Leah McDougald


Leah McDougald
Founder, McDougald Research

Leah is a qualitative researcher and strategist from Columbus, Ohio. She founded McDougald Research in 2014 when she identified a need for research efforts to be more inclusive and complementary to business' strategic initiatives. She has built deep relationships with companies who seek connection with their customers and are willing to creatively explore the potential to design products and services that people value. Leah's 16 years of design research experience and a background in Sociology provide her with a unique combination of empathy and creativity. She has a knack for building rapport while conducting research and is able to translate data in a way that encourages action and inspires collaboration. The result is focused innovation and a deeper appreciation for the customer experience. Leah is a seasoned presenter and has spoken at several industry events including SXSW Interactive, provides mentorship to local startups, and guest lectures at schools including The Austin Center for Design, CCAD, and The Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business.


Women in Design Deep Dive 2020 Session Description

Building a Culture of Empathy

Empathy is not a new word in innovation, especially not for me. I have been using this word to justify what I do for a living and why I love it for a long time. In this talk, I will explore how Design Research, Marketing, and Business have evolved to a place where moments of empathy are not enough. Building and committing to a Culture of Empathy may be our lifeline to all things, from ethical design to surviving social media.