HomeHealthcare InsuranceAn LGBTQIA+ Supplier Success Story

An LGBTQIA+ Supplier Success Story

Nick Lanzi didn’t always envision a career in marketing and communications. With an accounting degree from Penn State, he spent the first part of his career in finance, serving as CFO for one of the region’s largest direct marketing firms. His exposure to that industry sparked his interest in launching his own venture, Direct Choice, in 1995.

Nearly three decades later, he and his team have developed a specialized approach for meeting the demands of direct marketing for national and regional brands. Now, as a leader in the LGBTQIA+ business community, Lanzi sees the impact that investing in and working with diverse suppliers can have.

Working with Independence Blue Cross

Lanzi and his team have been doing business with Independence Blue Cross (IBX) for nearly two decades, focusing on digital, direct ad, and mailed marketing campaigns.

“My agency works on behalf of our clients to identify the ideal prospects to reach out to. Then, we create and deploy communications to get those prospects to take action,” Lanzi said. “With Independence Blue Cross, our work includes renewing individuals and groups and marketing Affordable Care Act and Medicare plans. Whatever their need is, we provide a solution.”

Both IBX and Direct Choice benefit from working together. Direct Choice’s flexible and enthusiastic talent helps IBX communicate with members effectively; and the cooperative partnership has helped Direct Choice gain clients in the industry.

“Having Independence Blue Cross on your list of clients is like gold because they are the gold standard, especially in the Philadelphia marketplace,” said Lanzi. “I’ve been able to attract other businesses as clients over the past 17 years because of our relationship.”

Shared Opportunities

The relationship between IBX and Direct Choice is rooted in shared ideals and a shared commitment to community. Benefitting more than just the two organizations, it has helped to advance others in the diverse-owned business community.

“My vendor partners enable me to provide Independence Blue Cross with high-quality and affordable products that we deliver on time,” explained Lanzi. “Not only does that make me look and feel really good, it also incentivizes Independence Blue Cross to give us more work — and that rolls downstream to my diverse vendor partners. So, it feeds the system.”

Integrating diverse suppliers into business models has helped IBX and Direct Choice strengthen the local economy, boost innovation, support the hiring of local talent, and better serve members and clients by increasing representation for traditionally underrepresented communities.

“I’m happy to say that nearly 25 percent of Direct Choice’s annual vendor spend is with women-, BIPOC-, veteran-, and LGBTQIA+-owned businesses,” said Lanzi.

At IBX and our subsidiaries, the supplier diversity program continues to grow, with $317 million spent with diverse suppliers in 2023, an increase of 13 percent since 2022.

Impact Beyond “Just Business”

Lanzi’s commitment to supporting other diverse businesses extends beyond his hiring of those suppliers. He also sits on the board of the Independent Business Alliance, which is the Philadelphia chapter of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce. Lanzi leverages that role to have a greater impact on LGBTQIA+ causes and services in the area.

“Independence Blue Cross supports the LGBTQIA+ community in a way I’ve never experienced before. They’re major sponsors of numerous organizations in the Philadelphia area and they really put their money where their mouth is,” Lanzi said.