Staff Designer: Influence & Lead as an Individual Contributor

New
·

3 Weeks

·

Cohort-based Course

Build a robust toolkit of techniques to level up your influence, scale your impact, & show value as a design leader without direct authority

This course is popular

4 people enrolled last week.

Previously at

Asana
Etsy
SoundCloud
Nasdaq

Course overview

Stop being a paintbrush, start being a visioner

Identify and navigate the roadblocks that keep most senior designers from getting to the next level — with guidance from someone who's been there.


I'm a Staff Product Designer with years of hands-on, high-impact leadership at both small and large companies. I've been on a journey as a hands-on designer these past 14 years with lots of bumps in the road, including surpassing these challenges:


🙃 Struggling to understand why I'd been stuck at senior for years


🙃 Fighting for influence over product and design strategy, but still being left out of the room


🙃 Swimming in a sea of role ambiguity as a Staff Designer


🙃 Being overwhelmed with design busywork and not having time to impact the company's vision


🙃 Trying out management multiple times; liking the leadership and mentorship parts, but not the HR part


After reaching a place of clarity in my own design career, I decided to create this course to help others reach the same point. Through a series of live workshops, you'll discover techniques and tactics to become a more impactful, influential, and strategic individual contributor and leader.


Connect with designers from across the industry and build a shared understanding of the role of a Staff+ designer. This course will equip you with the tools to navigate your own challenges and reap all the career rewards!

If you're one of these, this is the course is for you:

01

Staff and Principal Designers who need new tactics to shift from reactive to proactive, build more leadership skills, and influence strategy

02

Senior Designers who want to get promoted to Staff — or learn about the role before choosing between individual contributor (IC) and Manager

03

Design Leads, Managers, and Directors shifting back to hands-on IC work who want to know how their skills translate

In this course, you'll learn to:

Clarify expectations of a Staff+ Designer

Define the role itself, discuss common responsibilities at companies of different scales, and identify the qualities that distinguish a Staff+ Designer from a Senior one. Build confidence to choose between the Staff+ path and Design Management.

Influence strategy as a non-manager

Gain influence at your organization without a Manager or Director title. Level up your executive communication skills. Work across teams to positively impact your company's vision and roadmap at scale.

Shift from reactive to proactive

Set boundaries and manage time effectively so you can make the space to do more strategic design work in a sustainable way (instead of getting stuck in tactical work or endless meetings).

Advocate for the Staff+ Designer role

Articulate the value of this role to executives at companies where it doesn't exist and build out the individual contributor career ladder. Show the impact Staff+ Designers have on experience quality through craft — and business success through innovation.

Identify and fill your own gaps

Push past what's holding you back from reaching the Staff level or succeeding in the role.

This course includes

14 interactive live sessions

Lifetime access to course materials

24 in-depth lessons

Direct access to instructor

6 projects to apply learnings

Guided feedback & reflection

Private community of peers

Course certificate upon completion

Maven Satisfaction Guarantee

This course is backed by Maven’s guarantee. You can receive a full refund within 14 days after the course ends, provided you meet the completion criteria in our refund policy.

Course syllabus

Expand all modules
  • Week 1

    Aug 5—Aug 11

    Week dates are set to instructor's time zone

    Events

    • Aug

      5

      Course Cohort Mixer

      Mon, Aug 5, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM UTC

    • Aug

      6

      Session 1: Set clear expectations

      Tue, Aug 6, 9:00 PM - 10:30 PM UTC

    • Aug

      7

      Bonus Q&A

      Wed, Aug 7, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM UTC

    • Aug

      8

      Session 2: Make space for vision work

      Thu, Aug 8, 9:00 PM - 10:30 PM UTC

    • Aug

      9

      Bonus Q&A

      Fri, Aug 9, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM UTC

    Modules

    • Resources: Set clear expectations

    • Resources: Make space for vision work

  • Week 2

    Aug 12—Aug 18

    Week dates are set to instructor's time zone

    Events

    • Aug

      13

      Session 3: Influence design and product strategy

      Tue, Aug 13, 9:00 PM - 10:30 PM UTC

    • Aug

      14

      Bonus Q&A

      Wed, Aug 14, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM UTC

    • Aug

      15

      Session 4: Broaden your influence

      Thu, Aug 15, 9:00 PM - 10:30 PM UTC

    • Aug

      16

      Bonus Q&A

      Fri, Aug 16, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM UTC

    Modules

    • Resources: Influence design and product strategy

    • Resources: Broaden your influence

  • Week 3

    Aug 19—Aug 23

    Week dates are set to instructor's time zone

    Events

    • Aug

      20

      Session 5: Manage your relationship with executive stakeholders

      Tue, Aug 20, 9:00 PM - 10:30 PM UTC

    • Aug

      21

      Bonus Q&A

      Wed, Aug 21, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM UTC

    • Aug

      22

      Session 6: Build your super-senior career path

      Thu, Aug 22, 9:00 PM - 10:30 PM UTC

    • Aug

      23

      Bonus Q&A

      Fri, Aug 23, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM UTC

    • Aug

      23

      Course Cohort Mixer

      Fri, Aug 23, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM UTC

    Modules

    • Resources: Manage your relationship with executive stakeholders

    • Resources: Build your super-senior career path

  • Post-Course

    Modules

    • 🎉 You're done!

