This week, Apple appointed its first-ever VP of diversity and inclusion and she just so happens to be a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and a graduate of Grambling State University.
Denise Young Smith will report directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook and will head up the company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. According to Apple’s most recent diversity report, the company is 69 percent male and 31 percent female and in the U.S. its racial makeup is 56 percent white, 19 percent Asian, 15 percent Hispanic and 9 percent Black.
A diversity role like this has not existed at the company since Jeffery Siminoff, who held a director role for diversity and inclusion there, left for Twitter in 2013. “Our inclusion and diversity efforts are critically important to Apple’s future,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement. “Denise’s years of experience, expertise and passion will help us make an even greater impact in this area.”
Denise Young Smith has been at Apple since 1997 and has held several key HR roles at the company including Vice President of Worldwide Human Resources and Talent. According to her LinkedIn profile,
“For over 10 years, she sat on the leadership team that built Apple’s retail organization, which now welcomes more than one million people every day. Apple stores have redefined the retail experience and their talented employees have become the face of Apple for customers around the world. Before retail, Denise ran HR for Apple’s Worldwide Operations and Corporate Employee Relations teams.”
Her LinkedIn also states that she is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. who graduated from Grambling State University in 1978 with a BA in Communications and Journalism.
Getting appointed this job is a big deal for all of us because it means that there is one more high-level Black woman in tech. The fact that she is heading the company’s diversity and inclusion makes this achievement even better because she has the power to open up the doors for more diversity in the tech and STEM space.
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