Name: Catherine Courage

Title: VP, Product Design, Google

Credentials Earned: BSc, MASc

Year in SSEP: 1991

Description of current professional role.

At Google, Catherine is committed to delivering world-class products and services that drive user adoption, loyalty and business results. She advocates a user focused approach, which focuses on user empathy, experimentation, design, and innovation. Her experience spans brand, web, product design, information experience, and business process reinvention.

Catherine co-authored the book “Understanding Your Users,” and is an active writer and speaker on customer empathy, innovation and design. Catherine has been featured in Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, and TEDx. She has twice been selected by the Silicon Valley Business Journal – in 2011 as one of Silicon Valley’s “40 Under 40” young tech leaders, and in 2013 as one of Silicon Valley’s 100 Most Influential Women. Also, Catherine made Forbes list of “Top 10 Rising Stars at The World’s Most Innovative Companies.” In 2014, the National Diversity Council named her one of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology. And in 2017, was named Memorial University’s Alumna of the year.

More on Catherine Courage:

“Technology trailblazer, A Q&A with Alumna of the Year Catherine Courage” – By Dave Penney. MUN Gazette. Sept. 6, 2017.

What hobbies or activities outside of work do you enjoy?

I am an avid cyclist, both road and mountain biking. 

What is/was your connection to the Student Summer Employment Program (SSEP)?

In high school I had a placement at a Pathology lab through the Women in Science and Engineer Program which was a tremendous learning opportunity and solidified my interest in pursuing a career in science.

What advice would you like to share with women who are considering a career in science or engineering?

I think many young women may have preconceived notions about what a career in science might be. I encourage people to understand the many career possibilities that are available. Speaking to tech specifically,

I think a lot of women shy away from roles in tech because of the misconception that you need to be a computer scientist to work in this industry. Of course that is one great option, but there are countless other roles that require business and arts degrees. You can have a great career in this industry. It’s incredibly interesting and dynamic, fast paced and challenging — very well-suited to women. It’s interesting to note that most big tech companies are aware of the hiring gap and actively seek to change that by hiring smart, talented women, so in some cases it’s an advantage to be a woman and starting a career in tech at this time.