I'm also an experienced public speaker.

Over the past years, I have spoken at schools and events across the world including AIGA Design Conference and TEDxFoggyBottom.

Get in touch if you'd like to book me for a future speaking engagement.

Booking requirements

  • Code of Conduct

    I will not speak at places that do not have a Code of Conduct. I will also not speak at any event that has a history of failing to enforce their Code of Conduct.

  • Paid travel

    If travel is required, it must be covered by the event. Unless under very rare circumstances, I will not pay out-of-pocket to travel to an event for an engagement.

  • Honorarium

    Presentations take hours of work. I will not accept an unpaid engagement unless the event is not for profit or I'm speaking as a representative of my employer.

Upcoming talks

  • Moving from execution to strategy as a designer

    SmashingConf New York – October 8–10, 2024

    Designers often find themselves under pressure to create beautiful outputs rather than impact and outcomes. In this talk, Catt Small will share techniques to move herself from execution to a more strategic role over 14 years of in-house work at companies spanning various industries. You’ll learn to add perspective to subjects including product strategy, growth, and monetization — showing the value of design at every part of the product development process. Before you know it, you’ll be your PM’s best work friend!

Want to talk?

Got feedback, looking to suggest a future writing topic, or want to invite me to speak at your organization? Send me a message and I'll get back to you as soon as possible!

Contact me

Past talks

  • Advancing Beyond Senior Roles: Navigating Non-Management Career Paths

    This unique gathering is designed for professionals seeking pathways to growth that don't necessarily lead to traditional management roles. Led by Catt Small, this session invites attendees to share their experiences, challenges, and strategies in carving out impactful, non-managerial career trajectories. Engage in candid discussions about alternative leadership roles, lateral moves that enrich skills skill, and roles that expand influence without the traditional management responsibilities. This is a unique opportunity to connect with peers facing similar career crossroads, learn from the collective wisdom, and envision new trajectories for your career journey. Join us to redefine career success and discover new paths that align with your expertise and passions.

    Presented at:

    • 2024: UXDX NYC in New York, NY
  • What’s Next for ICs: Exploring Staff and Principal Designer Roles

    In this panel, we will hear from Staff and Principal Designers who’ve managed to stay on the IC track while growing their careers. We’ll get into some of the day-to-day nitty-gritty of what it means to be a Staff Designer or Principal Designer, and how to make this role a reality within your organization.

    Presented at:

    • 2023: Rosenfeld Media Community Panel in the internet – Video
  • SaaS Design Strategy Intensive: Stop Being a Paintbrush, Start Being a Visioner

    In this workshop, you’ll learn and practice techniques to become a more strategic SaaS designer by identifying and navigating political roadblocks that keep many designers stuck in the ideological playpen at SaaS companies. You’ll form alliances with designers from across the industry in the fight for better product decisions and higher-quality user experiences.

    Presented at:

    • 2023: Design in Product 2023 in the internet
  • Moving from execution to strategy as a designer

    Designers often find themselves under pressure to create beautiful outputs rather than impact and outcomes. In this talk, Catt Small, Director of Product Design at All Turtles, will share techniques to move herself from execution to a more strategic role over 12 years of in-house work at companies spanning various industries. You'll learn to add perspective to subjects including product strategy, growth, and monetization — showing the value of design at every part of the product development process. Before you know it, you'll be your PM's best work friend!

    Presented at:

    • 2023: UXDX Global Online Series in – Video
    • 2022: Design in Product in the internet – VideoSlides
  • Finding meaning in design when nothing is fine

    In this very personal and relatable talk, Catt Small shares advice for those who are experiencing a career block. Attendees will learn techniques for building a guided, sustainable design career.

    Presented at:

    • 2023: FITC 2023 in the internet
    • 2022: Game UX Summit in Bellevue, WA – Slides
  • From Ideation to Launch: The Design of Asana's Goals Feature

    Catt Small, Product Designer at Asana, will walk through the entire process of Asana’s Goals product—from ideation to launch. Released in July 2020, Asana Goals helps organizations connect their mission and objectives to projects and initiatives. Asana’s mission is to help humanity thrive by enabling teams to work together effortlessly by enhancing work management and goal setting and tracking—and this new feature does just that.

    Presented at:

    • 2021: Designlab in the internet – Video
  • Their career: sponsored by you!

    Individual contributors often seek ways to grow but don’t have access to opportunities that might stretch their skills. That’s where you, with your birds-eye view, come in! Sponsorship is an important part of growing the people on your team. Catt Small will walk you through the difference between sponsorship and mentorship. You’ll learn strategies to move from an advisor in your reports’ careers to an investor.

