Deirdre O’Brien is Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail + People, reporting to CEO Tim Cook. O’Brien has been placed at No.5 on Fast Company’s inaugural Queer 50 List, which the publication describes as “the first-ever list of LGBTQ women and nonbinary innovators in business and tech.”
Deirdre O’Brien has had the sort of career that many people dream about. In January 1988, as a newly minted college graduate, O’Brien took a job at Apple working on production of the Macintosh SE, an early iteration of the classic Macintosh line that introduced personal computers to lay people. More than three decades later, Apple is a trillion-dollar company—and O’Brien is one of the highest ranking executives at its helm.
Since the coronavirus hit, O’Brien has been tasked with navigating how — and when — to reopen Apple’s retail stores, which have long been a hub for both sales and customer service… As the head of people, O’Brien has also steered many of the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts… “Apple has changed my life and supported me in so many ways, not least of which is the fact that I met my wife here,” O’Brien says. “I feel a deep responsibility to support and carry our culture forward for everyone else—for anyone who comes from a background that has been historically underrepresented.”
…O’Brien has said one of the moments she is most proud of dates back to her twenties—when she came out a few years into her tenure at Apple. “Early on, even though Apple has always been a very open-minded place, coming out was a really tough decision for me,” she says. “I worried a lot about how I would be treated because I was different from the prevailing norm. I’ll never forget how hard it was to take that step, but it is a decision I’ve never once regretted.”
MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s Leadership page features O’Brien here.