Executive Decisions



Driving home the importance of diversity and inclusion is no small feat, but it is a task that's taking a front seat across the corporate world now more than ever. One of Renate Norman's many responsibilities as the Senior Talent Acquisition Director for Cloud & Enterprise & Core Services Engineering & Operations at Microsoft is to do just that.

Renate's passion for bringing in and nurturing the best talent based on a wide variety of criteria shines through in the tidbits she shared with me below. She elaborated on what it’s like to follow your career passions, even when they lead you into uncharted territory.

Into the Details

Personal Title:

Lifelong Learner About People

What was the first pivotal moment in your professional career?

My pivotal moment was when I decided to follow a path that was true to my passion: learn about a lot of different things and also interact with a lot of different people. Law was the original path I had chosen because of the varied clients/areas of law I could get exposed to. But when I got a chance to taste Recruiting, I realized that it was also a path that allowed me to achieve both of those objectives. Being true to me gave me the confidence to follow a career path that wasn’t thought of as a career at that time.

What is a current digital or strategic trend that you’re learning about or would like to learn more about?

A trend that is interesting to me involves new recruiting technology that takes bias out of the hiring process (e.g. identifying words that don’t resonate with women in a job description). I’m not interested because I think it is the sole answer to solving diversity challenges within companies – I actually don’t think it is. I am more interested in how we can effectively use the technology to effectively teach humans about their biases (and others’) and then teach them how to mitigate against them in the hiring process. That last part is what is missing currently because I feel like many want technology alone to solve unconscious biases, but at the end of the day it is a human issue.

How are you able to best lift as you climb?

I do my best to make myself available to mentor and sponsor - formally or informally – to those who want that support. My style is honest, transparent and authentic – at least, I like to think it is. I also try to be open about times when I have struggled or made mistakes so those around me don’t think that success is a straight and mistake-free path. My goal is not to give answers necessarily, but instead to help provide decision frameworks that show how those I advise can get to the answer so they can in turn help others. And then in doing that, I have multiplied myself.

If you had to list one go-to garb item in your work wardrobe, what would it be?

If I have a presentation or meeting that day, my go-to lately is a black dress from COS with my black Stewart Weitzman 5050 boots.


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