Joel Martinez Shares the Importance of Allyship

Transforming Communities

06/28/2022

Joel Martinez headshot

During Pride Month, 福利视频 is shining the spotlight on its diverse employees. Joel Martinez joined WellCare in 2016 as a Community Advocate. He is also a member of 福利视频鈥檚 Employee Inclusion Group (EIG) cPRIDE.

In the following Q&A, Joel discusses his role identifying and addressing social determinants of health for members, his involvement with cPRIDE, and the importance of allyship.

Q.聽聽聽聽Tell us about your background, your career at 福利视频, and your current role as Community Advocate with WellCare.

础.听听听听I am the American-born son of parents who immigrated to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic in the 1980s, fleeing a dictatorship for a better life.聽In the last five years with 福利视频/WellCare of New Jersey, I鈥檝e helped lead our business unit鈥檚 Social Determinants of Health program. As a Community Advocate, my primary focus is researching and identifying socio-economic factors that negatively impact our members鈥 health. Equipped with that data, I鈥檝e developed outcome-based grant programs and initiatives that help break down those barriers to health for our members and the community in general. Critical to that formula is the strong relationships formed with many key stakeholders throughout the state who support our members 鈥 community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, foundations, and providers.聽

Q.聽聽聽聽What is the most meaningful part of your job?

础.听听听听It鈥檚 knowing my emails, deciphering of data spreadsheets, and stakeholder coalition-building is helping our members get food on the table, find assistance to pay their rent, and give caregivers the respite they so desperately need. Seeing those successful outcomes for our members keeps me going.

Q.聽聽聽聽Who influenced you most during your career and why?

A.聽聽聽聽There are countless individuals who have been an inspiration and helped me mature in my professional work. One person whose words I value is my Plan President John Kirchner. He offers great advice. I look up to him for his career trajectory and hope I can emulate a similar path.聽

Q.聽聽聽聽How is 福利视频鈥檚 approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) different from other companies?

础.听听听听福利视频 is an agile, flexible, and receptive organization, and it has been most notable through our DEI initiative. I am able to have a hand in crafting programming and initiatives through both our business unit鈥檚 DEI Council and being part of a dynamic team at cPRIDE. 福利视频鈥檚 DEI Office listens to what employees are looking for, they dig through the uncomfortable topics, and are committed to the long-term. We are constantly faced with raw moments in our country, and 福利视频 is at the forefront during these challenging times.

Q.聽聽聽聽Tell us about why you became involved with cPRIDE?

础.听听听听I want to have a role in shaping a more equitable and positive work experience for our employees, while also ensuring 福利视频 as a company is doing its part to be a corporate ally. I also want to continue to learn about our community and make sure I challenge myself and my preconceived notions of what it is to be LGBTQIA+. Working alongside so many great colleagues has helped me bring my true authentic self to work, and I respect and cheer for each one.

Q.聽聽聽聽What is the importance of allyship to you, and how can employees be better allies?

础.听听听听Allyship is meant to be mutually beneficial as the definition implies. Being an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community means you鈥檙e willing to challenge what you may have grown up thinking or knowing and learn from the real-life experiences of those in the community and commit to learning about social and health issues that the community faces. To form a better allyship, ask the questions you want answered 鈥 you鈥檒l often end up realizing we all have a core commonality and reason to defend and embrace one another as true allies. We want to strengthen the safe space created for LGBTQIA+ employees and to do that, we need to demonstrate that openness and willingness to learn and share stories and experiences.聽聽

Q.聽聽聽聽What are your thoughts on the significance of Pride Month?

础.听听听听Pride Month is a reminder of the journey that was blazed by many icons in our community and their allies willing to fight for our voices and for equality. There鈥檚 much more work to do. We鈥檝e come far as a society, and we must move forward and not flirt with the echoes of the past. Pride Month is only the kick-off to the 365 days that we must really work for equal rights for all humans in this country and world. Not understanding a topic or community is not enough reason to punish or exclude groups through policy and/or laws. We must continue to educate and highlight the work and experiences of marginalized communities so we can continue to celebrate Pride Month every year and be happy when progress is made.聽聽