Excellus BCBS appoints first female IT director

Cindy Langston has been appointed Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, the largest not-for-profit health insurer in upstate New York. Langston is the company’s first female chief information officer in its 87-year history.

“Cindy is an experienced and strategic leader with a proven track record of building high performing teams and driving results,” said Jim Reed, CEO and President of Excellus BCBS. “She is also extremely generous with her time and service to our community.”

“Anyone who knows Cindy is probably not surprised that she crossed that barrier in our company, as the very first female CIO,” he added.

In his new role, Langston is responsible for providing a new technological base, developing industry-leading capabilities and preparing the organization with the talent and technology needed for the future.

Langston holds a BA in Computer Technology from Purdue University, and an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management.

She also has more than
30 years of experience in the field of information technology and consulting. She has worked for Dow Corning Corporation, Aon Hewitt, Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, in addition to her time as a consultant.

Langston’s leadership journey has taken her across the world. For example, she spent 10 years as an international consultant leading large global IT implementations in Australia, Japan, England, Singapore, Scotland and South Korea.

In 2014, Langston started at Excellus BCBS as Vice President of Information Technology. Three years later, she was promoted to the head of the Analytics & Data division as Chief Analytics Data Officer.

“Cindy impressed us with her ability to step out of her comfort zone and lead in an area that was not so familiar to her,” said Reed.

Langston also mentors and coaches many people and leads the Excellus BCBS Women’s Leadership Group, which engages passionate women to invest in their advancement and that of other women leaders.

Langston is quick to note that her leadership journey began 40 years ago when she was a teenager in Chicago working for her first job at a fast food restaurant. It was there, while working on the line of fries, that she accidentally discovered her “Golden Fry” leadership rule.

Her boss once said, “I need you to take a broom and bring it into the dining room,” and she did as she was told. But she never forgot her reaction when she handed him the broom. he had wanted her sweep the dining room. Instead of expressing his intention, he looked at Langston in disgust and called her out with an unflattering name.

“This is where I swore I would never, ever act this way towards my future employees,” she said. “Respect would also be of the utmost importance to me. I have since kept my Golden Fry rule.

Langston serves the community of Rochester in a variety of ways, including serving as chairman of the board of directors of the YWCA of Rochester and Monroe County; member of the Women’s Leadership Council of United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes; and past chair of the YWCA Racial Justice Committee and Stand Against Racism events.

“I believe in developing strong women and have had a lot of opportunities to work on them with three daughters and five granddaughters,” Langston said. “You don’t see a lot of women in STEM, so I always try to encourage, coach and train women to think about some of these disciplines. ”

Langston attributes her success to her faith and the support of her husband and family. “I am touched and grateful for this opportunity,” added Langston. “I hope my statement being a female CIO here at Excellus BCBS is that anything is possible.”


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