Matthew Bennett is one of 13 up-and-coming health leaders featured in this annual Managed Healthcare Executive series.
Matthew Bennett, senior vice president of Evernorth Care Delivery at Cigna.
I grew up in upstate New York and always dreamed of studying abroad. After working two jobs at age 16 to earn enough money to make this dream (come true), I attended high school in the Dominican Republic and the Netherlands. I went on to attend Duke University, where I studied public policy and economics.
I started my career as the special adviser of strategy and planning for Plowshares Institute, an international nonprofit organization nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize. A few years later, I co-created and led The Purpose Project, a nonprofit designed to address the growing generation gap in the social sector.
Taking my passion for leading organizations through change from the nonprofit world to healthcare, I joined Cigna Medical Group (CMG). Over the past 11 years, I’ve held various leadership roles across strategy, technology, operations, clinical and care delivery.
Who has had greatest influence on your life?
I can honestly say my parents. They instilled in me the importance of a strong sense of self, humility, generosity, an open mind, a sense of curiosity and an orientation to learn. Individually, my dad gave me the gift of an analytical and problem-solving orientation, and my mom’s gifts were empathy and emotional intelligence.
Why did you pursue a career in healthcare?
I was drawn to healthcare because of the sector’s transformative nature, and because of its unique ability to improve and save lives. Although there is much to appreciate about the American healthcare system — scientific innovation and research, skilled care and passionate professionals — we also have a need and opportunity to do better. As a nation, we spend a tremendous amount of money on healthcare, yet achieve subpar quality outcomes.
Which career accomplishment has given you the greatest satisfaction?
I’m extremely proud of CMG’s response through COVID-19. Our team of 1,200 clinicians, staff and leaders came together with a laser focus on driving rapid change and innovation to ensure patients had ongoing access to care and services. As a team, we consolidated locations to concentrate resources and staff into our 14 largest centers, ensured an ongoing supply of PPE, launched a telehealth solution in five weeks and introduced same-day medication delivery to patients’ front doors. We also