Within the largest tech companies are a number of talented Black individuals making strides, countering the notion that these organizations are completely homogenous workplaces for white, male and Asian employees. Racial representation among Black leadership at all Big Five tech companies hovered well below 10 percent, and the few employees, even those situated in DEI roles, are unable to carry the torch for their company’s goals for more equitable representation.
However, The Plug has identified notable current and former Black employees from Big Five tech companies. Beyond name-dropping, the size of fiscal commitments and representation pledges have been brought into focus.
Black In Big Tech
Alicia Boler Davis: Vice President of Global Customer Fulfillment, Boler Davis is the first Black woman in the inner circle.
Gloria Goins: Senior Healthcare Business Leader, prior to her current role Goins drove sales among Black and Latinx users.
Latasha Gillespie: Head of Global DEI at Amazon Studios, Gillespie helps make sure products like Amazon Prime Video are made with representation in mind.
Angelina Howard: Senior Product Manager, Howard is the president of Amazon’s Black Employee Network and a Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree.
Howard L. Winns, Jr.: Senior Program Manager, Winns joined Amazon in 2018.
Jennifer Bates: Learning Ambassador, Bates is a union organizer at the Bessemer, Alabama fulfillment center.
Charlotte Newman: Head of Underrepresented Founder Startup BD, Newman is suing Amazon for sexual harassment and racial discrimination she faced at the company.
James A. Bell: Apple Board of Directors, Bell is the only Black person on Apple’s Board.
Barbara Whye: – Vice President of Inclusion & Diversity, Whye led a $300 million D&I initiative at Intel before joining Apple.
Brent Chapman: Apple Information Security, Chapman co‚Äëchairs Apple Veterans Association (AVA) and Black@Apple.
Chloe Seivwright: Machine Learning Engineer at Siri Knowledge U.K., Seivwright is a member of Black@Apple.
Bryan Johns: Senior Manager, Worldwide Developer Relations at Apple, Johns joined Apple in 1998.
Maxine Williams: Chief Diversity Officer, Williams is a former lawyer and Rhodes Scholar, who has worked at Facebook for nearly eight years.
Ime Archibong: Head of New Product Experimentation, Archibong is the only Black employee leading a product division at Facebook.
Oscar Veneszee: Strategic Partnership Manager (Diversity) at Facebook, Veneszee brought a lawsuit against the social media company for alleged discrimination against Black candidates.
Sharon Cooper: Manager HR Business Partner, Cooper joined Facebook in 2017.
Kayla Zapata Fory: Partner Solutions Manager at Instagram, Fory left a Ghana-based brand marketing find to join Instagram in 2017.
Fadzai Madzingira: Public Policy Manager, Content, Trust & Safety, Madzingira is based in the U.K. and previously worked with Facebook’s Policy Africa initiative on user access and research.
Roger W. Ferguson Jr.: Board of directors at Alphabet, Ferguson was on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors for nearly 10 years before joining Alphabet in 2016.
Robin L. Washington: Board of Directors at Alphabet, Washington also sits on the board of three other organizations, including Honeywell.
Melonie Parker: Chief Diversity Officer, Parker joined Google in 2017. Most of her career was spent at Lockheed Martin, her last role as director of human resources.
Toni Townes-Whitley: President, US Regulated Industries, Townes-Whitley leads sales across the U.S. and sets digital strategy.
Tareq Humphrey: Senior Global Partner Program Manager, Humphrey was an engineer at Boeing for more than 10 years before joining Microsoft in 2014.
Elliotte Dunlap: Chief Channel Officer, Financial Services, Dunlap’s 20+ year career includes an 11-year stint at IBM before he joined Microsoft 10 years ago.
Michael Dunner: Senior Technical Account Manager, Dunner has been with Microsoft for 22 years and is an active member of Black at Microsoft (BAM).
Amma Kwateng: Senior Product Marketing Manager, Azure Marketplace, Kwateng joined Microsoft in 2011 as a financial analyst.
