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Vanessa Smith

As one of less than a handful of African American female executives at SAP, Vanessa has certainly seen the level of diversity increase over her 14 years with the company. However, she understood that in order to reflect that increase at a senior management level, they had to get more candidates in the pipeline at every level. To support that goal, in her prior role as Chief of Staff to the CEO, she hired a Chief Diversity Officer. Through participating in external benchmarking, they were able to raise awareness across the Board on how they compared on key diversity statistics to peers in the technology industry. That led to increased funding and focus on recruiting from historically black colleges, creating partnerships with associations focused on minority talent, and bringing added focus in the hiring process on ensuring diverse cohorts of early talents. Vanessa is an active member of Jack and Jill America, where she spends several hours per month developing and executing key programs for children in the area of leadership development, volunteer service, philanthropic giving and civic duty.