A pattern of wavy dots
Join an upcoming cohort

Staff Designer: Influence & Lead as an Individual Contributor

Cohort 1 - Aug 2024

$799

Dates

Aug 5—23, 2024

Payment Deadline

Aug 5, 2024
|

Bulk purchases

Course format

5–6 hours per week
  • Live sessions

    Tuesdays & Thursdays, 90 mins

    Learn directly from Catt and your peers through 90-minute sessions featuring in-depth lectures with immediately applicable tactics. Sessions will be recorded in case you can't attend live.

  • Bonus Q&A

    Wednesdays & Fridays, 60 mins

    Pop in any time to problem solve with Catt and your peers. These discussions will not be recorded.

  • Social Mixers

    Beginning and end of course, 60 mins

    Connect with your peers and talk shop in small, donut-style group conversations. These optional, social experiences will not be recorded.

Tactical strategies to do your best work

Tactical strategies to do your best work

Real, tested techniques

Communication and leadership tools you can use today, straight from a fellow Staff designer

Interactive sessions and Q&A

Ample time to connect directly with Catt and acquire next steps to resolve your unique issues

Learn with a cohort of peers

Meet and learn from other Staff and Senior Designers solving challenges just like yours

Free resource

Time Management Tools for Designers

Drowning in meetings and tactical design work? You need to regain control of your time so you can do more of the work that matters.


Use this free set of tools to identify opportunities to clean up your calendar, create focus time blocks, and improve at estimating your work. You'll have more time to do more strategic design thinking and set better expectations with cross-functional partners.


Enter your email below to get free printable worksheets and a spreadsheet that is free to copy.

Get access now

What people are saying

        I witnessed Catt lead the strategy, launch, and iteration of a business critical net-new product at Asana. As a Staff Designer, Catt works through complex problems with expert-level prioritization and craft. She's a wonderful mentor to learn from for anyone looking to up-level their skills as a designer, or learn how to work better with design.
Micah Bennett

Micah Bennett

Staff Product Designer at Figma; Ex-Asana
        Catt has consistently been a mentor and source of inspiration to me throughout my career. Her curiosity, creativity, and empathy-first approach make her exceptional as both a designer and leader. She has a wealth of knowledge and tools to help navigate ambiguity and deliver high quality product experiences, and she’s generous about sharing them!
Angira Shirahatti

Angira Shirahatti

Senior Product Designer at DataDog; Ex-Gusto & Etsy
        Catt played a huge role in my transition from the Graphic Design industry to User Experience. The industry wasn’t fully developed yet but Catt had already been focused on UX for years when we met. She created valuable resources, empowered me to explore public speaking at conferences, and consistently has been a soundboard for my career growth.
Lil Chen

Lil Chen

Staff Product Designer at Discord; Ex-Google
        Catt is an immensely talented designer. It’s been impressive to witness how Catt has been committed to deepening her expertise across many aspects of design as well as continue to share her findings liberally with the world. Anyone would be lucky to get to learn from her. I’ve learned a ton from her and look forward to learning more!
Kyle Turman

Kyle Turman

Design at Anthropic; Former Director of Product Design at Slack & Dropbox

Meet your instructor

Catt Small

Catt Small

Catt is a Staff Product Designer, game maker, and developer. With a design career spanning over fourteen years, Catt has done design work for companies of all sizes including Asana, Etsy, SoundCloud, and Nasdaq. She started coding around the age of 10 and designing at the age of 15. She graduated from SVA with a BFA in Graphic Design in 2011 and later received an MS in Integrated Digital Media from the NYU Tandon School of Engineering in 2016. She was a member of Rosenfeld Media’s editorial board from 2018–2019.


As an individual contributor leader, Catt has driven the design and launch of many major product experiences that have impacted millions of people. The experiences she designed have drastically increased UX quality and revenue, unlocked an IPO, won awards, and led to successful patents. She enjoys helping people become their best selves and has proactively mentored many talented designers throughout her career — in addition to over 80 amazing individuals through Merit.


Catt’s work has been covered by many publications including Net Magazine, VentureBeat, BuzzFeed, and Black Enterprise. She has spoken at schools and events across the world including Yale, Columbia University, AIGA Design Conference, Beyond Tellerrand in Germany, UX Week, Microsoft’s Codess Seattle, Google’s WomenTechmakers NYC, and TEDxFoggyBottom. You can view her work at cattsmall.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

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A pattern of wavy dots
Join an upcoming cohort

Staff Designer: Influence & Lead as an Individual Contributor

Cohort 1 - Aug 2024

$799

Dates

Aug 5—23, 2024

Payment Deadline

Aug 5, 2024
|

Bulk purchases

$799

3 Weeks