AmerisourceBergen's CDO: Vaccine Challenges for the Workplace

For the first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Next Practices Monthly Call of 2021, Dr. Lonie Haynes, SVP and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at AmerisourceBergen, shared his thoughts on why inclusion is a verb (denoting action), COVID-19 vaccination deployment challenges for the workplace, and the results of a return to workplace study conducted by AmerisourceBergen. His organization is the second largest distributor of pharmaceuticals in the U.S., partnering with Walgreens, Walmart, and Costco, as well as over 5,0000 pharmacies across the country. The health care product distributor will also be one of the largest distributors of the COVID-19 vaccine. The call was facilitated by Jacqui Robertson, Chair of i4cp’s CDO Board and Global Head of Talent, Diversity, and Inclusion at William Blair. 

Discussion topics and questions included:

  • Haynes’ contention that inclusion is a verb that requires action and movement to be effective. This requires the DEI function to have goals, metrics, and accountability around how they will operate and determine success, and requires consistently asking: Has there been movement? Is there commitment? How have things shifted?
  • During contentious times and when major public events occur CEOs have competing interest and voices that want the organization to acknowledge and take a stance on issues. Many of them struggle with when, how, why and to whom they should respond. Haynes shared how AmerisourceBergen is working through some of these issues after the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol.
  • Poll: Has your organization taken action related to the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol and subsequent social/ political turmoil?
  • Returning to the workplace and what does that look like? Haynes shares the results from his company’s survey and how they plan to take action.
  • i4cp shared data from the survey COVID-19 Vaccination and the 2021 Workplace, showing some of the ways organizations are encouraging employees to take the vaccine.  
  • How is AmerisourceBergen handling the possibility of mandating the vaccine? Are there any incentives in place to help support vaccinations?
  • Is it becoming more common for diversity leaders to report directly to the CEO – as opposed to the CHRO – as the role increases in importance in many organizations?


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