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.