June 7th / 42 min

IBM’s Katrina Alcorn: Developing partnerships

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Katrina Alcorn

Katrina Alcorn

General Manager of Design, IBM
About The Episode

If you lead a team of over 700 people, what skills would you need to bring to the table to help them collaborate effectively? In today’s episode, we chat with Katrina Alcorn, General Manager of Design at IBM, about how she develops partnerships across her organization to resolve conflicts and get aligned.

We also talk to Katrina about the challenges that large teams face in remote and hybrid environments, how her training in journalism influences her work as a leader, and what she learned about living a balanced life from writing her book Maxed Out: American Moms on the Brink.


Katrina Alcorn spent the first decade+ of her career as a consultant, leading strategic design and research initiatives for startups, non-profits, and Fortune 500s in a variety of industries including financial services, medical devices, energy, e-commerce, the arts, and education. 

In 2015 she went “in-house” and learned what it means to be a change-maker from the inside. Katrina built two successful design practices, the first at Hot Studio (bought by Facebook in 2013) and the second at Autodesk, centralizing all digital design and research functions, leading to major improvements in e-commerce sales and customer satisfaction.

Meet Your Hosts

Aarron Walter
VP of Design Education

Aarron Walter is Director of Product on the COVID Response team at Resolve to Save Lives. Previously, he was VP of Design Education at InVision, and founded the UX practice at Mailchimp where he helped grow the product from a few thousand users to more than 10 million. He’s the author of a number of books, the latest of which is a second edition of Designing for Emotion. Aarron’s design guidance has helped the White House, the US Department of State, and dozens of major corporations, startups, and venture capital firms.

You can find Aarron on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Eli Woolery
Director of Design Education

Eli is the Director of Design Education at InVision. His design career spans both physical and digital products, and he has worked with companies ranging from startups (his own and others) to Fortune 500 companies.

In addition to his background in product and industrial design, he has been a professional photographer and filmmaker. He teaches the senior capstone class Implementation to undergraduate Product Designers at Stanford University. You can find Eli on Twitter and Medium.

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Uncover insights from the world’s top designers and creatives

In our sixth season, we’re looking beyond the design team to explore the far reaches of collaboration, and we’ll surface a cross-disciplinary approach to doing complex work with diverse teams.