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Madison Butler  

DEI Truth Teller, HR Change Maker, Builder of Inclusive Cultures & Startup Enthusiast

Madison Butler is a native New Englander who has brought her east coast energy to Texas. She is a Black, queer woman, and she is also a survivor. She is the owner and founder of Blue Haired Unicorn, a consulting agency. Her work is focused around designing spaces and creating scalable strategies to achieve psychological safety. She is an outspoken advocate for mental health, removing the stigma around trauma, and advocates for being “human at work." She is passionate about facilitating hard conversations through storytelling, data, and tough empathy.

Butler has been featured in major news outlets such as New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Business Insider, and Der Spiegel. She has been recognized by Linkedin as a top Black voice to follow. She was also recognized as Austin’s rising star by DivInc in 2021. She is looked upon as an expert in her field and is passionate about using her platform to have the hard conversations.

Butler is committed to deconstructing the status quo and rebuilding corporate America, one organization at a time. Her mission is to ensure that no one ever feels like spaces were not made for them because we all deserve to live out loud. She is a start-up enthusiast and is passionate about building inclusive teams from the ground up with early-stage companies. Butler is committed to helping change the narrative around what it looks like to be “human at work,” and hopes to reshape the way we look at ourselves at work and in life.

Butler also started Black Speakers Collection, a platform committed to combatting unequal pay in the speaking industry and giving Black voices the exposure they need so they can get paid what they deserve.

Speech Topics


Trauma & Inclusive Communication

Trauma does not leave us when we clock into work every morning. Many people within our organizations are walking around with invisible weights on their shoulders. Domestic violence is often stigmatized and not talked about in corporate America, but it needs to be. Domestic violence impacts our population, especially in a virtual world. People who suffer from PTSD of any kind will have many triggers but oftentimes they may not be thought about in the workplace. We have to relearn our communication practices to ensure we are considering how people receive information, not just how we want to give it.

Inclusion Before Diversity: Creating Psychological Safety

We often speak about diversity before inclusion. However, inclusion and equity must come first. In order to foster growth in our organizations, we must create environments that cater to different people. Inclusion is not about creating spaces, it is about making space for people to come in and live authentically and out loud. Inclusion must be baked into our policies, handbooks, and job descriptions and be a focus of every team, not just HR.

Degendering Language and Inclusive Communication

Language does not need gender, and gender does not need language. In a world that is ever-changing, we must be willing to rewire how we communicate with each other. There are many phrases that are rooted in racism, sexism, homophobia, and bigotry. Inclusion means unlearning years of catchphrases, greetings, and how we address groups. Creating an inclusive environment means respecting people’s pronouns, names and identities without question or argument.

Scaling Your Organization Ethically: Leadership Training

We all want our organizations to grow, but how can we do that in an ethical way? People first. In order to grow your organization in a way that is sustainable, scalable, and ethical you must be willing to be people-centric. Human-centric behaviors start before hiring and don’t stop when people leave our organizations. We have to create policies that support everyone, not just some. Benefits and perks aren’t about craft beer and kombucha, they are about how we are supporting our entire population.

Race, Privilege & Intersectionality

Diversity and privilege are intersectional. There are three forms of intersectionality that impact social groups on a daily basis in different ways. Intersectional privilege means that biases exist within each social group causing many marginalized folx to feel further ostracized because of their identities. Biases within our own communities can be harmful and must be acknowledged in order to achieve psychological safety within our own organizations. No social group is a monolith and we have to unpack the truth around intersectionality.

Anti-Racism and Allyship: A Guide

Anti-Racism and allyship have become corporate America’s favorite buzzwords. How can we ensure that our actions represent our adjectives? Anti-racism and allyship both center around action rather than performance. We will explore how to create actionable change as any ally/accomplice and what it means to truly be anti-racist.

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Decoding Code Switching: Surviving Corporate America

Black folx are disproportionately more likely than their white peers to say they sometimes feel the need to change the way they express themselves when they are around people with different racial, class, and ethnic backgrounds. Code-switching is a practice that is familiar to many Black people and POC around the world. But for many, this goes beyond the longing to be accepted by White Culture. In many cases, it is a survival mechanism and a trauma response.

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