I have spent a lot of time working to be a better product builder. I set goals and did everything I could to perform at my best. Each opportunity was more exciting than the last and I propelled both my skills and my career forward.
My route to product management was unique, to say the least: I won two Olympic medals in swimming; started and sold two businesses; managed web properties for a world-renowned sports agency; and led product for a company backed by an early investor in Facebook.
On the surface, it may seem that I have been incredibly successful.
I would tend to agree with that statement — at times I have been at the top of my game. My experiences have been meaningful and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. But individual success is not always as rewarding as it seems.
As my career progressed, I was always searching for what was next. But I never stopped to consider what should be next. There is a subtle difference. So, over the past year and a half I began to think about why I succeeded in the past and what success looked like for me in the future.
I began to analyze where I wanted to go personally and professionally.
As I pondered my next move, I realized I wanted to be closer to my family and to help others find pleasure in their journey to success. After reading about Aha! on a website dedicated to remote companies, I came across a blog post titled “This is Why I Joined Aha!” — I read another, then another.
The posts written by Aha! employees easily could have been written by me, they resonated that deeply. I realized that while the experiences of each person differed, the reasons why they joined Aha! shared a common theme — a passion for changing how companies innovate and build products.
I too wanted to support an extended family of colleagues, friends, and customers to reach their goals. It was no longer just about finding that next hot startup, managing a larger team, or getting a larger budget.
More than anything, I wanted to help others be great at building their own products each and every day.
My athletic success was always driven by the people around me: coaches, teammates, and competitors. As I spoke with different people at Aha! during my interview process, I knew that I had found incredible teammates who would push me in similar ways. I also knew that Aha! was the extended family I wanted to join.
After that year-plus of introspection, I can finally articulate the intangible I was trying to nail down. My own success has never been most rewarding to me — my reward has been the success of others around me. Watching their victories — small and large — inspires me. Being part of that journey gives me satisfaction. It’s like being the proud parent that I am, and experiencing the wonderful journey of life through my children’s eyes as I do each and every day.
As part of the customer success team at Aha! — which is made up entirely of talented former product managers — I get to help innovators at many of the world’s greatest companies. I get to see accomplishment through their eyes.
I spend my days working to support product teams at amazing companies who are doing fascinating work. This is what drives me and defines my success: Knowing that I am helping to change the world by helping others do incredible things.
That is why I joined Aha! — and you should, too.