Home > PUM Black History Salutes: Kurt C. Small -Senior Vice President of Health Plan Operations- Highmark Health Services

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PUM Black History Salutes:  Kurt C. Small - Senior Vice President of Health Plan Operations, Highmark Health Services

Featuring Pittsburgh Leaders Who Inspire

PittsburghUrbanMedia.com proudly celebrates Black History Month this February 2014 by honoring and featuring African American Leaders who inspire and demonstrate a commitment to uplifting future generations. What makes a leader inspirational? The ability to inspire people to reach great heights of performance and success is a skill that leaders need. Passion, purpose, listening and meaning help make a leader inspirational.

As we celebrate Black History Month, the leaders featured during the month of February all demonstrate that they are significantly shaping the world – in business, government, academia, the non-profit sector and more.  They are advancing their influence exponentially by shaping and creating a new generation of leaders who are poised to help lead our world forward.

We hope their stories will serve as an inspiration to encourage others to be motivated and inspired to achieve their goals and dreams.

Kurt C. Small -Senior Vice President of Health Plan Operations-Highmark Health Services

Kurt C. Small is the Senior Vice President of Health Plan Operations for Highmark Health Services.

         Mr. Small is accountable for end to end service delivery in the Individual, Commercial and Senior Market business segments.  He currently leads the Operational Solutions, Operations Delivery, Operational Excellence and Senior Markets Teams which represent over 3,500 employees in Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia and serves 5.3 million members.

            Previously, Mr. Small spent a 16-year career at Aetna where he served in various leadership capacities.  Most recently, he worked as Vice President and Head of Claims and Provider Services where he was responsible for all service delivery to more than 1 million physicians, hospitals and health care professionals.

            Prior to joining Aetna, Mr. Small held customer service leadership positions with AT&T and Verisign.  He also worked as an Account Executive at Morgan Stanley.

            Mr. Small holds a Bachelor’s Degree from The College of William and Mary and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Yale University.  In 2010, Kurt was a board member for the Interval House, Connecticut’s largest non-profit domestic violence intervention and prevention organization.


 PUM:  What are you most proud of as a Black American and what you have been able to accomplish in terms of your career?

Mr. Small: I am most proud of the many contributions black Americans have made to America and the impact they have had on government, literature, American culture, and more recently business.  There is no doubt that black Americans from Maya Angelou to Martin Luther King Jr., have left a lasting impact on American society. 

It has only been in the past couple of decades that black Americans have had the opportunity to begin to impact and shape American business, and I’ve been fortunate enough to see the change that we can make first hand.  During my career, I have been fortunate to have great career opportunities, from the Senior Vice President of Health Plan Operations to the Head of Medicare Service Operations, which have afforded me the opportunity to work with some of the most talented men and women in my industry.  In fact, when I worked in a senior role at Aetna, I had the chance to work with Ron Williams, who at the time was only one of three black CEO’s leading a Fortune 100 company.  What I’ve enjoyed most was the chance to work to improve the service millions of Americans receive everyday as they fulfill their health care needs.  The many positive notes I have received from members and patients thanking my teams for the impact the service and products we deliver had on their lives makes me proud to be associated with thousands of talented employees during my career.

PUM: Why is Black History important to you and our world?

Mr. Small: Black history is an important part of American history which serves as both a recognition opportunity and learning opportunity for many members of our communities.  It also reinforces that all of us can positively contribute to society in many different ways. Recognizing the achievements of previous Americans can also inspire others to make significant contributions to the future of America.

PUM:  Any additional thoughts or comments about Black History?

Mr. Small: I also look at this month from the perspective of a father of three.  It’s important to me that they also understand the contributions of the people who came before us and the impact that they have had shaping America.  My dream is that they have even more opportunities to change the future and positively impact our society.





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