    Presented at:

    • 2021: LeadDev Together in the internet
  • Like a phoenix: becoming a more resilient designer

    A digital product designer's story of failure, self-empowerment, and redemption. Over the span of two years, Catt Small experienced the highs and lows of product development—all on the same team. She will share ways to improve your persuasion skills, create a better working relationship with your peers, conduct more holistic research, and ultimately create and release a better product.

    Presented at:

    • 2021: UXFest in the internet
    • 2020: Design Matters in the internet
    • 2020: FITC Spotlight UX in the internet
    • 2020: FITC Amsterdam 2020 in Amsterdam, Netherlands – Slides
  • Feelings and Frameworks: Designing and building emotionally impactful software

    SweetXheart is a video game about race, gender, and microaggressions. It's also a native JavaScript-based web game with a handmade dialogue system. In this talk, Catt Small discusses how she designed and built this extensive game over the span of five years using a JavaScript framework called Phaser and a dynamic data platform called Google Sheets. Attendees will leave the talk with an expanded idea of the potential of software.

    Presented at:

    • 2019: Web Unleashed 2019 in Toronto, Canada – VideoSlides
    • 2019: BrooklynJS in New York, NY – Slides
  • Ship it sooner: how to get more done in less time

    Tools help us create beautiful, usable experiences for devices. However, they can also get in the way of creativity: designers and developers sometimes spend more time thinking about process, software, and tools than making. In this talk, Catt will discuss reasons we get distracted by process and tools, why stepping away from process and tools can be helpful, as well as methods to focus more on getting things done.

    Presented at:

    • 2019: Pixel Up! in Cape Town, South Africa – Slides
    • 2017: Create Upstate in Ithaca, NY – Slides
    • 2017: Generate NYC in New York, NY
    • 2016: FITC in Toronto, Canada
  • Respect the Player

    Ethics is a major topic of discussion in the tech industry today. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other huge companies are coming under fire for catalyzing addiction and rewarding compulsive user behaviors. People spend hours on these websites and feel worse for doing so. However, the trend continues to grow without repercussion in the games industry—all in the name of user retention. Dark patterns are experiences that trick users into harming themselves, and like websites and apps, games are full of them. From indies to giants like Pokemon Go, people are being tricked into spending their data, money, and time without reward or value. Catt discusses why dark patterns need to enter the video games lexicon and why we need to consider ethics in game development.

    Presented at:

    • 2019: GDC 2019 in San Francisco, CA – Slides
  • We're all Designers

    Product design and development often involves many people of different roles who enter and leave at different parts of a project. However, this can cause communication problems and responses that sound like "you're the designer", "that'll take too much time", or "that's not my job" when people attempt to collaborate. Catt Small, a UX Designer and Developer, will discuss methods used to cross silos in order to speed up the design and development process while also building camaraderie, agency, and transparency. She will also discuss ways to encourage teams that may be reluctant to change and ways to get upper management on board with a more collaborative design process.

    Presented at:

    • 2018: UX Week in San Francisco, CA
    • 2018: FusionConf in Charlotte, NC – Slides
    • 2014: FlowCon in San Francisco, CA – VideoSlides
  • Beyond Gamification: Lessons from Game Design for Engaging Users

    When UX designers think of techniques that have been borrowed from game design, gamification is often the first approach that comes to mind. However, the oversaturation of gamification in products we use every day can cause fatigue. Not every product needs a system of achievements. UX practitioners can learn so much more from game design. In this talk, we will explore other ways to engage users in our products via game design concepts without coming off as gimmicky.

    Presented at:

    • 2018: Yale School of Management in New Haven, CT
    • 2017: Design It; Build It in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK – Slides
    • 2015: Future of Web Design in New York, NY – Slides
    • 2014: ConveyUX in Seattle, WA – Video
  • The Full Story: Presenting Complete Ideas

    Telling a cohesive story is one of the hardest parts of public speaking. Many fledgling speakers find it challenging to string concepts together in an order that makes sense to other people. They also find themselves struggling to explain things in a way that feels approachable. In this talk, Catt will share methods to plan and present ideas so that your audience can better understand them. Attendees will leave the talk knowing how to outline and design presentations for speaking engagements.

