Ashley Goldsmith, 49, is a seasoned HR leader with a passion for developing top talent and cultivating value-led, performance-driven organizations. Since 2013, she's served as Executive Vice President (EVP) and Chief People Officer (CPO) of Workday, one of the world's top software vendors. As CPO, she's responsible for all HR functions. This includes leading internal communications, culture development, and diversity and inclusivity policies on behalf of more than 15,000 Workmates. For Goldsmith, it's about creating a work environment that fosters the sort of honesty and integrity people need to do their best.
Her success has been a long time coming. While Goldsmith remembers growing up "pretty shy," she didn't have to look far for role models. Her mother provided plenty of inspiration. "I certainly learned a lot about hard work by watching her," said the HR executive in a recent interview. "I grew up in very modest means with just my mom, and so there’s a strong ‘don’t forget where you came from’ sense of humility with me."
Humility and hard work have certainly characterized her career. Goldsmith, who has nearly 20 years of experience in the human resource management space, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Vanderbilt University. She also holds a Master of Science in human resource development from Georgia State University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Prior to joining Workday, she spent three years with Polycom, Inc., serving as executive vice president and chief human resources officer, leading the company through a high growth phase. Before that, she spent three years at Ventana Medical Systems, a division of the Roche Group, as senior vice president of human resources, corporate communications, and environmental health & safety. From 1995 to 2007, she served in a number of leadership positions with increasing responsibility for The Home Depot, most recently serving as vice president of human resources for the northern division. Goldsmith began her career at Great-West Life & Annuity. Over the years, she’s been recognized for her accomplishments and is now a fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources.
While the esteemed HR executive enjoys being surrounded by talented people, many of her best experiences are the times she spends with animals. As such, she serves on the board of directors for the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Likewise, she sits on the board of directors for several other top organizations, such as the advisory board for Cornell’s Center for Advanced Human Resources Studies, and as of February 2022, she sits on the board of directors of Kontoor Brands, the company that owns both Wrangler and Lee.