My first coach was my grandmother. Her work ethic inspired me to push hard to achieve my goals, from competitive swimming starting when I was 8 years old to putting myself through college. Over the years, I have been blessed to benefit from the guidance of many mentors. Even my husband and two small children are coaches in their own way, keeping me grounded and focused on the right priorities.
After graduating college with degrees in business and marketing, I was eager to put my education into practice. My first few jobs were in marketing. I enjoyed both the creative and analytical work. However, technology always fascinated me and I wanted to learn more about the growing field of software.
So when I learned of a new opportunity at a leading SaaS vendor management company, I made the switch and joined as a sales configuration engineer. I worked my way up to managing the entire sales support team. I loved being a coach and helping the team achieve new goals. As the company rapidly grew from 50 to 500 people, a new discipline emerged within the organization — product management.
I was fascinated by the opportunity to help guide the direction of the product, not just help customers who were using it.
I also liked that I could apply all the skills I had previously learned, as I worked closely with our development, marketing, and executive teams. Soon I was managing the product management department, which included product managers, product owners, solution architects, and product marketing.
I loved being at the forefront of driving the company’s product strategy forward.
In my time as director of product management, we ranked as a leader in multiple categories in several industry analyst reports. But I wanted to help take our product management discipline to the next level. So I started searching for a better way to manage our strategy and roadmaps.
During a live demo of Aha!, I immediately understood the value it could bring. I implemented Aha! within our organization and worked closely with our CIO to use it for our platform and infrastructure roadmaps. Not only did our company love the tool, but our customers and partners came to love it as well. For the first time, we could easily share visual roadmaps with them and keep them up to date.
I vividly remember sitting in a meeting where a group of customers were asking me how they could utilize Aha! for their organization.
It was inspiring to see the benefits of Aha! within our company and to be at the leading edge of implementing a best-in-class product management tool. I knew the value it delivered in helping companies manage strategy, roadmaps, and reporting.
As any good product person knows, you have to truly believe in what you are delivering to customers. And even though the thought of leaving the product management group I had built over 11 years was difficult, I knew it was time. I wanted to work more closely with customers and share the value I had found.
After applying for an open role on the Aha! Customer Success team, I enjoyed a rapid series of conversations. I immediately knew this was a place I could call home. This is an organization that truly understands and values product management.
I was excited to work with a team of former product managers who have experience across various industries and with different types of products.
Aha! places an emphasis on team-focused values that match my own — a goal-first approach fueled by curiosity, kindness, and hard work. We support and learn from each other. There is not a single day that goes by where I do not learn something new from the incredibly knowledgeable team.
And I get to use that knowledge to help other product management teams build better products and love doing it.
That is why I joined Aha! — and why you should too.