    Presented at:

    • 2018: Write/Speak/Code in New York, NY – Slides
    • 2017: Mozilla TechSpeaks in San Francisco, CA – Video
  • UX for Games

    Quality user experience (UX) design is crucial for avoiding mechanics, interfaces, and situations that frustrate players. What can we learn from UX design to make video games more usable, and therefore more engaging? Catt Small, a UX Designer and game maker, will share UX design techniques.

    Presented at:

    • 2017: GDC Education Summit in San Francisco, CA
    • 2017: GDC Microtalks in San Francisco, CA – Video
    • 2015: Playcrafting in New York, NY
    • 2014: General Assembly in New York, NY
    • 2014: HOSTOS Community College in New York, NY
    • 2014: CUNY Games Festival in New York, NY – Slides
  • Designing Socially Impactful Digital Experiences

    Countless people in technology want to use their skills to help others. However, creating a digital product that improves society is harder than it sounds. The successful use of technology in new contexts requires more research, testing, and time than most would like to admit. Countless social good hackathons have been organized, yet many products created during these events fail to become anything more than a mention in a recap article. In this talk, Catt will describe her process of creating SenseU, a mobile sex education game that utilizes a popular form of communication: instant messaging. Using her project as a case study, she will highlight ways that the current state of designing for social good can be improved. Attendees will learn ways that technology can successfully help others as well as tips for launching an interactive experience created for social good.

    Presented at:

    • 2016: Beyond Tellerrand in Düsseldorf, Germany – VideoSlides
  • Beyond Basic Representation: Subversive Diversity to Improve Our Games

    As the indie game space continues to grow and the discussion about increasing the focus on diversity in games also continues, there is still a decided lack of overlap for a number of reasons; this talk aims to bridge that. If you've ever wondered "Am I doing this right?" or "How do I add diverse ethnic groups without pandering" or even "How will adding diverse characters to my game actually affect it?", then this talk is for you.

    Presented at:

    • 2016: IndieCade East in New York, NY
    • 2016: GDC in San Francisco, CA – Video
  • The Creative Programmer

    Women and other marginalized groups are encouraged to learn to code for several reasons including higher rate of pay and improved diversity in the workplace. Despite the fact that programmers create experiences, code classes are often conducted as dry lectures; the creative aspect of programming gets removed from the conversation. In this talk, Catt will discuss her road to becoming a programmer and how thinking of code as a paintbrush has helped to shape her relationship with programming. Attendees will leave this talk with an expanded view of the potential of code.

    Presented at:

    • 2016: !!Con in New York, NY – VideoSlides
    • 2015: Codess in Seattle, WA
  • Bootstrapping communities

    The lack of diversity in the tech and games industries is a known issue. One solution is to build support networks for marginalized folks in these industries. Support networks are also important within the realm of products, as social activity adds value to services. Designing and creating supportive communities requires hard work, time, and money. In this talk, Catt Small will discuss lessons learned while helping to build several successful—and a few failed—communities of varying sizes online and offline.

    Presented at:

    • 2016: AIGA Design Conference in Las Vegas, NV – VideoSlides
  • From Maker to Businessperson: Lessons Learned from Becoming a Creative Entrepreneur

    In this talk, Catt Small will help to answer the burning question: What does is it REALLY take to be a successful tech entrepreneur from an underrepresented group?

    Presented at:

    • 2015: SVA in New York, NY – Video
    • 2015: InclusiveDev in the internet – Slides
  • Creative programming with video games

    Catt Small will talk about web-based game development. During this presentation, Catt will discuss topics such as how she began making video games, the connection between game development and creativity, resources to make web-based games, and advice for making games that can also be applied to product development. Attendees will leave this presentation with information about the game development process and the know-how to start making small games.

    Presented at:

    • 2015: Web Unleashed Toronto in Toronto, Canada – Slides
    • 2015: RVA Global Game Jam in Richmond, VA
    • 2014: DBCx in New York, NY
  • Changing the Face of Game Development

    The Code Liberation Foundation was created in order to increase the number of women in game development. Nearly half of all gamers are women, yet women make up less than 10% of game developers. During this session, Code Liberation members discuss why diversity in games is important, methods used to encourage women to program video games, and lessons learned during Code Liberation’s efforts to build a positive community of women in games.

    Presented at:

    • 2015: TEDxFoggyBottom in Washington, D.C. – Video
    • 2014: AlterConf in New York, NY – Video
    • 2014: IndieCade East in New York, NY – Video
    • 2014: CUNY Games Festival in New York, NY

Video interviews

Podcast appearances

Tools for self-improvement

Over my many years in design and technology, I have created a variety of free and low-cost tutorials, printable worksheets, and more.

View resources