Social Impact Heroes: Why & How Nate Vaughn of Modivcare Is Helping To Change Our World

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Leadership is not really about how much you know, but it’s about what you’re willing to give of yourself to make sure that folks feel empowered.

As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nate Vaughn.

Nate Vaughn is Modivcare’s first Chief Diversity Officer and leads the company’s efforts around Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). Nate has nearly twenty years of healthcare industry experience that encompasses a multitude of roles in commercial, operations, finance, and Human Resource leadership. Modivcare provides non-emergency medical transportation, remote patient monitoring and personal care to Medicare Advantage and managed Medicaid members.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’ve spent about 20 years in healthcare. I started out in finance and quickly moved over to operations. Most of my work has been in the commercial space in sales or marketing or both.

About a year ago my path took a different direction. I was asked to do something that I’ve never really done before from a career perspective, but that I’m deeply passionate about. And that was to lead Modivcare’s DEI efforts. Which is absolutely critical for this and every organization. I’m extremely honored and blessed to have an opportunity to tackle the DEI efforts within Modivcare.

Modivcare serves clients and communities that represent the unrepresented, so it’s important to tackle the DEI efforts externally as well. For us to effectively work with clients where they live, Modivcare has to properly reflect those we serve.

That way we come to the table with different perspectives that align with a number of different represented groups. My career in the commercial space taught me that you have to work with everyone across the organization to get things done. So there’s some resemblance there to DEI programs.

DEI is core to every business. We have to look at it that way. It’s no different from operations or finance for that matter. DEI is extremely important because it touches and has an impact on the bottom line.

Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?

Hiring someone like me to be a representative of this very important initiative can help an organization make a significant social impact.

We’re really working on making a big social impact both internally and externally. We’ve developed employee resource groups, which are extremely important because they give team members a voice and help Modivcare determine how we need to move forward by taking into account different perspectives and different represented groups.

Modivcare is formulating a Diversity Council that will govern the many initiatives that the DEI team is developing for the organization.

The Modivcare Foundation is a huge piece of what we’re trying to do socially. It’s important that we not only serve our internal team members, but it’s also important that we have a major stake in the ground where we’re headquartered in Denver by reaching out and supporting the community.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

There are a lot of issues at play, but one of the organizations that we have partnered with and will continue to partner with is Goodr. They are fighting food insecurity.

We’ve also partnered with a couple of Chambers of Commerce. We partner with the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, as well as the African American Chamber of Commerce of Atlanta to help us make sure that we have diverse suppliers, a solid footprint in the communities that we serve and that we’re doing right by those communities.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

Leadership is not really about how much you know, but it’s about what you’re willing to give of yourself to make sure that folks feel empowered.

I hope Modivcare team members can come to the workplace as their authentic selves. And I want to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to optimize their talents.

I want to ensure that I’m doing right by the people that have chosen to follow me. And I want to make sure that I’m providing the right guidance and direction to ultimately get them where they need or want to be. My goal as a leader is to help everyone realize their true potential.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I believe DEI is an aspect of a movement that will help the greatest number of people, so companies must get it right.

My team is helping to impact the DEI cause at Modivcare. We hired in a very strategic and intentional way to ensure that our DEI program meets the needs of our entire organization, not just specific business units or functions of the business.

We’ve also implemented DEI training and education to make sure we’re not just talking about DEI, but to help ensure the organization is truly educated on what DEI means in general and what it means for Modivcare. Modivcare’s talent management and recruitment team helps us with those efforts from a human capital perspective to ensure that we have a diverse workforce that reflects the clients in the communities that we serve.

Then there’s the community piece, which is absolutely critical. We have an individual on the DEI team focused on community efforts and making sure that we are partnering with organizations to better us as an organization.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

To whom much is given, much will be required. Luke 12:48

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I would say President Barack Obama. Hearing his life story and how he grew up and became the President of this great nation. Doing all that while being the person he is, a Black man. I would just love to pick his brain and learn how he overcame some of the many obstacles that he faced. How he overcame those obstacles with so much grace.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

They can join me on LinkedIn or read my articles on the Modivcare blog.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

Social Impact Heroes: Why & How Nate Vaughn of Modivcare Is Helping To Change Our World was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.