Bambo Sofola: General Manager – Azure Global Emerging Markets, Sofola has worked at Microsoft for nearly 30 years, most of that time was spent as a partner director.
Rodney Williams: Vice President of Sales, Microsoft Consulting Services, Williams started out as a consultant in 2000.
Melinda Moyo Turner: Director, Data & Artificial Intelligence Solutions, Turner joined Microsoft in 2014.
Amazon: $18.5 M
Apple: $100 M
Facebook: $115 M
Google: $177 M
Microsoft: $209.5 M
Amazon: 2021 goals include increased hiring of U.S. Black employees at Program and Product Managers through Senior Manager and Principal levels (L4-L7) by at least 30 percent, Increasing the number of women in senior Principals, Directors, VPs, and Distinguished Engineers (L8-L10) in tech and science roles by 30 percent and Increasing the number of U.S. Black software development engineer interns by at least 40 percent.
Apple: Apple’s Propel Center will serve HBCU students and deepen the company’s pipeline to diverse talent.
Facebook: By 2024, at least 50 percent of Facebook’s workforce will be made up of people from underrepresented communities. The company aims for a 30 percent increase in the representation of Black people in leadership by 2025.
Google: Google aims to have 30 percent more of its leaders be from underrepresented groups by 2025
Microsoft: Microsoft’s goal is to double the number of Black and African American managers, senior individual contributors, and senior leaders in the U.S. by 2025.
While their stories are not all the same and their individual experiences are not monoliths, for some former Black employees discriminatory practices and racism at Big Five tech companies are a common thread.
Chanin Kelly-Rae: Global Inclusion & Diversity Leader. In an expose, Kelly-Rae became one of the first Black employees to go on record about Amazon’s ‘down leveling practice among Black employees.
Christian Smalls: Amazon Fulfillment Center Worker. In 2020, the Staten Island, NY worker sued the retail giant for failing to provide safe working conditions for employees at fulfillment centers at the height of the pandemic.
Omar Johnson: Vice President, Marketing. Johnson challenged companies not to relegate Black employees to HR and marketing roles within tech companies.
Denise Young Smith: Vice President, Worldwide Talent and Human Resources. Young Smith left the company shortly after saying, ‘a room of 12 white, blue-eyed, blonde men could be diverse’.
Joshua Holt: Retail. In 2019, Holt sued Apple for $750,000 after claiming he was fired for complaining about the racism he faced on the job.
Anthony Harrison: Director Corporate Media Relations. Harrison left the company right before Facebook faced public criticism for giving former President Donald Trump a platform to spread racist rhetoric.
Bärí Williams: Lead Senior Counsel. Williams described feeling like a ‘cog in the wheel‘ at the large company and said Facebook was trying to control the narrative of employees that were speaking out.
Trey Rhett Lindsey: Senior Technical Sourcer. Lindsey quit after less than a year at Facebook citing that the company discriminates against Black applicants.
Mark Luckie: Strategic Partner Manager for Influencers. Famously said ‘Facebook has a Black people problem’ upon his departure in 2018.
Timnit Gebru, Ph.D.: AI Ethics Lead. In a public ouster, Gebru was gaslit continuously by Google’s leadership. After Gebru was let go for surfacing concerns about a core part of the company’s business, both tenured and new engineers left citing Gebru’s firing.
April Curley: Diversity Recruiter. Curley was let go after recruiting more than 300 diverse candidates to the company and building a pipeline to HBCU talent.
Unnamed employee: An unnamed employee described a five-year tenure of enduring disparaging comments about immigrants and people of color and discriminatory hiring practices.
Marc Brown: Global Head of Mergers and Acquisitions, Brown had a 21-year stint as head of M&A at Microsoft and left in 2020.
Kevin Dallas: Corporate Vice President, Cloud & AI BD. In 2020, after a 24-year career at Microsoft, Dallas left without controversy to become the CEO of Wind River, a security and governance company.
Milan Lee: Program Manager, Xbox. Lee described racist comments made by managers that were ignored when he complained to HR.