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For Dana L. Holmes, resilience and faith are the hallmarks of a great leader

Dana L. Holmes (Photo credit: ©Charles Cherney Photography)

Dana L. Holmes is chief of staff in the office of the president at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL), where she leads strategic planning, budget coordination and multiyear business goals for the company. In her role, she also supports collaboration and communications across the five divisions in the Health Care Service Corporation and with key community stakeholders. She has served on several boards, including for the American Heart Association’s 2019 Heart Walk.

As a Black woman, what do you consider your superpower to be?

Grounding — the ability to design a clear path regardless of the challenge or opportunity. 

What key skills or qualities make you unique as an African American female leader?

Resilience; faith; the ability to respond vs. react; listening for understanding rather than to be heard.

What thoughtful piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

Be authentic and stand in your truth unapologetically. 

Why is it important for women of color to work in leadership roles and decision-making capacities?

Women of color have the unique skill combo of resilience and faith from our heritage. Instead of deflecting the negative term “bossy,” women of color should embrace it as leadership. Genetically, we are decision-makers who care for our families and ensure there is a way out of no way. We are naturally great partners.

What are three success habits you implement into your daily routine to maintain your success and peace of mind?

I wake up giving thanks. I ask for guidance. I plan the day. 

As a successful woman in business, what is your proudest achievement?

My reputation [and] operating from a place of excellence that drives people to seek me out when problem-solving is needed.