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This has been a year marked by a pandemic, civil unrest, rising unemployment and political turmoil alongside rapid medical, scientific and technological advancements previously unimaginable as recently as February 2020 — all of which, taken together, have both exposed frailties in society writ large and contributed to a clear sense of purpose to create a more accessible, cost-effective and equitable health care system for all.

“This period has accelerated the need to adapt and reimagine what is possible with and for the people we serve,” says Brian Pieninck, CEO of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. “Our experiences in 2020 have exponentially expanded what it means to transform, while opening new possibilities, and affirming that we need to increasingly operate with a future-ready mindset.”

Health Evolution asked CEOs to share their takeaways from 2020 and found leaders in violent agreement with Pieninck about reimagining the possible, driving transformation, advancing equity and building health care into a more resilient system.

During the past 12 months, increasing diversity and striving to achieve health equity have become an important part of that transformative mindset. One of many examples: The Hospital for Special Surgery added Diversity and Gratitude to its core values of Excellence, Innovation, Integrity, Passion and Teamwork, according to HSS CEO Lou Shapiro.

“Highly talented and dedicated people have boundless capacity for ingenuity and resilience; purpose focuses that for impact, but also inspires humility,” Shapiro said. “The magic is that humility inspires gratitude and that, in turn, fuels purpose.”