Quita Highsmith is Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at Genentech, a member of the Roche Group.
At Genentech Quita 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 D&I knowledge, Quita 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.
As a business leader, Quita has also co-authored several publications regarding health disparities in peer reviewed journals. In 2021, Quita was named the Inspire Award Winner by San Francisco Business Times, honored as the inaugural Visionary Award winner by Women of Color in Pharma (WOCIP), named PharmaVOICE Magazine Top 100 Most Inspiring and selected as Top 15 Champions by Diversity Global Magazine. She is routinely requested to speak at national and international forums, and give media interviews with both large and small outlets (WSJ, STAT, The Atlantic, Katie Couric, HuffPost).
Quita is committed to community service and serves on several local non-profit boards including, The Delta San Francisco-Peninsula Foundation Board which provides College scholarships for Black girls and Leadership Council San Mateo County.
Quita is committed to community service by working with non-profit boards such as, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Delta San Francisco-Peninsula Scholarship Foundation, Leadership Council San Mateo County and The Genentech Patient Foundation.
Quita received both a Master of Business Administration Degree and an Advanced Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University, as well as her undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky.
We are deeply committed to addressing barriers to clinical trial participation. Learn more about how we are taking action and advancing inclusive research.