizen. Throughout our constant moves, I have had many opportunities to witness first-hand the positive power of diversity, particularly in recent years, when I have worked for international health care companies. Working in global health, I have been fortunate to meet amazing people from the most diverse and


2021 First Quarter

nontraditional backgrounds imaginable. I believe the very nature of our industry is what attracts and provides opportunities for the kind of diverse talent that might be harder to identify through formal credentials or titles. It literally “takes a diverse village” to support patients seeking health care services across national borders. And a culturally sensitive and diverse team is critical to understanding and addressing our customers’ needs. Fulfilling UnitedHealthcare Global’s purpose of restoring and maintaining the health of our globally mobile customers requires a unique array of skill sets and perspectives. Understanding the preferences, customs, and practices of health care in various countries can only be accomplished by a multicultural, diverse, and

globally minded team. This is something our teams at UnitedHealth care, where helping people live healthier lives is the goal and our diverse profiles are the enablers, can relate to. I believe and hope that in our increasingly connected world more industries will evolve to operate under dynamics similar to those I identify serving global health care needs, and that diversity in the workforce will continue to grow appreciated as a critical capability. But I also think that organizations can preempt this trend and become proactive in harnessing the positive power of diverse teams by adopting conducive recruiting practices, such as eliminating exclusive education or experience as prerequisites, posting vacancies in unlikely places, or encouraging referrals from current employees.

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