Manika M. Turnbull, Ph.D.


Manika M. Turnbull, Ph.D.

Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, Center for Diversity & Inclusion

Health Care Service Corporation

Chicago, IL

Age: 38



Raised by her single father, Manika Turnbull was so good at basketball that she captained the NCAA Division I women’s basketball team at James Madison University. “Basketball was a means to an end for me when it came to education. My father said, ‘I gave you athletic ability’ — he was/is an incredible athlete — ‘I need you to use your athletic ability to get an education,’” Turnbull recounts. “I initially wanted to get into clinical psychology, but an opportunity came up that put me on the corporate track.” 


Turnbull obtained a psychology degree from James Madison on a basketball scholarship, and a master’s in industrial/organizational psychology and Ph.D. in organizational leadership from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, where she serves on the board of trustees. In 2006, the corporate track led her to Health Care Service Corp., the parent of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. She now is a vice president and chief diversity officer at the company. “Over the past ten years, I’ve had wonderful opportunities that put me in a position to pursue and achieve various leadership roles, to take risks by stepping out of my comfort zone, and lead teams responsible for significant business outcomes.” 


Recognized for her executive leadership, Turnbull is a member of United Way Women’s Leadership Council and a board member of Facing History and Ourselves, an organization devoted to eliminating racism and prejudice, and Playworks Illinois. “I’m a true believer in things happening for a reason. Growing up with divorced parents was very hard, but over the years I learned not to feel sorry for myself.  Instead, I focus on the blessings I have received.  Being raised by a single father was a blessing all of its own; the experience has made me the person I am today,” she says.