Denise Young Smith Steps Down as Apple’s VP of Inclusion and Diversity

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Denise Young Smith will step down from her role as Apple’s first Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity after less than six months, according to a report by Tech Crunch.

Young Smith, who has worked for Apple since 1997, was appointed to the position in May having previously lead in Apple’s Human Resources department. Many believe that her exit is due to the controversy she faced over comments she made about focusing on diversity of thought at the One Young World Summit in Bogota, Colombia. 

During the conference, she stated that

“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 or whatever because that means they’re carrying that around … because that means that we are carrying that around on our foreheads. […] There can be 12 white blue-eyed blond men in a room and they are going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation.”

The report, however, states that Young Smith was in talks with Apple CEO Tim Cook about her departure and replacement, who will be Christie Smith. Previously serving as a principal at Deloitte, Smith has experience in diversity and inclusion as well as talent acquisition.

Shortly prior to the announcement of her departure, Cornell Tech announced that Young Smith will become the new executive-in-residence in January 2018. An official statement from Cornell Tech states that “As executive-in-residence, [Young] Smith will work with students to build an early career-stage awareness of inclusive leadership and diverse talent.”

“I’m taking on this project because it will allow me to address the deep sense of urgency I feel to help evolve the thinking of our current and future tech leaders,”Denise Young Smith

“By instilling the value of true diversity and inclusion into Cornell Tech’s unique base of students and faculty, we will not only make an impact on the institution but also, and most important, on the next generation of leaders as they go out into the world.”

Young Smith is expected to officially begin her role at Cornell Tech in January of 2018

Kesi Felton

Communications Intern

Kési Felton is a junior Journalism major from Atlanta, Georgia.She currently serves as the Content Director for Her Campus Howard and the Director of Communications for the Howard University Student Association. In addition to writing her own personal blog, she has written articles for The Hilltop, Walker's Legacy and Pretty Girls Sweat, LLC. Through digital storytelling, Kési hopes to amplify the voices and stories of underrepresented communities, beginning with Black women.

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