Quietly assertive, she avoids marketing jargon and comes across more as a strategy consultant with strong ideas about the direction the company needs to move in and a clear appreciation of the levers of power needed to make things happen.
But transforming a venerable company such as Coke was never going to be easy and, with her reputation for abrasiveness, she made enemies in the company. In the race to become president and chief operating officer, she was beaten by another rising star.
In her first interview since leaving Coke, Ms Minnick admits she can be impatient, but is unrepentant. "Change is uncomfortable, just as a human characteristic and for organisations as a whole. It's challenging, it's complicated and it doesn't always make people comfortable."
During an earlier stint in the marketing department in the early 1990s, Ms Minnick had developed drinks to compete with the likes of Snapple, only to be thwarted by executives who sawthem as a diversion from selling cola.
"Senior level managers said: 'Every time I put a case of your stuff on the truck, I have to take Coke off, and that's not something I'm willing to do,' " she recalls.
This time Ms Minnick went in with a full agenda to reshape the company. It included creating a new products department, which produced some quick launches such as coffee-flavoured Coca-Cola Blak and Enviga, a "fat-burning" sparkling green tea. Other products in the pipeline included "adjacent businesses" outside the normal soft drinks business, such as a premium brewed coffee.
She also rebuilt the marketing department, restoring the company's reputation for advertising with a new campaign using the slogan "The Coke side of life".
"Our recent SuperBowl campaign had the best test scores in 15 years, was much applauded for its sophistication and creativity, and was seen as the best advertising for years," she says.
Ms Minnick refocused research and development, bringing in new skills such as ingredient specialists and flavour scientists. And she started a series of "wellness" projects to bring through drinks with health benefits.
One model was Danone, the French food and water company that makes yog-hurts and other dairy drinks that it claims enhance health. Another, bought by Coke in 2001, was Odwalla, which blends soy milk, natural juices, berries and alfalfa sprouts into smoothie drinks sold through supermarket chill cabinets.
"All the work we did suggested that consumers are using beverages in dramatically different ways, ranging from disease prevention to hydration, to weight reduction, to relaxation, to relieving stress and to fortification of nutrition," she says.