Building things is my favorite way to learn. Even better when I can build things with people who I can learn a lot from. I took my first programming course in college, which lead to my first Ruby on Rails internship at an analytics aggregation company. That summer, I spent every waking hour learning Rails.
“Do you have any hobbies?” This is a hard question. Over the years, my curious nature has led to paddleboarding, knitting, gardening, speaking Italian, and most recently, the ukulele. Of course, not every hobby becomes a lifelong passion. But I am always up for a new challenge. Read more…
I was dreaming about Aha! long before I knew it existed. Let me explain. It was a cold night in December 2014. I was at a cookie party — you know the kind, where you bake dozens of treats and swap with other guests. I was in the kitchen chatting with a childhood friend of the hostess. We were talking about her job as well as mine.
It all started with Mensa and math. As a kid I loved to solve Mensa puzzles with my dad. I enjoyed the pattern-recognition and problem-solving. So when a high-school math teacher introduced me to programming, I knew I had found an entirely new type of puzzle. And I could not wait to solve it.
I was always told I could do anything I set my mind to. And so I did. Growing up in a small town outside of Athens, Georgia, I tried just about every extracurricular activity you can imagine. Musical theater. Class president. Playing volleyball. Showing dairy heifers.
I love discovering new things. As a kid, I taught myself to program text-based adventure games on a TI-99/4A in BASIC. They were simple clones of games I enjoyed, such as “Colossal Cave Adventure” or “Zork.” Those countless hours of writing, debugging, and (don’t forget!) playing, taught me the foundations of programming.
I was bitten by the coding bug in my youth. When I was eight years old my father brought home an IBM XT. I was immediately mesmerized and spent my afternoons copying BASIC type-in programs from Compute! magazine.
In college I was recruited to be one of the founding members of the St. Edward’s University women’s golf team. It was our job to help build a successful program and recruit even more talented players. Each year we got a little better. Today the program continues to thrive — 2016 was the 10th straight year that the team made it to regionals.
I wanted to design buildings. I love the breadth of skill that architecture requires — a mix of practical and strategic, creative and scientific, and overall leadership and business acumen.
It’s all about the technology, right? Nope. I learned that fast in my first product management role. Product managers need a wide array of skills to be successful. And a lot of those skills involve people. When you factor in that many product managers work within a “responsibility without formal authority” context, having interpersonal skills is essential.
I love to learn. As a young child I discovered reading, music, then dance. In college I pursued geography — the study of “what is where” and why. Pattern recognition and data visualization became second nature.
This is how I became a product manager. I was 24 years old and meeting with the CEO of the startup I had joined a year earlier. I was there to tell him I was interested in an open spot on the quality assurance team. He had another idea. The team needed its first product manager and he said I should consider it.
Product managers are a relatively new position at companies big and small. In order to summarize the very high expectations that come with the role, job descriptions often describe someone with “big vision and the ability to make it a reality.” So how do you determine if someone can see big and work small at the same time?
I accepted my first programming job long before I realized I was an engineer at heart. On that fateful day I was led downstairs, through the basement, into a broken computer storage room, and to a closet door. “Here’s your office!” Read more…
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.