Premera Appoints Wilma Wallace to Board of Directors; Latest Move in Company’s Push to Broaden Leadership Perspectives

Wallace serves as REI Co-op’s Chief Diversity and Social Impact Officer, Chief Legal Officer

Mountlake Terrace, Wash., March 03, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Premera today announced Wilma Wallace, Chief Diversity and Social Impact Officer and Chief Legal Officer for REI, has joined its Board of Directors. Wallace will replace Connie Collingsworth, Chief Operating Officer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, whose term expires later this year.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Wilma to the Board,” said Jack Heath, Chair of the Premera Board. “Her legal and social justice background and expertise will further deepen Premera’s ability to fulfill its purpose of improving customers’ lives by making healthcare work better.”

“Since joining the Board in 2013, Connie’s strong leadership and legal prowess have been instrumental in shaping Premera’s success,” Heath added. “She has been an invaluable and passionate director, and we cannot thank Connie enough for her service.”

In September 2021, Wallace was named Chief Diversity and Social Impact Officer and Chief Legal Officer for REI. In this role, she leads the co-op’s legal division as well as its racial, equity, diversity, and inclusion work. Previously, she served as REI’s general counsel and corporate secretary. Outside of REI, Wallace serves on a variety of nonprofit boards for organizations focused on equity and human rights, including Camber Outdoors and Landesa. She received her law degree from the University of Virginia and bachelor’s degree from Brown University.

“Many long-standing health inequities exist because of poverty, structural racism, and discrimination. The Premera Board not only recognizes this but is also putting in the work needed to start making meaningful improvements,” Wallace said. “As a life-long advocate for social change, I’m honored to join a Board that is leaning in to make sure members have equitable access to quality, affordable healthcare.”

Over the past several years, Premera has sought to have leaders on the Board who bring distinct thoughts, perspectives, backgrounds and lived experiences. Other recent additions to the Board include Sophie Minich, President and CEO of Cook Inlet Region, Inc. (CIRI), and Bridget Frey, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Redfin, a technology-powered real estate company.

As President and CEO of CIRI, which is one of 12 land-based Alaska Native regional corporations, Minich is responsible for the development and implementation of CIRI’s corporate strategies, programs, policies, and procedures. She earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Alaska Anchorage. At Redfin, Frey leads the software engineering team, and has a passion for creating equitable opportunities for women in tech. She received a bachelor's degree in computer science from Harvard University.

Additionally, in 2021, the Premera Board approved two Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) topics as strategic corporate goals – health equity and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). The company has developed multi-year plans for both initiatives, which:

  • Address health disparities impacting members from historically marginalized communities and;
  • Ensure Premera is an organization of belonging where the culture integrates and reflects diverse perspectives, values, and beliefs.

“These have always been core values for Premera; however, as highlighted by the pandemic and recent social justice movements, striking inequities persist, particularly for the Black community,” said Jeffrey Roe, President and CEO of Premera. “Premera must lead from the top down, and this includes ensuring our Board and leadership reflect the makeup of the company and the communities we serve. In fact, half our Board is female. We are fortunate to have such a qualified and capable Board of Directors; their diverse voices and experiences will help us make lasting and impactful progress on our goals.”

To learn more about Premera’s leadership, visit

About Premera Blue Cross
Premera Blue Cross, a not-for-profit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association based in Mountlake Terrace, Wash., is a leading health plan in the Pacific Northwest, providing comprehensive health benefits and tailored services to more than 2.6 million people, from individuals to Fortune 100 companies. For more information, visit


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