Meet Cynthia Bowman: Apple’s New Diversity Chief

by Joseph Omoniyi
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Apple has appointed Cynthia Bowman as its new Head of Diversity. Bowman, who has an impressive 17-year tenure as the Chief Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Responsibility Officer at Bank of America, is set to bring her expertise to one of the world’s most influential tech giants.

At Bank of America, Bowman was instrumental in driving workforce equity and mobility, helping the bank secure the Number 11 spot for workforce equity as recognized by Just Capital. Her strategies focused on dismantling barriers to hiring and promoting upward mobility, especially for people of color. Bowman emphasized the importance of reevaluating degree requirements and enhancing career development and staff retention efforts.

“This process starts at the top,” Bowman remarked in her interview with Just Capital. Her approach involved setting comprehensive goals for diversity and inclusion that permeated all levels of management. “It’s about creating a workforce that looks like the world we live in across every level, including senior leadership,” she explained. “It’s about creating an environment where people don’t feel like they need to be someone else from the time they walk into work to the time they leave.”

Her focus extended to fostering equity through practices that mitigate bias and promote internal talent. “It’s about creating processes that diminish bias, allow you to promote within, generate more inclusion in our everyday practices from the time you hire, how you onboard, how you conduct calibrations, how you retain talent, how you recognize talent and how talent leads your organization,” she said.

Apple has made strides in promoting diversity, but acknowledges there is still much work to be done. Bowman will collaborate with Barbara Whye, the current Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity, during a transition period before Whye’s retirement in the fall. Bowman will be responsible for Apple’s $200 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, working across the company to drive diversity efforts.

An Apple spokesperson expressed the company’s enthusiasm about Bowman’s appointment: “We are excited that Cynthia Bowman will serve as Apple’s next Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity. Cynthia is an accomplished leader in her field and is deeply committed to the work we’re doing to advance inclusion and diversity at Apple.”

Despite progress, challenges remain. Between 2014 and 2022, the percentage of Black employees at Apple in America increased from 7% to 9%, Asian employees from 23% to 30%, and Latino employees from 11% to 15%. Women now constitute 35% of Apple’s workforce, up from 30% in 2014. These figures reflect Apple’s ongoing efforts to address diversity in response to societal calls for racial justice, particularly after the murder of George Floyd.

Apple CEO Tim Cook highlighted the importance of this mission: “Building a more just and equitable world is urgent work that demands collaboration, commitment, and a common sense of purpose. We are proud to partner with many extraordinary organizations that are dedicated to addressing injustice and eliminating barriers to opportunity. And we’ll continue to lead with our values as we expand our efforts to create opportunities, lift up communities, and help build a better future for all.”

Bowman’s accolades include being listed on the 2016 EBONY POWER 100, named one of Black Enterprise’s Top Executives in Corporate Diversity for three consecutive years, and receiving the Leadership Excellence award from the Tri-State Diversity Council. She holds an MBA in Organization Behavior and Operations from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, a Bachelor of Industrial Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Bachelor of Science from Spelman College. Bowman is also a dedicated member of various boards, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the Forte Foundation.

With her extensive background and proven leadership, Bowman is poised to help Apple achieve its diversity and inclusion goals, fostering a workplace that truly reflects the global community it serves.

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