Cornell Tech announced Nov. 7 that Denise Young Smith, Apple vice president of inclusion and diversity, will become the new executive-in-residence at Cornell Tech in January 2018.
One of the most prominent African-American female executives in Silicon Valley, Smith’s 20-year career at Apple includes leading human resources and most recently overseeing the company’s global effort for an inclusive and embracing culture and workforce. As executive-in-residence, Smith will work with students to build an early career-stage awareness of inclusive leadership and diverse talent.
“Denise Young Smith is an extremely accomplished executive, and one of the tech industry’s leading voices on inclusion and diversity. We’ve been working with Denise for several months and have seen firsthand how effective she is with our students. We are thrilled that she chose Cornell Tech to launch a broader effort to enhance diversity across the tech sector,” said Dan Huttenlocher, the Jack and Rilla Neafsey Dean and vice provost of Cornell Tech. “Reinventing the way we work in the digital age begins with fostering an inclusive environment, and Denise’s approach to training the next generation of leaders is pioneering.”
Said Smith: “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. 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.”
This past September, Cornell Tech welcomed Smith for this year’s first “Conversations in the Studio” session, where leaders share their thoughts and insights with a group of students.
Smith will be Cornell Tech’s second executive-in-residence. Judith Spitz, formerly a Verizon CIO, the inaugural executive-in-residence, formed the Women in Technology Entrepreneurship in New York (WiTNY) program in 2016 and later became full-time program director.
“We’re thrilled to have Denise on board to expand Cornell Tech’s commitment to a more diverse pipeline of tech talent,” said Spitz. “Creating the WiTNY program was an incredible start, and building a framework for educating the next-gen workforce about inclusive leadership in technology is crucial.”
Smith’s work with Cornell Tech will be a natural extension of her passion for leading diversity initiatives and positively impacting the next generation of business and tech leaders and entrepreneurs. As New York City’s tech hub, Cornell Tech attracts students from across the globe, growing the tech community and inspiring broader impact.