Contact Minette For Booking

Minette Norman

If you want to tap into the power of diversity, you've got to create a culture where people belong.

Business Culture Expert | Former VP of Engineering Practice, Autodesk

Contact Minette For Booking
Minette Norman | Business Culture Expert | Former VP of Engineering Practice, Autodesk
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

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.”


Speech Topics

DEI: Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
Creating an Inclusive Culture Embracing All Aspects of Diversity
Many organizations do their best to hire a diverse workforce—but they often don’t put the same effort towards creating an inclusive culture. Leadership consultant Minette Norman knows that an inclusive culture is the backbone of any thriving workplace. Without it, diversity initiatives will fail. Minette’s hands-on experience as a tech leader has given her a treasure trove of actionable advice about how to build an inclusive culture from the ground up.
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.
Team Building
Psychological Safety The Foundation of Innovative and Engaged Teams
Psychological safety is the belief that we will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes. Teams that have a high degree of psychological safety are the highest performing teams, the most inclusive teams, the teams that innovate, and the teams that people want to be part of.
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
No company today can succeed without empathy at the core of its business strategy. But empathy isn’t just about compassion and consideration for your customers. It also means making sure all your employees feel valued, heard, and appreciated. And that takes work.
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.
Workshops & Interactive
Building a Collaborative Team How to Run Inclusive Meetings
Data shows us that increasing diversity—of gender, background, even cognitive styles—increases business performance. Simply put, more diverse organizations consistently outperform their peers. But in order for a company to tap into their diverse population, they must first have an inclusive culture—a task that may seem daunting to implement at first. Thankfully, there is a great place to start practicing inclusivity, and it's inside a process that we're already intimately familiar with: the meeting.
Meetings are not only where we spend so much of our time; they're also an embodiment of a company’s wider culture. Unfortunately, only 35% of employees surveyed in a recent HBR study felt consistently comfortable contributing in meetings. In meetings of five to ten participants, that’s only two or three people who feel empowered to contribute. Helping to facilitate meetings that are inclusive and create a sense of emotional safety is a great way for everyone to practice allyship, says transformative leadership consultant Minette Norman. In this highly interactive workshop, Norman explores what it means to model inclusivity, as well as how to create processes that uphold these standards in our organizations.
From setting a meeting agenda to asking proactive questions to inviting counter-perspectives openly, Norman shows us how we can ensure everyone's voice is heard equally and respectfully in this hands-on workshop. Participants will be blown away with how productive and fulfilling meetings can be once they learn to master their blind spots.