Chasm Conversations

Women Who Advocate for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Healthcare: Part Three

March 20, 2024

In the third installment of our four-part series honoring Women’s History Month, we had the privilege of speaking with Leslie Glenn, fractional Chief People Officer and founder of RAVEL by LG, a consultancy providing advisory and leadership development services to HR leaders in early-stage healthcare companies.

Missed Parts One and Two? Catch up: Part One; Part Two

About Leslie Glenn

Leslie Glenn has over 20 years of experience in human resources. Throughout her career, Leslie has assumed various C-suite roles, notably serving in senior HR capacities at esteemed global enterprises such as General Electric and Energizer Holdings. Preceding her most recent role as Chief People Officer at Interwell Health, Leslie served a five-year tenure as the Client Success and Strategy Executive at Signify Health, where she spearheaded client strategy for a national value-based care healthcare program.

With a foundation in HR leadership and strategic operational expertise, Leslie has adeptly managed the complexities of organizational scaling. She is passionate about fostering inclusive workplace cultures where all voices are valued while driving profitable and impactful change.

Can you share with us your journey and motivation in advocating for DEI in healthcare?

My commitment to advocating for DEI in healthcare is rooted in the belief that a diverse workforce is better equipped to understand and serve our diverse patient populations effectively. Throughout my career, even before entering the healthcare sector, I've been fortunate to work with organizations that placed a high priority on DEI. These early experiences profoundly influenced my perception of its critical importance. In healthcare particularly, reflecting the diversity of our communities is paramount to delivering culturally competent and equitable care.

In what ways do you see organizations or other professionals “miss the mark” when it comes to DEI programs? 

Organizations often miss the mark when DEI efforts are siloed or not fully integrated into the fabric of the organization. Simply running one-off programs or initiatives isn't enough if leadership isn't actively advocating for DEI across all aspects of the business. This encompasses everything from how we attract external talent and plan for internal succession to the executive support of employee resource groups (ERGs). It also extends to how we discuss and cater to diverse and underrepresented patient populations. Employees can easily discern when there's a lack of genuine commitment, which leads to diminished trust and engagement within the organization. True dedication to DEI necessitates that it becomes a shared language and consideration throughout the entire organization.

What strategies do you employ to engage healthcare stakeholders in conversations about DEI?

Engaging healthcare stakeholders in DEI conversations requires consistent, meaningful dialogue. While creating and sharing a thorough DEI strategy and framework is an important first step, it's only the beginning. DEI should seamlessly integrate into every operational facet, and readiness to coach and offer feedback during any setbacks or missteps is essential. Ultimately, the goal is for DEI to organically embed itself into the organization's decision-making processes and everyday operations.

From your perspective, what are the most effective strategies for recruiting and retaining a diverse healthcare workforce?

The key lies in consistently delivering on stated DEI objectives and metrics. When an organization pledges to offer a diverse pool of candidates for every search, it must honor that pledge, even if it demands additional time and effort (which may sometimes clash with business urgencies and the pursuit of speed). Likewise, being deliberate about promotions and leadership openings is essential for nurturing and retaining a diverse talent pool. Lastly, measuring your outcomes with data and openly assessing your advancement toward your objectives — including representation at leadership levels, hiring and promotion rates, and voluntary turnover by race, gender, ethnicity, and other relevant demographics — is critical. Maintaining transparency within the organization regarding the current status and future aspirations should be a primary focus.

What advice would you give to other women who aspire to become advocates for DEI in the healthcare field?

My advice is to start now, whatever your role or level in the organization. Get involved, speak up, and ask questions, even if it feels uncomfortable or vulnerable. Learn from others' experiences, and be open to continuous learning and growth. Consider joining or supporting an ERG either as a member or ally. Seek out informal mentorship opportunities, and think about ways to advocate for yourself and others from underrepresented groups.

Follow Chasm Partners on LinkedIn to catch the final installment of our Women's History Month series.

Leslie Glenn
Founder & Fractional Chief People Officer

Leslie Glenn

Founder & Fractional Chief People Officer

Leslie Glenn is the Founder of Ravel by LG, and a Fractional Chief People Officer and Advisor specializing in early-stage healthcare companies. She stands out in the HR landscape for her deep understanding of business strategy and growth. With roots in HR leadership and strategic operational roles, she has navigated the complexities of scaling organizations, fostering inclusive workplace cultures where every voice is valued, and driving profitable, impactful change. 

Leslie brings more than 20 years of experience as a leader in multiple industries. Leslie has held multiple C-suite positions, successfully moving from HR to a senior operational role at Signify Health, leading client strategy for a national value-based care healthcare program over five years.  Leslie was most recently the Chief People Officer for Interwell Health. Before these roles in healthcare leadership, Leslie held senior HR positions at global companies including General Electric and Energizer Holdings. 

As part of her holistic approach to growing organizations and leaders, Leslie is currently pursuing the International Coaching Federation (ICF) coaching certification through the ACT Leadership and Performance program at Brown University.  Leslie attended Cornell University, earning her bachelor’s before pursuing an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis.

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