Quita Beeler Highsmith


Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, Genentech

At Genentech Quita Highsmith was selected as the first Chief Diversity Officer in the 46-year history of the company and reports to the CEO. She is responsible for enterprise-wide strategic initiatives that drive business impact by investing in commercial efforts, stakeholder engagement, research innovation, and community relations.

Outside of Diversity and Inclusion knowledge, Ms. Highsmith brings brand marketing, business development, and a global leadership perspective. Prior to becoming the CDO, she held leadership roles in Commercial and Government Affairs of several companies (Genentech, Sanofi, Aventis) where she impacted and improved revenues. Because she recognized the need to diversify clinical research, she co-founded Advancing Inclusive Research®, an initiative to embrace equitable access.

Ms. Highsmith is routinely requested to address members of Congress, speak at national and international forums, and give media interviews with both large and small outlets. She has also co-authored several publications regarding health disparities in peer-reviewed journals. In 2022, she was chosen by Savoy Magazine as one of the Most Influential Black Executives in Corporate America and selected as an Elite 100 by Diversity Woman’s Magazine.

Ms. Highsmith received both a Master of Business Administration Degree and an Advanced Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University, and her undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky.

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This Speaker's Sessions

Town Hall
Wednesday Oct. 12
3:30–4:15 PM
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Beyond Contemplating the Challenge of Inclusion in Clinical Trials

Clinical trials have traditionally fallen short when it comes to including people who are truly representative of the Alzheimer’s population. Recently successful efforts, however, are dispelling myths about the inclusion challenge. For example, among the 389 participants in the Evaluating Minority Patients with Actemra (EMPACTA) study approximately 84% were from Black, Hispanic, Native American, and other historically underrepresented groups. Key Question: What strategies successfully recruit, enroll, and retain participants who represent all of Us, especially those disproportionately affected?

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