Photo of Shona Brown

Shona Brown

Google Advisor


Shona Brown is a business executive and consultant to non-profits and corporations. She pursued her Bachelor of Computer Systems Engineering at Carleton University, graduating in 1987.

“Earning my engineering degree at Carleton was an instrumental step in developing my critical thinking skills,” says Brown.

Shona Brown bannerShe also holds a master’s degree in Economics and Philosophy from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She received her PhD and postdoctoral degree from Stanford University’s Department of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management.

As a member of Google’s executive team beginning in 2003, Brown’s responsibilities as Senior Vice-President, Business Operations were to build both the People Operations and Business Operations groups. In 2011, she transitioned to a role leading all of Google’s technology for social impact efforts and in January of 2013 she became a Googler Emeritus and moved into an advisory role with the company.

From 1995 until 2003, Brown worked with technology clients in Toronto and Los Angeles on behalf of management consulting firm McKinsey & Company. She became a partner of the firm in 2000.

Brown is a director of several non-profit organizations including The Nature Conservancy, The Bridgespan Group, The Exploratorium, and Code for America. She also serves on the board of PepsiCo.

She is the author of the best-selling business book Competing on the Edge: Strategy as Structured Chaos, which introduced a new strategic model for competing in volatile markets. She has published broadly in both applied and academic journals.

In 2014, Carleton awarded Brown a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, in recognition of her groundbreaking leadership and innovation in engineering, social media and business. In 2009, she received the A.D. Dunton Alumni Award of Distinction—Carleton’s highest alumni honour – in recognition of outstanding achievement.

CNN included Brown as one of four rising stars in their Most Powerful Women in Business section in 2006.