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McKessons Jamie Horst watches environmental and social impact

McKesson's Jamie Horst watches environmental and social impact

 November 29, 2018

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Jamie Horst is the senior director of corporate responsibility for McKesson. She leads McKesson's community engagement work and is responsible for realizing the company's environmental and social impacts on the world and how McKesson is going to share that narrative.

Looking to the future

Jamie always has her eye on the future. Whether she’s coming up with more sustainable business practices or creating conversations on how to better patient safety, she understands that addressing difficult issues today can result in better outcomes tomorrow and for the future.

Having that foresight is vital in her role as senior director of corporate responsibility for McKesson. But it’s her compassion and dedication that make Jamie uniquely suited for the role. Using her experience in strategic management and community engagement, Jamie listens attentively to the concerns of stakeholders and customers. She doesn’t shy away from a tricky conversation if it means a better long-term solution. And she helps guide our programs and disclosures on everything from patient safety to eco-efficient transport.

A career journey towards corporate responsibility

Jamie's career started in finance and then moved onto supply chain. Jamie received an MBA in strategic management and organizational behavior and then went into internal strategy consulting.

"This work taught me that even the best strategy on paper is not going to execute itself. You need to have the right people aligned with every step of the process. You need strategies that get everyone moving in the same direction. The more I delved into these themes, the more I fell in love with the idea of helping to maximize potential," says Jamie.

Through the strategy work, Jamie did a project with a corporate foundation, and that opened up the door for her to work in this area full-time. Jamie explains that normally community engagement has strategic components, but it’s a little bit outside the core business operation. So Jamie feels like corporate responsibility brings these two spheres of strategy and community engagement together.

Working with a diverse team of people

Jamie's favorite part of her job at McKesson is getting to work with people around the world and asking difficult questions that help guide important conversations.

"It’s important for us to think about product and patient safety. It’s important to think about regulations and compliance. But we also need to think about our global, long-term impact. We need to consider what we’re doing as a company to advocate for the health of our patients and the health of the environment," explains Jamie.

A career of which to be proud

Jamie is proud that she and her team have been able to focus on what corporate responsibility means on a global platform. Jamie cites climate change as an issue everyone is facing together. And one of the primary topics stakeholders relate to her is eco-efficient transportation and operations.

"So being able to confront those challenges as a company, from a global standpoint, is really powerful," adds Jamie.

Jamie is also proud of McKesson's volunteer involvement. Every autumn since 1998, McKesson has done a signature event called Community Days which involves over 57% of its  employees in North America. Jamie explains that during Community Days, McKesson employees make care packages for cancer patients that include things like blankets for people going to infusion centers and notebooks with personalised messages.

"We regularly hear back from people that it brightened their day. To know that a stranger cared enough to take that time is meaningful," says Jamie.

Inviting others into the conversation

Jamie is most excited about McKesson's first materiality study, which it did in 2017. The study involved deep listening to multiple stakeholder groups. Jamie considered the perspectives of customers, suppliers, investors and community leaders and then asked them how they think McKesson are doing from environmental and social standpoints. Jamie then helped McKesson establish a series of actions based on the feedback.

"For me, that’s really exciting, because we’re getting external feedback. We want to invite others into this conversation. We want to be aware of potential blind spots. And we want to make sure we’re addressing the concerns of different groups of people," says Jamie.

Asking the big questions

According to Jamie, many McKesson customers and investors want to be informed about targets for more sustainable practices. "Science-based targets are part of the future of healthcare and something some of our customers are really interested in. How can we reduce emissions and consumption overall? It’s a big discussion and requires a lot of commitment and vision. Stakeholders and customers want to know what we’re doing to tackle those goals," says Jamie.

Jamie explains McKesson's response to these sorts of questions. "For many years, McKesson has been thinking about how to conserve resources and how to offer things like eco-efficient transportation. But it’s not enough to just say we’re trying to reduce emissions. We need to set targets and hold ourselves accountable if we want to be innovators. And discuss how we’re going to publish and meet those targets," adds Jamie.

Maintaining a healthy work/life balance

Jamie makes sure she maintains a healthy work/life balance for her own wellbeing. Her passion is mountain climbing - she's climbed a number of mountains in California, and in the North Cascades. Next year she would like to climb Cotopaxi (a volcano in Ecuador). Part of her daily routine is staying in shape for her next big adventure by doing ballet/barre and a lot of hiking with her dogs. Jamie has also recently returned to running, which she calls her "arch nemesis", because she understands that that solid base of health is vital to prepare her for her next trip.

Understanding the healthcare industry

Coming from a company that's involved in healthcare, Jamie believes most important thing a patient needs when it comes to better care is compassion.

"Healthcare is a system, and I get that. I understand the pressures and constraints of time. But we can always use more empathy throughout that system. When you find doctors who are truly invested in their patients’ outcomes, that makes a real difference," says Jamie.

Jamie's hope for the future of healthcare is a better emphasis on preventative medicine. Jamie believes that our culture tends to wait until things have gone too far before they are addressed. For example, we know we should get more sleep and know we need to drink more water but many of us don’t do it until we end up in a crisis. Jamie wishes people had more resources to choose that proactive approach, which is not just better for the individual, but for communities too.

"As much as we’re connected through technology these days, we’re also more isolated. As a society, there needs to be a sense of responsibility around the collective well-being of our communities," says Jamie. "I think the more we’re able to take care of one another, the better."

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