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Senior Corporate Director, Integrated Health and Global Medical Director
Cisco Systems Inc.
San Jose, Calif.
Prior to joining Cisco, Dr. Pamela A. Hymel worked for a year as senior vp of Sedgwick CMS and completed 16 years of employment with Hughes Electronics Corp., where she last served as vp of human resources, medical services and HR systems. Dr. Hymel is board certified in both internal medicine and occupational medicine and is a Fellow of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Dr. Hymel is on the Board of Directors for both the National Business Group on Health and ACOEM.
Q: What advice would you give young women entering the industry today?
A: "My primary advice is to follow your passion. It makes the day-to-day activities even more fulfilling. One of the main reasons I entered preventive medicine was because I wanted to help improve the health and well-being of employees by encouraging them to take better care of themselves in order to prevent chronic disease. Being passionate about the end goal helped me to be creative by taking the seemingly mundane tasks of setting up benefits and health management plans and integrating them into an overarching employee health program."
Q: Who has had the greatest influence on your career and why?
A: "One of my greatest mentors was Sandra Harrison, the senior vp of HR at Hughes Electronics. Sandra was my boss for the last six years I was at Hughes and was a mentor who has now become a friend. She pushed me to improve my leadership skills and encouraged me to continue learning in this area. She gave me the opportunity to manage diverse areas of human resources, such as pension and payroll, while also allowing me to continue working with in leadership positions with outside organizations."
Q: If you had the ability to change one thing about the industry what would it be?
A: "I would like to see more integration between the various employee benefits products (health insurance, disability management, disease/lifestyle management), with an overriding focus on prevention and returning a person to full functionality. Currently, we have too many unconnected individuals trying to drive care for an ill or injured patient. This makes the patient experience both fragmented and frustrating. If we could have one individual focused on care management for both the health and disability sides of the business, with an emphasis on educating the person how to proactively manage his or her health, we would see improved outcomes across the lines of business."
Business Insurance's report on "Women to Watch" is our attempt to identify some of the women who are leading change in commercial insurance, risk management, employee benefits and related fields.