Denise Young Smith 7 Facts about Apple’s former VP of Diversity

Denise Young Smith

Denise Young Smith, was until recently Apple’s diversity chief, however recent reports say she has decided to bow down from the top job.

Reports say, Denise will be leaving the company at the end of the year and she’ll be replaced by Christie Smith. Some sources believe her decision to leave Apple may have something to do with comments she made at the One Young World Summit in Bogotá, Colombia last month.

Prior to being named head of diversity and inclusion in May, Denise had been working for the Silicon Valley Company for two decades. Making her one of the most powerful and senior black executives in tech. Get to know her best in her top facts below.

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#1 She attended school in Louisiana

Denise Young Smith has a master’s degree in Organizational Management from Grambling State University in Louisiana.

#2 She joined Apple in 1997

Denise has served in a number of key roles at the company, most recently leading Human Resources for the company.

#3 She helped built Apple’s retail business worldwide

According to her Apple bio, Denise Young Smith ‘was part of the leadership team that built Apple’s retail business worldwide, which now welcomes more than one million people every day. Before retail, Denise ran HR for Apple’s Worldwide Operations and Corporate Employee Relations teams.’

#4 She is a management expert

Prior to Apple, she offered talent, HR and management consulting expertise to early-stage businesses including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers portfolio companies.

#5 She became the first VP of diversity and inclusion for Apple

Denise Young Smith was appointed Apple’s first VP of diversity and inclusion back in May, reporting directly to Tim Cook. Meaning she only lasted on the job six months.

#6 She faced criticism

Last month, Young Smith said to a panel in Bogota, Colombia: “Diversity is the human experience. I get a little bit frustrated when diversity or the term diversity is tagged to the people of color, or the women, or the LGBT.”

She went on to say “there can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blonde men in a room and they’re going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation.” The issue, Young Smith explains, “is representation and mix.”

Her comments were seen by some as insensitive and a week later she issued an apology.

#7 She already has a new job lined-up

Cornell Tech recently announced that Young Smith would become the new executive-in-residence from January to work with students to build “an early career-stage awareness of inclusive leadership and diverse talent.”