CHAPEL HILL, N.C.  – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) has been named to the Top 50 Companies for Executive Women by the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE).  This is the first time that BCBSNC has been named a NAFE Top Company, which serves as a national benchmark for corporate America.
The Top 50 awards recognize companies with a strong representation of women in leadership, including executive positions, board seats and jobs responsible for corporate financial performance.
Companies are also evaluated on advancement opportunities for woman and programs promoting work-life balance.   Women in senior management at BCBSNC include Maureen O’Connor, executive vice president, general counsel and chief strategic officer; and Fara Palumbo, senior vice president of Human Resources. 
Three women serve on the BCBSNC Board of Trustees– Andrea Bazán, president of Triangle Community Foundation, Roberta B. Bowman, senior vice president and chief sustainability officer at Duke Energy Corporation and Cissie Stevens, retired UNC-Asheville education administrator.

“Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is deliberate in its efforts to advance the careers of women.  We believe great customer service starts with selecting an excellent workforce representing the diversity of our state, and helping our employees meet their personal and career goals,” O’Connor said.  “We’re particularly pleased to be honored for the accomplishments of our women employees, who excel in jobs in all business areas and key leadership positions across the company.”
NAFE assesses corporate programs and policies dedicated to promoting gender equality in the workplace.   
BCBSNC’s key talent identification program, Blue Exchange mentoring program, Women's Employee Network (WEN) and leadership development program are initiatives that demonstrate the company’s commitment to helping women excel in their careers.    
NAFE will honor BCBSNC and other Top Companies at a luncheon in New York City on March 25.   The number of women in jobs responsible for corporate financial performance at the NAFE Top Companies has reached 26 percent, significantly more than the 11 percent at Fortune 500 companies as counted by Catalyst.  At 13 of the NAFE Top Companies, women run a third or more of billion dollar-plus operations. When it comes to board membership, women at the NAFE Top Companies occupy 23 percent of seats, compared to the Fortune 500's 15 percent.      
About The National Association for Female Executives:
The National Association for Female Executives (NAFE), founded in 1972, serves 20,000 members nationwide with networking, tools and solutions to strengthen and grow their careers and businesses. NAFE magazine publishes the annual Top Companies issue and the annual Women of Excellence issue. provides up-to-date information, community for women in business and access to member benefits. NAFE is a division of Working Mother Media and Bonnier Corporation.    
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a leader in delivering innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.7 million members, including approximately 900,000 served on behalf of other Blue Plans. For 77 years, the company has served its customers by offering health insurance at a competitive price and has served the people of North Carolina through support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Access BCBSNC online at