Former Vice President, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Charitable Giving and President, Cigna Foundation, Cigna (Retired – March 2023)
In her former role, Susan Stith was responsible for shaping and steering enterprise-wide diversity, equity, inclusion, philanthropic, and community outreach programs and led efforts to recruit, retain and develop diverse talent at Cigna and Express Scripts. In addition, she managed national nonprofit partnerships and directed the civic affairs function including community outreach, programming, funding, and employee volunteerism.
Susan also served as President of the Cigna Foundation where she launched the Healthier Kids for Our Future® initiative, Cigna’s five-year, $25 million global commitment to improve the health and well-being of children everywhere. Prior to her retirement, Susan facilitated the launch of a $1 million partnership between the Cigna Foundation and the YMCA of the USA to support three years of vitality programming at five YMCA locations.
In 2020, faced with an unprecedented and unrelenting global pandemic that disproportionately impacted vulnerable populations particularly communities of color, a resurgent civil rights movement, and expectations from employees to take a stand and act on societal issues resulting from systemic racism, Susan brought to life two important programs which demonstrated Cigna’s commitment to health equity and equality. Both programs, Building Equity & Equality – a five-year initiative to expand, accelerate and measure Cigna’s support for diversity, inclusion, equality and equity for communities of color – and the Brave of Heart Fund, in partnership with New York Life and the New York Life Foundation, honoring families of frontline healthcare workers who lost their lives from COVID-19, were important milestones during a time of national unrest.
Susan’s career in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) spans various industries and dates to the early 2000s, well before most companies were having important conversations around DEI. At Express Scripts, Susan’s work to help cultivate, sustain, and grow an environment in which people of all backgrounds could flourish led her to create the Experience Diversity Summit, an annual event featuring nationally recognized thought leaders and storytellers designed to connect ideas, people, and experiences in new and unique ways.
During her tenure at Cigna, Susan launched the Enterprise DEI Council, the Diversity Scorecard Report and the Global Women’s Leadership Summit and reached #14 (2022) on DiversityInc’s Top 50 list, which recognizes the nation’s top companies in diversity and inclusion management.
Susan has been honored by national publications and organizations such as Diversity Woman Magazine’s Elite 100, Black Enterprise’s Top Executives in Corporate Diversity, Diversity Plus magazine’s Top 25 Women Impacting Diversity, Diversity Woman’s Top 50 Diversity Champions, and Savoy, among others.
Susan connects her passion with purpose and is a current member of several boards, including the Greater St. Louis United Way, the Gateway Arch Park Foundation and The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and is an advisory member of the National Council for Washington University in St. Louis’ Brown School and Institute for Public Health. She previously served on the boards of the Starkloff Disability Institute and the Arts and Education Council.
Susan earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and a master’s degree from the University of Phoenix.