Flora M. Castillo, C.H.I.E

Advisory Board Member

Ms. Castillo is Vice President of Corporate Marketing at AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies, the largest family of Medicaid Health Plans in the United States headquartered in Philadelphia.  A creative and innovative executive with more than 19 years of health care and managed care experience, Ms. Castillo brings a wealth of expertise in marketing, sales, public relations, business development, coalition building, community relations and outreach to AmeriHealth Mercy. In this capacity, she leads a team that provides marketing services and develops creative integrated marketing and communications strategies to support membership and corporate program goals.  She leads national marketing efforts for The Healthy Hoops Asthma Health Education and Management Program that has expanded into 8 cities in five states.   Ms. Castillo assists with customer and business development initiatives and fosters relationships with strategic national partners and key stakeholders. In addition, she is a member of the government relations team and leads the company’s grassroots advocacy program in Pennsylvania that supports legislative goals.  Her leadership with the advocacy efforts has led to successfully defeating a pharmacy carve-out proposal for the last 4 years.

Prior to being promoted to her current role, Ms. Castillo served as Associate Vice President of Public Affairs and Marketing for Keystone Mercy Health Plan, a managed care company headquartered in Philadelphia. She led a team of marketing and public affairs staff that developed and implemented marketing campaigns and outreach programs to increase membership and market share, and to foster ties with local communities, healthcare providers and its more than 279,000 members in the Southeast HealthChoices service area.

She led the company’s faith-based signature wellness program, The Health Ministry Program for Women, which seeks to increase health awareness and improve the quality of life for women of color throughout the Delaware Valley region.  For the last seven years, this program has touched the lives of more than 50,000 women yearly.  Ms. Castillo managed the company’s Health Education Outreach Advocacy Committee that advises and ensures the provision of adequate health education materials, activities and programs for the members of KMHP. Under this committee, she led the implementation of the Consumer Advocacy Strategy, to help secure $59 million in additional funding for Health Choices in FY 04.  Additionally, she led national corporate efforts in business development, marketing, fundraising and sales.

Prior to joining Keystone Mercy, Ms. Castillo worked for PHS Health Plans (formerly First Option Health Plan) in New Jersey, where she served as Manager of Community Outreach.  In this role, she developed and coordinated all outreach and marketing activities for its Medicaid, Medicare and NJ KidCare programs in order to promote PHS and retain market share.  In addition, Ms. Castillo served as Regional Marketing Sales Manager for First Option Health Plan in New Jersey, where she developed eight regional counties that accounted for 45 percent of First Option’s membership within two years.

Committed to the communities where she lives and works, Ms. Castillo serves as a member of the board of directors of the Greater Philadelphia Health Action, Inc.  At the national level, she serves on the board of the National Urban Fellows and the American Health Insurance Health Plan’s Executive Leadership Program and Minority Management Program taskforces; and the Medicaid Health Plans of America’s Marketing Committee.

In addition to her responsibilities at AmeriHealth Mercy, Ms. Castillo has served as a member of the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors since 1999.  At that time, she was recognized for her community and civic work and was appointed to the NJ TRANSIT Board by New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman – making her the first Latina and the youngest member to serve on the Board.  She has been reappointed by three more Governors and currently chairs the Board’s Customer Service and Administration committees, overseeing an annual budget of more than $3 billion and 10,500 employees.  NJ TRANSIT is the nation’s largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 895,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 164 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.

During her tenure at NJ TRANSIT, Ms. Castillo has worked diligently to ensure quality service for NJ TRANSIT customers, including increased seating capacity, cleaner trains and buses and new equipment, and she played a key role in enhancing customer amenities for new multilevel rail cars that NJ TRANSIT has been placing into service on its busiest rail lines.  Ms. Castillo has championed multilingual communications to reach New Jersey’s diverse population.  She has also been instrumental in the advancement of the $8.5 billion Mass Transit Tunnel which will double rail capacity into New York.  She was the driving force behind placing smaller-sized buses on some Atlantic County routes in response to customer and community feedback and has overseen the startup of a number of key transportation projects, including the planning and opening of the River LINE.  Most recently, she has supported construction of the Pennsauken Transit Center, which will offer convenience and new travel options to South Jersey rail customers by directly linking the River Line with the Atlantic City Rail Line.

