Mary M. O’Hara

Chief Human Resources Officer & Senior Vice President of Internal Communications
Blue Shield of California

Mary O’Hara is Chief Human Resources Officer & Senior Vice President of Internal Communications at Blue Shield of California, a 4-million-member nonprofit health plan serving the state’s commercial, individual and government markets. She is responsible for the overall people strategy for Blue Shield and its 7,000 employees across California, and heads Internal and Executive Communications and Events to execute meaningful people and engagement strategies. O’Hara also is a member of the Chief Executive Officer Direct Leadership team, contributing expert strategies and solutions, including an enterprise human capital plan enabling strategic goals.

O’Hara is a distinguished talent expert and global HR executive advisor to boards, Chief Executive Officers and senior teams. She is a recognized thought leader of systemic change through people strategies that advance culture and position organizations distinctively. Under her leadership Blue Shield has been recognized as top regional company for diversity and inclusion by DiversityInc., and as a best company for women’s advancement by Parity.Org in part due to achieving pay equity across gender and ethnicity in jobs with similar responsibilities and scope. Blue Shield has also been recognized as a Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion, with 100% rating on the Disability Equality Index.

Joining Blue Shield in 2013, O’Hara has grown her stellar success record with over 25 years of experience leading award-winning talent and development strategies across large enterprises in many sectors. Prior to Blue Shield, she spent seven years as Senior Vice President of Human Resources with the Toronto-based TD Bank Financial Group preceded by 10 years as Vice President to Bell Canada Enterprises.

She sits on the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business Corporate Advisory Board and their Center for Effective Organizations. She is a board member of Altais (chairs their compensation & HR committee).

O’Hara earned a Master of Arts in Organization and Leadership Studies from Royal Roads University in Victoria, Canada, where she completed her major research in diversity and inclusion. She has a certificate in Transformational Neurocoaching and is a Certified Human Resources Professional. She has studied at Humber College of Applied Arts and Technology, University of Southern California, Queen’s University, and the University of Toronto. Numerous awards of distinction include:

    • “Champion of the Year in 2018,” Out and Equal – Work Place Advocates
    • “Forever Influential,” San Francisco Business Times in 2018
    • “Brandon Hall Bronze Award for Talent Practices (2018) & Leadership (2017)”
    • “Brandon Hall Gold Medal for Best Advancement in Leadership Development (2017 & 2015)”
    • “Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business 2017, 2016 & 2015,” San Francisco Business Times
    • “Women of Achievement Award for Distinction in Business,” Legal Momentum in 2017
    • “Most Powerful & Influential Women Award,” Northern California Diversity Council in 2016

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