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Recognizing the Strength of Diversity

Florida Blue North Region Market President Darnell Smith (left) joins Pat Geraghty and his wife at the OneJax Humanitarian Awards Dinner

Navigating through differences and promoting a stronger community is nothing new for Florida Blue's CEO Pat Geraghty.

 

Years before he came to Jacksonville, Geraghty chaired the board of a National Conference for Community and Justice (formerly National Conference of Christians and Jews) chapter in New Jersey - during and after 9/11. It was a volatile time in a country full of pain, anger, distrust and uncertainty; and as Geraghty puts it, he was in the epicenter of it all. His NCCJ chapter quickly brought people together to seek common ground and understanding, while recognizing the need for time to heal. It was just one of many experiences that has shaped who he is today.

 

Even as a child, Geraghty was immersed in his community, interacting with a wide variety of people from different backgrounds. His mother ran

 

a nonprofit, and he and his siblings volunteered regularly ― it was just part of his life growing up. "My parents provided great examples of giving back," he said. "I believe it is in the fabric of who we are. No one is better than anyone else. We should leave our communities better."

 

Today, his leadership at Florida Blue is paramount to the organization and to the Jacksonville region. The company partners on numerous initiatives to make the community stronger, including support for diversity and inclusion efforts through organizations like UNF's OneJax Institute, an interfaith organization dedicated to civility, understanding and respect.

 

Last year, Florida Blue dedicated significant funding to support OneJax Youth Programs, elevating awareness and understanding of differences among area young people. "Florida Blue's support for OneJax has been transformative, allowing us to expand our programming to engage more young people in learning to address bullying, bias and racism," said Nancy Broner, executive director emerita of OneJax, adding that Geraghty has been a valuable advisor and mentor to her and many others.

 

Florida Blue doesn't just look outside, according to its CEO, but is committed to ensuring diversity throughout the company. "We want to reflect the community we serve - whether that be military, diversity in gender, LGBTQ, minorities … we want to reflect our diversity at all levels," said Geraghty, adding that 75% of Florida Blue's Board is either female or a minority.

 

Honoring his efforts to bring people together and promote inclusion, OneJax named Geraghty its Humanitarian Award Winner in 2019. This year, he and his wife Inger chaired the virtual event. "Inger has been a great partner in all of our community involvement, whether that is something where I am the point or an organization where she is the point, like See the Girl, American Heart Association or Making Strides Against Breast Cancer," Geraghty said.

 

Florida Blue's partnership with UNF extends back to the 1980s and far beyond its involvement with OneJax. Past support has funded scholarships, community-health programs, the Florida Blue Center for Ethics at UNF, an Education Gallery at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Florida Blue Archives in the UNF library, and more. Geraghty said the relationship with UNF is important to Florida Blue. "It is one we cherish and hold close."