Ms. Castillo has played a vital role in initiating programs that are customer-focused and designed to reach minority riders, inspiring innovative and strategic marketing campaigns to generate ridership for NJ TRANSIT’s River LINE and Hudson-Bergen Light Rail systems.  The materials include bilingual promotional and educational materials and enabled NJ TRANSIT to better reach targeted audiences such as the Hispanic community.

In 2003, she launched the Corporation’s first-ever Transit Academy Workforce Awareness and Readiness Program, formed to expose high school students and young adults to the different career opportunities within the transportation industry.  This unique program helps those who become interested acquire the underlying skills to successfully compete for and secure these jobs. She believes that the transportation field must be at the table when these students finish college and select career paths and, to date, more than 400 high school students have participated in the program with a number of those students beginning their careers with NJ TRANSIT.  She has reactivated the New Jersey chapter of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO).  A champion for minority and women employees, Ms. Castillo helped develop programs honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Women’s History Month and Hispanic Heritage month.

Ms. Castillo saw the need to get more minority and women-owned businesses interested in working with and for NJ TRANSIT.  Her push led the Executive Director to create the position of Chief of Diversity which has now been elevated to Vice President of Diversity, a direct report to the Executive Director.  A nationally renowned expert was hired and has implemented a detailed plan to attract more minority and women-owned businesses to work for NJ TRANSIT.  She also is a strong advocate for ensuring that the manufacturers and contractors that NJ TRANSIT works with have minorities and women represented in their ranks.

Ms. Castillo’s motto of paying it forward is evident by her continued commitment of giving back, serving at the national level on the boards of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), American Public Transportation Foundation and a member of APTA’s Presidential Search Taskforce.  She is past member of APTA’s Executive Committee and just completed a 3 year term as the Vice Chair of Transit Board Members serving as the voice for board members across the transportation industry. She served as member of APTA’s Workforce Blue Ribbon Panel, APTA’s Governance Taskforce, CEO’s Compensation Committee and Legislative Committee.   Locally, Ms. Castillo is a member of Board of Directors of the NJ Chapter of Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO), AtlantiCare Health Services, Latinas United for Political Empowerment (“LUPE”); and The Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) Advisory Board at Rutgers University.

Ms. Castillo was inducted into the Atlantic Women’s Hall of Fame 2010 Class for her leadership in government and public service.  In 2008 she was named “Top 10 Women in Transportation” by Metro Magazine and selected as Hispanic Business Magazine’s “100 Influential’s” List for 2007.  Hispanic Business Magazine cited Flora’s distinguished commitment to customer service as the factor that earned her a place on this year’s Influential’s List.   In 2006, the Philadelphia Business Journal selected Ms. Castillo as one of the Delaware Valley’s Top 40 under 40 young professionals.  Additionally, she is the recipient of numerous community service awards including Atlantic County’s Top 40 under 40 Award, WTS Woman of the Year, COMTO’s Emerging Leader of the Year Award, El Diario La Prensa Latinas Destacada Award, the NJ Department of State, Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission Triumph Award, Women Making A Difference Award, Hispanic Alliance of Atlantic County Service Award, JAYCEE of the Year and Kiwanis International Community Key Award.

Born and raised in El Salvador, Ms. Castillo immigrated to Long Island, NY in 1981 and resides in Ventnor, New Jersey.  She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from Long Island University in Southampton, NY.  She is a graduate of the Christine Todd Whitman Excellence in Public Services Series and The Leadership, Inc. Program of Philadelphia.  She was awarded the Certified Health Insurance Executive (“CHIE”) designation from the America’s Health Insurance Plans Foundation’s Executive Leadership Fellowship Program making her one of only 400 national fellows to earn such designation.