by Gretchen Block
July 18, 2022

Within Enterprise Information Security at UnitedHealth Group, we know the importance of a diverse workforce and have made significant investments in our people and partners to ensure it is embedded throughout our cybersecurity program. Examples of our investments include Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS), Black Girls in Cybersecurity, neurodiversity recruiting organizations and others. Through these partnerships we have been able to attract diverse talent and advance our support for women in cybersecurity. “As a women leader I hope I have been able to influence and bring about change for other women. In the early part of my career, I can remember sitting back at times and not having a direct voice vs. what I have today.” says Gretchen Block. The leaders within our organization are committed to advancing the diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Enterprise Information Security has aligned diversity practice within our organizational goals to show the heightened importance of a diverse workplace. By aligning diversity practice to organizational goals, we can treat diversity, equity, and inclusion like any other business priority; with transparency, leadership accountability and a data-driven approach to setting priorities and measuring progress. We launched a new Inclusion Index in our employee surveys to help us better measure and understand employee sentiment related to fairness. From the surveys, our leaders have been able to take direct action on the esponses and feedback that was received from our biggest assets, our people.

The importance of a diverse workforce is talent, and there is amazing talent all over. We must be thoughtful and make sure we are attracting diverse talent because diverse ideas create better and more innovative solutions which support our business success. Specifically, the cyber threat landscape continues to evolve, and our robust security program needs to adjust continually to focus on areas where we can make incremental improvements. Having a diverse team allows new ideas to align with the new generations of cyber-attacks that are multi-dimensional, well-funded (nation/state, criminal) and sophisticated. Diversity allows us to evolve by implementing additional controls to defend our customer’s data. The customers we serve are of all walks of life, and if we are not diverse, the solutions we create to serve them are not going to speak to all.

Additionally, we have focused on creating one global team to align all our employees in one organization. This allows us to operate more effectively and provide the best security measures to our customers 24X7 365. We are committed to forming a team as diverse as the people we serve, one person at a time.

As cybersecurity becomes a pivotal topic for organizations, we will continue to prioritize and build an innovative culture where diversity is celebrated, equity is realized, and inclusion is embraced.

Gretchen Block began her professional journey at John Deere HealthCare in 1995 with roles in IT Asset Management, Computer Operations, and Security. Gretchen joined UnitedHealth Group in 2006, as part of the acquisition of John Deere Healthcare with UnitedHealth Group. With Optum she has been a part of the Enterprise Security organization, working specifically with risk governance, compliance, and threat management in support of the broader cybersecurity program. Currently, Gretchen leads the enterprise policy and risk governance teams, including security oversight for the enterprise supplier base. Gretchen has become a global leaders at Optum|UnitedHealth Group driving technology risk management across business towners and geographies.