Talks tend to range from 15 - 90 minutes, depending on your needs. Workshops are also available. Topics: Leadership, UX, human centered design, product management, career mobility, stepping into management roles, how to get ahead in your career, and overcoming adversity. Presentations can be customized to your audience and industry. Speaker fees: Reach out to discuss availability and rates. Note: Kara donates 5% of her speaker's fee to veterans charities. (Don't have much of a budget, but think she'll dig your org? Let's chat.)


October 7: Design Summit (private; company event); keynote | Mountain View, CA

October 15: Human centered design workshop; facilitator | San Diego, CA

February 24-26, 2020: Leading Design Conference; speaker | San Francisco, CA

Now booking fall and winter dates! Reach out and let’s chat.


Being interviewed on the Hacking the Red Circle podcast about executive producing TEDxIntuit for six years, and being part of the TEDx family for over 10 years.

Speaking at Curiosities in Park City, UT, Kara tells the stories behind the art of creating a life well lived.

Demonstrating protosketching, an agile software development technique for rapid prototyping, at National Day of Civic Hacking. "From sharpies to code in less than an hour."

At Leading the Product Australia, Kara shares how product managers can set their teams up for success.

It's surprisingly little known: 15% of couples are infertile, and 25-40% of detected pregnancies are miscarried. But no one talks about these things. Until now.

Featured talks

Here are two of the most popular speeches. New talks can be crafted to your audience or organization.

The world's a big place, with lots of exciting things to do and try. Yet as a society we pressure folks to pigeonhole themselves into silos: pick a major, choose an industry, get a 30-year mortgage. Nowhere is this more true than in the world of software engineering, where there is often no clear path from engineer to leader. But what if you want to move around, especially at work? In this talk, learn three key lessons gleaned from over a decade moving seamlessly between the highest levels of tech, entertainment, government, and sports. Kara shares her experiences at the White House, Oscars, Super Bowl, and Silicon Valley, and how you can apply those strategies to your career. 

This talk is 30 - 45 minutes (plus optional 15 minute Q&A).

Health and wellness of an organization's or project's performance can be relatively simple. In a snapshot we can know a lot: dashboards and metrics tell us about how well our work is progressing, what milestones we're reaching, and what color-coded alert state of panic we should be in. And we can optimize our way into just about any green-colored diagram we choose.

Teams, and the humans that comprise them, are fascinatingly complex and complicated. We can fool ourselves into believing all kinds of things about them. And yet, we can't really know for sure unless we dive in deeper and learn about their health, their needs, and try to help them optimize for their individual successes. In this presentation, Kara shares her approach to the care and feeding of humans, sharing lessons gleaned from working at the highest echelons of sports, entertainment, government, and technology.

This talk is 60 minutes (length can be customized; Q&A available).

Select speaking engagements, press, and appearances


  • August 16: Progression Podcast; guest | London, England / San Francisco, CA

  • July 19: UX Happy Hour; speaker | San Diego, CA

  • May 20: Global UX Summit (private; company event); keynote | San Diego, CA

  • April 5: Combine Conference; keynote | Bloomington, IN

  • Feb. 22: TangibleUX Speaker Series; speaker | San Francisco, CA

  • Feb. 6: Fearless: The Art of Creative Leadership with Charles Day; podcast | New York City (podcast)


  • Nov. 14 - 16: Lean Startup Conference; panel moderator | Las Vegas

  • Nov. 8: Berkeley Executive Leadership Program; guest lecturer | Haas Business School at University of California, Berkeley

  • Oct. 10 - 12: Leading Design Conference; speaker | London, England (video)

  • August 9: Chicago Camps: Design Leadership Conference; speaker | Chicago, IL

  • June 27: San Diego Startup Week; keynote | San Diego, CA

  • May 22: Intuit Women's Network; speaker | San Diego, CA

  • May 9: UX Speakeasy: UX Uncensored; panelist | San Diego, CA

  • March 23: Creative Mornings; speaker | San Diego, CA

  • March 6: Designing Women; fireside chat | San Diego, CA


  • Nov. 2: Lean Startup Week; panel moderator | San Francisco, CA

  • Oct. 26: Design Forward 2017; mainstage speaker | San Diego, CA

  • Sept. 28: Hacking the Red Circle: A TEDx podcast; featured guest (audio)

  • Sept. 14: Engineer + product manager conference; keynote | Stockholm, Sweden

  • July 24: UCSD Summer STEM Academy for High School Girls; guest lecturer | La Jolla, CA

  • July 7: The Limit Does Not Exist podcast; featured guest (audio and article)

  • June 27: Cancer Moonshot Summit: One Year Later; panel | Washington, DC (video)

  • June 9: Code Writers Workshop + Conference: Software Leadership in a New Era; keynote | Washington, DC

  • April 9: USC Cancer Hackathon; keynote | Los Angeles, CA

  • March 7: Ladies Get Paid; panel | San Diego, CA

  • Feb. 7: Open San Diego - Code for America Brigade | San Diego, CA

  • Jan. 14: UX Camp DC | Washington, DC (graphic recording)


  • Dec. 6: UC Berkeley MBA for Executives Program Immersion Week | Washington, DC

  • Oct. 25: Leading the Product | Sydney, Australia

  • Oct. 24: Designing Public Services for the Digital Age; panel | Sydney, Australia

  • Oct. 20: Leading the Product | Melbourne, Australia (video and graphic recording)

  • Oct. 3: South by South Lawn (SXSL) | The White House (video)

  • Sept. 28: White House Open Data Summit: How the Cancer Moonshot Uses Open Data; moderator / Washington, DC (graphic recording)

  • July 25: UCSD Summer STEM Academy for High School Girls; guest lecture | La Jolla, CA

  • May 5: Stanford University talk | Palo Alto, CA

  • March 23: The List: Public Speaking 101 - TED style; moderator | online

  • Jan. 27: George Washington University School of Media & Public Affairs; guest lecture | Washington, DC


  • Nov. 8: Curiosities | Park City, UT (video)

  • Nov. 6: ­TE­Dx­Mid­Atlantic­Salon; emcee | Washington, DC

  • Sept. 25: TEDxMidAtlantic; emcee | Washington, DC

  • July 29: UCSD Summer STEM Academy for High School Girls; guest lecture | La Jolla, CA

2014 and earlier

  • TEDxCoMo | Columbia, MO (video)

  • SXSW; panel | Austin, TX

  • UXPA International Conference; workshop + ignite talk | London, England

  • Southeastern Journalism Conference; keynote | The University of Tennessee at Martin

  • TEDxYouthAtBommerCanyon | Irvine, CA (video)

  • FedOSS: Presidential innovation fellows open source all the things | FedScoop interview (audio)

  • Toastmasters Leadership Institute | San Diego, CA