Tyi McCray has joined Pinterest as global head of inclusion and diversity amid recent uproar at the social media company over alleged gender and racial discrimination that culminated in a staff walkout and petition.
Though her appointment was announced today, McCray joined in June and has been meeting with teams across the company during her onboarding.
She replaces Candice Morgan, the first person to hold the role when it was created in 2016. Morgan left Pinterest in January for GV, the venture capital arm of Google parent company Alphabet.
“It’s impossible to overstate the magnitude of change our world has undergone this year,” McCray said in a statement. “As a diversity and inclusion professional, my line of work in particular has evolved and—though our work was always absolutely pivotal—the vital nature of what we do has come into focus more now than ever before.”
McCray said she has “seen a real acknowledgment” from Pinterest and Ben Silbermann, its co-founder and CEO, “about the hard work and commitment that will be needed from all of us to get us to where we want to be as an organization.” She noted that she’s joining at a “critical point for our society and our company.”
McCray, who holds a doctorate from Cornell University, joined Pinterest from Airbnb, where she was a government affairs and strategic partnerships lead. She previously worked as a diversity strategy lead at Airbnb, in diversity consulting at firms Forshay and Paradigm, and was the director of diversity and inclusion at Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management.
Silbermann called McCray a “huge asset in advancing the significant work ahead of us.”
“I look forward to working with her to build a culture where all people, regardless of their backgrounds, are treated fairly and feel valued for the unique perspectives they bring to Pinterest,” he said.
Pinterest has had a rocky summer when it comes to issues of diversity and inclusion. In early June, two former employees, Ifeoma Ozoma and Aerica Shimizu Banks, both Black women, alleged the company had a culture of sexism, racism and retaliation.
Earlier this month, former COO Francoise Brougher sued Pinterest for unlawful termination, citing sexist remarks from Silbermann and other executives.
In the days that followed, some Pinterest staffers participated in a virtual walkout, in which they signed an anonymous petition calling for an end to discrimination and retaliation; changed their Slack profile pictures to the faces of Brougher, Ozoma and Shimizu; and posted a message of concern about “the racial and gender discrimination that has happened at Pinterest” in company Slack.
In response to the criticism, Silbermann admitted that parts of Pinterest’s culture are “broken.” He pledged to add a person of color to the public company’s board, and made good on that promise earlier this month with the addition of Andrea Wishom, president of Skywalker Holdings and a longtime veteran of Harpo Productions. Silbermann also mandated unconscious bias training for employees and vowed to improve recruiting practices. Pinterest also retained the law firm WilmerHale to conduct a review of its workplace culture.
Additionally, Pinterest had pledged to create a more inclusive product for its 400 million monthly active users. It recently expanded the skin-tone options for its augmented reality makeup try-on feature.