TAYLOR_JAMES_BLACK_HERITAGE_MO_20220131-111-REPRO

About Me

It’s nice to meet you.

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit."

Hi there, I’m James E. Taylor. I grew up in Rochester, NY with the dreams of becoming a professional basketball player. Obviously, life had a different plan for me. I still have a passion for sports — I joke, if it’s a sport, I enjoy it. Although, if I had to choose, my favorites are basketball, football, and tennis. My music taste is also hard to nail down as I listen to just about everything! R&B to hip hop to classical to blues to jazz to a little 90s grunge and alternative, I’m all over the map. What I can be sure about are my hobbies — wine, sports, live music, and travel – enough said!

My Career

I’ve worked in healthcare for the entirety of my career. There were two critical occurrences that took place earlier in my life that provided me with the seat I’m privileged to have today, both of which are somewhat personal. The first, while in graduate school, I had an opportunity to conduct research in part on health disparities, but more so learning from the experiences of some of the most influential corporate leaders at the time. More specifically, I interviewed each of the Black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies – then, there were but three. Fast forward to today, nearly 20 years later, and there are only four with a peak of six in 2012. To my surprise, all three of these CEOs gave me time thanks to an influential mentor who phoned in a favor to each on my behalf. I was interested in learning two things from these industry titans. First, how did you ascend to the top of your respective organization? In other words, what was your career path to get to the corner office? Second, what cultural trade-offs or compromises did you make to ascend to the top of your organization? In short I was after, how much did you ‘sell out’ or shed your cultural identity to get there? It's through that research that I got increasingly curious about organizational culture and fit, particularly as it pertains to the role of diversity and inclusion in corporate settings.

The second occurrence involved a phone call that no one wants to receive. While in graduate school on the west coast, my father called one Saturday morning to make me aware that my mother had just suffered a severe stroke. Consequently, as a graduate student, I spent many weekends flying back and forth from San Francisco to Rochester, New York [where I’m from] to support my family as we wanted to ascertain that my mother received the best care imaginable. That experience, as emotionally trying as it was, heightened my awareness of the payer/provider relationship as well as my understanding of the nuances of health care management in a way that I hadn’t previously known.

I earned both a doctorate and master’s degree in Organizational Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University. I completed undergraduate studies at Ithaca College in New York, where I now serve on the Board of Trustees. I also have also received an executive leadership certificate from the Harvard Business School of Harvard University. 

Today, I’m fortunate to serve as both chief diversity and inclusion officer and chief talent management officer at UPMC, one of the nation’s largest academic medical centers and most successful integrated health care delivery and finance systems. In his capacity as chief diversity and inclusion officer, Dr. Taylor is responsible for the development and implementation of leading-edge diversity initiatives that differentiate UPMC. To this end, I execute next-generation inclusion strategies that advance the diversity management capability of UPMC, and its national presence as a health care provider and insurer. As chief talent management officer, I provide oversight to the design and execution of an integrated roadmap that provides UPMC with highly effective and technologically advanced employee learning, organizational development, succession planning, and consultative services aligned to the institution’s long-term priorities.

Prior to joining UPMC, I was chief learning and diversity officer at Carolinas HealthCare System. In this role, I was charged with driving the transformational culture of the organization through the development of products and services that improved its competitive position in the marketplace. I  also served as executive director, diversity strategy execution and workplace inclusion at Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation's largest not-for-profit health plans.

Speaking

Connecting with people, sharing stories, and trading advice has been crucial in my career navigation. I continually reflect on those lessons learned from the CEOs I interviewed while in graduate school. I still carry their stories and advice with me today, and I want to be sure that future generations have the same opportunities to glean insight from today’s  corporate leaders.

Recent Topics On My Mind

I am fascinated with culture; it’s what guides me. Read my thoughts on leadership, innovation, diversity and other relevant topics so that it can launch the conversation for others to join in as well.

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