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Procurement Category Lead, Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare

Age: 26

Heritage: Dominican


Notable Accomplishments:

  • DECA State Competition Winner 2007

  • Nichols College Class President

  • Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Finance Shining Star Awards (2015 and 2016)

  • Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE) Award for mentoring women owned
    businesses on September 29, 2016

By: Alejandro Ramirez

As the procurement category lead, Stefany Cristal Mendez helps Harvard Pilgrim Health Care find suppliers for all their non-IT needs. She also focuses on increasing the work they do with minority-owned businesses each year.


“We always have to be thinking strategically,” said Mendez. The job requires a lot of “problem solving, creative thinking… and a lot of teamwork and collaboration with different departments.”


Mendez, born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Worcester, has been business savvy from a young age.


While a student at Worcester Technical High School, she became involved with DECA—an international association that organizes competitions for high school and college students interested in business, entrepreneurship, and marketing; in 2007, she and her classmates won a national competition. It was a revelation.


“That's when I knew I wanted to be in business,” she said.


She graduated from Nichols College, a business school in Dudley, MA, in 2013. There, she served as class president all four years, worked as a Resident Assistant, and double majored in marketing and international business. In 2016, she received an MBA in critical thinking from Nichols.


Harvard Pilgrim Health Care hired her in 2014 into its procurement department. Noticing that the company was “huge on diversity and inclusion,” she started representing the company at events they sponsored. 


She also became an active member of the company’s Latino Leaders in Action group.


“At Harvard Pilgrim, I learned that diversity and inclusion exists. I had no idea there was this whole movement to support minorities,” she said.  


Mendez is active in the Association of Latino Professionals for America and the Partnership, a leadership program for professionals of color. 


She’s also on the board of trustees for Nichols College. Mendez said she is not just the only Latina on the otherwise all-white board—at 26, she’s also the youngest.


Going forward, Mendez knows she wants to continue to be a professional role model for women and people of color.


“I speak to students and I tell them the sky’s the limit,” she said. “What drives me is… knowing that tomorrow those who have seen me become successful can be more successful than me.”

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