If you want to lead in a way that transforms people, you need to welcome fresh perspectives. That’s how Minette Norman—a liberal arts major with no STEM background—became a high-powered executive in the male-dominated tech industry. She used her unique skills to rebuild Autodesk’s company culture from the inside out, leading a team of 3,500 software pros with empathy and compassion. Now as a leadership consultant, she encourages us to harness our diversity by creating a culture where people feel they are safe to be different.
Diverse companies are more innovative. But diversity isn’t enough if people don’t feel psychologically safe to be themselves at work. Over her 20 years at Autodesk, Minette Norman transformed the company’s culture, so that it was empathetic and welcoming as well as diverse. Employees were able to speak out, make mistakes and take risks. Minette isn’t a traditional tech industry executive: she came to Autodesk with a liberal arts background. Solving problems from a completely new angle, Minette went from publications manager to vice president of engineering and proved that difference is the key to success. She left Autodesk to start her own consulting agency, helping leaders build healthy, inclusive companies where everyone feels like they belong.
Minette’s long career has given her a deep, fine-tuned understanding of what it takes to create real change in the workplace. It’s all about enabling employees to interact, collaborate, and listen to each other with kindness, openness, and curiosity. In her dynamic presentations and interactive workshops, Minette offers the tools to turn this philosophy into an action plan. She helps executives and employees at every level rethink how we communicate, which accomplishments we reward, and who belongs in leadership roles. This is the first step to inspiring a creative work culture that leads to break-out innovation.
At her consulting practice, Minette uses her decades of experience in the tech industry to help companies develop diverse teams. When teams are diverse, companies will get a wider range of problem-solving skills and unique business insights. In 2017, she was named one of the “Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business” by the San Francisco Business Times, and as “Business Role Model of the Year” in the 2018 Women in IT Awards. She serves on the Board of Directors for Equalize Health, a non-profit devoted to developing medical technologies for impoverished and vulnerable communities worldwide.
“Thank you so much to Minette Norman for joining us! Her presentation was spot-on and I really appreciated how she gave some actionable takeaways that our group can implement right away.”International Security Management Association
“Minette was a tremendous keynote speaker at Smartling's Global Ready Conference. She established a unique bond with our audience despite the virtual format and spoke with authority on the subject matter.”Smartling
Creating an Inclusive Culture Embracing All Aspects of Diversity
In this thoughtful and compassionate talk, leaders, managers, and employees will learn how to tune into their own behavior, challenge toxic norms, and create inclusive meetings where everyone can speak equally. Minette will also show you how to hire and retain diverse talent, from making sure there are equitable opportunities for advancement to understanding how to manage someone’s job performance while checking your biases at the door. Minette approaches these topics with curiosity and empathy—helping you begin a transformative journey towards putting diversity into practice.
Psychological Safety The Foundation of Innovative and Engaged Teams
In this keynote, Minette Norman shares her approach to creating a psychologically safe culture in which diverse perspectives and experiences are valued so that everyone can fully contribute their best work. Minette tells real-world stories about psychological safety—and its absence—in practice. She also offers practical advice to leaders for increasing psychological safety in any organization or setting, leaving them inspired and equipped to increase psychological safety in their own teams.
Radical Empathy Creating Cultures of Transformative Leadership
In this keynote, Minette Norman outlines her approach to ‘radical empathy’: a leadership plan that shatters outdated mindsets about work. She asks audiences to see vulnerability, emotion, and compassion as strengths—even in (or especially in) male-dominated industries. Minette helps us abandon ‘us vs. them’ mentalities, engage in active listening, and make time for the challenging conversations we’ve been putting off. This is a talk to empower leaders so they can take action—and embrace a model of leadership that’s backed by emotion as much as it’s backed by economics.