Meet Stephen Harris: A 2023 Men of Excellence Honoree

For 2023 Men of Excellence honoree Stephen Harris, the foundation of his success is building relationships, striving for excellence, producing quality outcomes and serving others.

It is a philosophy that has served him well throughout his career in healthcare leadership. Harris is president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL), where he is responsible for his company’s growth and financial stability.

However, serving others in his role is critical to his job.

“For more than two decades, I’ve had the great fortune to serve in leadership roles, but my work is not complete. I want to continue the important work of helping consumers and supporting communities in need by simplifying healthcare,” said Harris in a written statement to the Defender.

As head of the largest provider of health benefits in Illinois, serving over 8.9 million members across the state, simplifying healthcare means expanding access to affordable, quality care and helping to close gaps in healthcare while addressing issues around health equity.

“I am excited about the future, and I remain committed to making transformational changes by creating opportunities that will result in better health outcomes,” Harris wrote.

As with all of our Men of Excellence honorees, Harris also makes a significant impact outside of work.

Harris serves on the board of directors for Solera Health and is also the chairperson for the American Heart Association’s Heart of Chicago Campaign. He is also a member of The Economic Club of Chicago and was recognized by Crain’s as a Notable Leader in Health Care and Chicago United as a Business Leader of Color.

“I am honored to be selected by The Chicago Defender as a Men of Excellence honoree because of its rich legacy, influence, and importance to the African American community,” stated Harris. “Historically, The Chicago Defender has been a credible source for news, information, and events, and I have long admired its mission and advocacy. So, for me to be recognized as a Men of Excellence is a source of great pride.”

Mr. Harris will be among 50 honorees at the Chicago Defender Men of Excellence event on June 16, 6 p.m. at the Tinley Park Convention Center. For Tickets and Tables, please visit

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