Kathryn Gonzalez

Independent Design & Engineering Director

I help early-stage companies build products with fractional design / engineering leadership and hands-on execution.

Looking for help?

Need help with a project, looking for fractional leadership, or just need some advice? Send me an email with details.

Available Q2 2024
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Image of Kathryn Gonzalez

What I Do:

Fractional Leadership

0 → 1 Strategy

Coaching & Mentorship

Team Building

Design Systems

Design Engineering

Management

Product Design

Hands-On Execution

Definition: Fractional leadership is a way to get the benefits of an experienced leader when you're not at a stage to fully leverage their time.

I can help you build a team, strategize on product direction, and coach your existing leaders to help them grow.

How I Work

  1. Start from First Principles

    I believe that to truly solve a problem, you have to work hard to understand the real context behind it. Nothing matters if you aren't truly grappling with the problem underneath the problem.

  2. People-First Leadership

    Creating enduring, impactful products is a team sport. I believe in building teams that are the right size, comprised of the right people, that care about each other deeply, and that have the space and safety to work creatively and quickly.

  3. Every Problem is a Gem

    Different problems require different approaches. I believe in using the right approach for the job, and that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Knowing how to adapt to each situation is key.

  4. Prototype When You're Stuck

    When the path forward is unclear, exploration through prototyping, sharing internally, testing externally, and iteration is better than over-solving slowly.

  5. Build Systems to Move Fast

    When you know what needs to be done, you need to be able to move fast. I believe in building systems that allow you to move efficiently, and that are flexible enough to change as you learn more.

  6. No Bullshit

    Doing great work is hard enough without having to deal with politics, ego, or other friction. I believe in being direct, honest, and transparent, and that the best work happens when you're working with people you trust.

Fuzzco Logo

Designer & UI Engineer

2012

Fetchnotes Logo

Founding Designer & UI Engineer

2013-2015

DoorDash Logo

First Designer & UI Engineer → Head of Design Infrastructure

2015-2023

About Me

DoorDash hitting it's millionth total order back in 2015.

I joined DoorDash in 2015 as their first designer and frontend engineer after years working in startups and agencies. I worked for 2 years as a lead product designer across Consumer and Merchant products, started their platform product (DoorDash Drive), and led their frontend engineering across audiences.

DoorDash hitting it's millionth total order back in 2015.

I then spent 6 years building and leading their Design Infrastructure org (design systems, design engineering, prototyping, accessibility) — starting as an IC and ending as a manager of managers over an org of 25 people.

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From:Kathryn Gonzalez

Mandue City, Cebu, 10259

Republic of the Philippines

Now, I'm currently figuring out what's next after taking a long break to rest, travel and spend time with the people I love.

P.S. — I'm also an angel investor and advisor to early-stage startups.

Testimonials

Kara Fong

Kara Fong

Senior Design Director at DoorDash
Kathryn's manager 2022-2023

I had the privilege of having Kathryn on my team when I joined DoorDash and I was fortunate to learn a lot from her when I started. It's rare to find a leader who is so humble and puts so much of their heart into what they do. She isn't afraid to roll up her sleeves to get the job done with such careful attention to detail. She's a Swiss Army knife - a high craft designer, passionate systems-thinker, innovative engineer, and a delightful pun master. Kathryn set a strong foundation for craft, quality, and our design systems strategy here at DoorDash. Anyone who has worked with her can attest to the fact that she is an inspiring leader with a wealth of knowledge in how to build products 0-1, design systems, engineering, team management, and beyond.
Lindsey Menges

Lindsey Menges

Engineering Manager, Design Engineering at DoorDash
Managed by Kathryn, 2018-2023

I have learned so much from Kathryn in our time working together - her expert vision, care and compassion as a leader, and deep diligence have helped myself and countless others grow in our careers and the work we do and the products we provide to our users. Kathryn has the rare ability to navigate both the technical, the artistic, and the interpersonal, making her a highly trusted leader and partner for everyone she's brought on board. I know that I would not be half of the professional that I am today without the support, guidance, opportunity, and inspiration she gave me every day.
Emma Bergmann

Emma Bergmann

Product Design Recruiter at DoorDash
Kathryn's Recruiting Partner, 2021-2023

I had the pleasure of working with Kathryn for nearly two years as her Recruiting and Sourcing partner at DoorDash. Kathryn’s truly a dream to work with: she’s engaged and excited, process and systems oriented, open to iterating and testing and first principles driven throughout the hiring funnel. She leans in and leads from the front, and will not ask you to do anything she herself isn’t willing to do as well. She celebrates successes and learning opportunities equally, and genuinely cares about her candidates, colleagues, and clients equally.
Camden Asay

Camden Asay

Design Manager, Design Systems at DoorDash
Managed by Kathryn, 2021-2023

Kathryn is an inspiring leader and thoughtful manager. In my time reporting to her at DoorDash, she set a great example of how to move a design system forward strategically and keep a team motivated to do their best work. I joined DoorDash specifically to work with Kathryn and deepen my understanding of the best ways to build design infrastructure. I have no regrets. I learned much from Kathryn's experience as design-engineer, as well as her years building the design infrastructure team at DoorDash. I would highly recommend working with Kathryn to anyone interested in building UI in a fast and scalable way.
Yarden Eitan

Yarden Eitan

Principal Engineer & Tech Lead Manager, Design Systems at DoorDash
Managed by Kathryn, 2022-2023

I worked with Kathryn as a Design Systems mobile lead while she led Design Infrastructure and was my manager at DoorDash. During that time, I was constantly impressed by her leadership, her deep understanding of design systems, and her ability to inspire and bring the most out of the people she works with. Kathryn is a natural leader. She sets a high standard for herself and her team, and cares a lot about the products and people she collaborates with. She is also a great communicator and showcases great stakeholder management and transparency to her reports.