Metro Women's Leadership Summit

Flora M. Castillo, C.H.I.E.

Flora M. Castillo, C.H.I.E.

A Certified Health Insurance Executive (CHIE), Ms. Castillo is a dynamic nationally recognized health care executive and transportation thought leader dedicated to improving individual's quality of life and building leaders at all levels through her public and private sector service that spans more than 25 years.

Reliable and dependable transportation is an important enabler of health care access and foundational to achieving self-sufficiency and optimal well-being, while lack of transportation access can create a barrier for treatment, aging in place and accessing needed wrap-around support services. No one knows this better than Flora, who has a unique understanding, perspective and practical experience of the nexus between health care and transportation and how critical it is for payers and providers to achieve both improvements of individual's quality life and better outcomes in patient management. This led Ms. Castillo to pursue her passions as President of Pivot Strategies, LLC, a health care, logistics and infrastructure consulting firm helping businesses, community health providers, public-sector clients and individuals create high quality customer-centered strategies and solutions that drive engagement, enable optimal well-being, support talent and board development, address social determinants of health and enhance smart mobility systems for individuals and communities.

Before starting Pivot Strategies, Ms. Castillo held executive leadership roles with some of America's leading health care insurance companies including her recently unique role as National Vice President of Transportation for UnitedHealthcare Community & State (UHC) myConnections™. UnitedHealthcare Community & State proudly serves over five million Medicaid members in 24 states, plus Washington D.C. UnitedHealthcare is a division of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) which is a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company with a mission to help people live healthier lives. She led UHC's first transportation service line and co-led an acquisition strategy that created a new line of business and achieved UHC's goal of being the first insurer to enter the 3-Billion Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) benefit management market. She is proud of the innovative quality transportation strategies, solutions and pilots that she created to address social determinants of health for members and high utilizers that led to improved access and engagement for housing, jobs, health, mental health services, food services and social support services.

In addition, Flora has served almost two decades as a senior policymaker and member of the Board of Directors at the New Jersey Transit Corporation. In 1999, she was recognized for her community and civic work and was appointed to the board by New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman - making her the first Latina and the youngest member. Three subsequent Governors have reappointed her. She chairs the Board's Customer Service Committee and is a member of the Safety and Administration Committees overseeing an annual budget of more than $3.5 billion and 10,978 employees. NJ TRANSIT is the nation's third largest statewide public transportation system linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia and providing more than 924,159 weekday trips on 261 bus routes, three light rail lines, 12 commuter rail lines and through Access Link paratransit service.

During her tenure, Ms. Castillo has worked diligently to helping to shape policy for thousands of daily transit riders - many who are transit dependent. She knows firsthand the value that reliable public transportation meant to her mother and the lifeline that is for so many of our customers, especially elderly, disabled, and poor people - many of whom would be stranded without it. An ardent transit advocate, Ms. Castillo has played a vital role in ensuring quality services for NJ TRANSIT customers, including championing development of a new scorecard to measure the quality service for customers, including seating capacity, cleanliness of stations, trains and buses, communication during service disruptions, and overall customer satisfaction. She's advocated for mobility integrated options, the expansion and adoption of new technologies such as myTix, Access Link Cashless Payment for transit dependent, mobility impaired customers and unbanked and underbanked fare payment programs. She has supported the implementation of important infrastructure projects and service reliability/resilience programs including two new light rail lines, the purchase of the groundbreaking multilevel rail cars, complete replacement of the statewide bus fleet and continued engineering for trans-Hudson capacity projects including new rail tunnels and an expansion of the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Flora's advocacy for diversity and inclusion led to the creation of a chief diversity officer role, establishment of a succession plan and enhanced strategies in support of small disadvantaged business enterprises. She launched the corporation's first-ever Transit Academy Workforce Awareness and Readiness Program, to introduce high school students to career opportunities within the public transportation industry. Now in its 14th year, the program introduces students to the careers available in the public transportation industry.

Ms. Castillo's motto of paying it forward is evident by her commitment of giving back, serving at the national level as the 2012-2013 first Latina elected chair of The American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the pre-eminent North American industry association of 1,500 public and private member organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed rail. In this role, she served as the spokesperson for the industry and led its 100-member board, 17-member executive committee and member systems that represent more than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada. During her yearlong service as Chair, Ms. Castillo's overarching theme of "It's All About the People," focused on workforce development, access to critical health services, transportation reauthorization, diversity and inclusion. One of her signature accomplishment include establishing the APTA Emerging Leaders Program, a national leadership program designed to retain and promote the next generation of leaders with a special focus on mentoring. The program, now in its sixth year, has benefitted 125 high-potential individuals across the U.S. She's served as a subject matter expert and collaborated with the Federal Transit Administration to advance and promote the Rides to Wellness program.

A servant leader, Ms. Castillo has an extensive record of paying forward and non-profit service, and has built strong, long-lasting relationships in the health care, public transit, government and non-emergent medical transportation sectors. She serves on the board of directors of Greater Philadelphia Health Action, Inc., United Way of Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, National Urban Fellows, LUPE PAC, Women's Political Caucus of NJ PAC and as honorary member of the American Public Transportation Association. She is an advisory board member of Measure of America, The Alan Voorhees Transportation Center, National Senior Campuses' Diversity, Inclusion and Sustainability Committee, and recently completed 4 years of service as a member of Women's Transportation Seminar board. Ms. Castillo was selected as an Open Streets Network of Champion, a national initiative of 8-80 Cities and 'Bringing Open Streets to America'; grant with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

She coaches and sponsors young professionals, women and minorities across the US, and has received numerous awards including The Women's Transportation Seminar Greater New York Chapter 2018 Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award; LUPE PAC 2017 Latina Pioneer Award; Conference of Minority Professional Officials 2016 Women Who Move The Nation Award; Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey Latina Trailblazer Award; Hispanic Business 50 Influentials; Philadelphia Business Journal Minority Business Leader Award; and Newark Regional Business Partnership Transportation Leadership Award. Metro Magazine recognized her as one of public transportation's Movers and Shakers and APTA honored her as the Outstanding Public Transportation Board Member for her contributions to the industry.

Born and raised in El Salvador, Ms. Castillo immigrated to Long Island, NY in 1981. She received her bachelor's degree in Management Business Administration from Long Island University in Southampton, NY. She is a graduate of the Christine Todd Whitman Excellence in Public Services Series; Leadership, Inc. Program of Philadelphia; and America's Health Insurance Plans Foundation's Executive Leadership Fellowship where was awarded the Certified Health Insurance Executive ("CHIE") designation from Program making her one of only 400 national fellows to earn such designation.

Getting Involved in Politics is Not Just for Elected Officials
The need for women to get more politically involved has never been greater but not everyone is interested in being an elected official. This session provides ways individuals can get involved in the political process without running for office. The role of fundraising, the power of PACs, State appointments, political lobbying and corporate support are just a few areas the panelist will touch upon. Discover practical ways you can show your support in politics.