Employee Voices

Acting on Our Values to Create an Inclusive Culture

As a leader for the BE ERG, Roosevelt Watts Jr. inspires and empowers his colleagues and community through diverse cultural experiences.

Read time: 4.5 minutes

No matter what role Roosevelt Watts Jr. plays, he’s driven to help others thrive. He’s an artist, playwright and actor who appears on stages across the country. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran with 25 years in the healthcare industry. A proud father who mentors young African American men in his Phoenix community. And since 2009, he’s brought all aspects of his experience together to help his colleagues succeed at McKesson.

“My motto is to educate, inspire and empower,” he says. “I want to be impactful and serve a purpose.”

He’s found a strong sense of purpose in his current role with CoverMyMeds, a McKesson company that assists people in getting the medications they need. As part of the employee impact group, he uses his artistic talents and technical expertise to keep his colleagues at the patient support center informed and engaged through creative multimedia communications.

“This work is close to my heart,” he says. “Through my previous career experiences on the insurance side, and with the disparities I see when volunteering in underserved communities, I know how important it is for patients to have access to medications.”

Roosevelt strives to make sure his colleagues feel heard and empowered, so they in turn can serve those patients in need. It’s the same commitment that inspired him to become an active leader of the Black Excellence – Be Empowered (BE) employee resource group (ERG).

“I try to be a voice for African American employees across McKesson and make a difference in their experience,” he says.

His path to joining the ERG began in his previous role as a training instructor with the learning and development team. He was responsible for introducing thousands of new employees to the company’s culture and values. As part of his onboarding sessions, he encouraged new hires to participate in the extensive network of McKesson’s 11 ERGs and spoke about their influence in creating an inclusive workplace. While Roosevelt was active in serving his local community, he considered the values he wanted to demonstrate to his colleagues, too. That’s when he decided to play a key part in BE.

“It’s important to have groups like BE with people that look and sound like you who can support you,” he says. “But what’s great about the ERGs is we ultimately all come together. It shows that McKesson really cares about understanding diverse cultures.”

In 2018, he took on a regional cultural lead position with BE. He joined forces with local chapters across the western U.S. to highlight the many cultural, social and community service events the ERG hosts for its members, as well as professional development and networking opportunities.

It proved to be a significant year for Roosevelt. He received the company’s I2CARE/ILEAD Award for his leadership in integrating a large production platform for one of McKesson’s major pharmaceutical clients and upskilling hundreds of employees during the transition. He was honored to be recognized for embracing our company’s shared values by McKesson’s CEO and the chief commercial officer for CoverMyMeds.

“I’m an advocate for I2CARE and ILEAD,” he says. “I have fun trying to show those principles in action every day, because that’s what makes the impact.”

That’s why when he was asked to join BE’s national board in 2022, Roosevelt was thrilled to reach even more colleagues as the national cultural lead chair. Today, he collaborates with other board members to help the ERG reach its objectives and leads important recognition events such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Juneteenth, Kwanzaa and Black History Month.

While he’s passionate about everything he does, this year’s heritage month theme of “African Americans in the Arts” resonates with him on a deeper level. That’s because the arts have played a crucial role in creating the person he is today. Whether it was through music, visual art or poetry, the arts helped him find his voice as a young boy growing up in Louisiana. And when he discovered theater, it ignited a lifelong mission to use the arts as a vehicle for social change.

Roosevelt performing as a spoken word artist at Magellan Healthcare’s youth festival, My Life My Fest
Roosevelt performing as a spoken word artist at Magellan Healthcare’s youth festival, My Life My Fest.

“I call myself a community ‘artivist,’ or an activist using the arts,” he says. “I believe in the power of the arts to inspire and motivate people. It can change the world.”

During the month of February, BE will recognize the contributions of past and present African American artists and honor the significance of art across the African diaspora. Roosevelt is particularly excited to host dynamic events such as an open mic night. He views it as more than a showcase of his colleagues’ talents. It’s also a forum to strengthen connections among BE members and foster greater understanding through artistic expression.

“I think of the cultural lead position as a type of artistic outlet,” he says. “I look at how we can live and express our shared values from a cultural aspect to create a better environment for everyone.”

While he finds it fulfilling to give back, he also appreciates the personal and professional benefits he gains from being part of the ERG. BE enables him to expand his network and grow in his career.

“I’m learning and practicing managerial and leadership skills,” he says. “And it’s valuable to see African American executives across the company and connect with them as mentors who help me navigate through challenges.”

As he looks ahead, he’s excited to continue taking action through BE to advance diversity, equity and inclusion.

“We all come from different walks of life and have diverse perspectives,” Roosevelt says. “When we live our values, we create an environment where there’s balance and respect in how we interact with each other.”