Portrait of Vanessa Laird
144 Humphrey School
Center for Integrative Leadership

Vanessa Laird

Executive Director, Center for Integrative Leadership
collaborative governance; health care policy; health privacy law; international law and negotiation; integrative leadership

Vanessa Laird is the Executive Director of the Center for Integrative Leadership, a joint initiative with the Carlson School of Management and the Humphrey School. She is a member of the graduate faculty at the Humphrey School and of the affiliate faculty at University of Minnesota Law School and has extensive experience ranging across private, public, and academic institutions. Laird previously served as General Counsel for Optum Inc. and is a former Vice President and Senior Legal Counsel for Medtronic, Inc, having led the legal team of the company’s largest division and served as senior counsel for Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

Prior to her work at Medtronic, Laird practiced U.S. and international law in the Legal Adviser’s Office at the U.S. Department of State and served as an International Affairs Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations. She engaged with other governments on diverse legal issues, including litigation against the Department and the drafting, implementation and interpretation of statutes, treaties, and regulations.

Laird was also on the Faculty of Laws at the University of Sheffield in England, teaching jurisprudence and legal systems, and clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for Judge Stephen Trott.

Laird holds a BA (magna cum laude with Highest Honors in English) in English and political science from Williams College; a BA Hons (MA) in philosophy, politics, and economics from Oxford University; and a JD from Stanford University.

Selected Writings

In The Media

Vanessa Laird, executive director of the Center for Integrative Leadership, wrote this commentary on how to enjoy your conversations with family and friends over Thanksgiving dinner, even if you disagree with them. 

The Hill
November 22, 2017