Language has always fascinated me. It is a tool for communication that allows people to convey their ideas, needs, and wants. I studied modern languages (French and Japanese) at university — it gave me a deep appreciation of what it takes to understand others and made me more intentional about how I communicate in English as well.
I learned how important it is to actively listen, keep an open mind, and ask questions to reach a point of common understanding.
Right after university, I was recruited into a graduate training program with Syntegra, the systems integrations arm of British Telecom. When our team completed personality assessments, my description stuck with me: “People of this kind are patient and sympathetic listeners with a real interest in the problems and feelings of others.”
At the time, it made me question whether a career in business was right for me. But the lasting impact was to instill a steely conviction that, while yes, business is about making money — the human-centric aspect should be at the heart of what a company is trying to achieve. Profit should be the outcome of solving customer problems.
I find that while technology can do amazing things, it lacks true meaning unless it is making a difference in someone’s life.
For most people, I believe that learning about the experience of others is a powerful influencer when it comes to purchasing a product. This is why, as I carved out a career in product marketing, I felt like my work was aligned with my strengths. It is also why I always found myself gravitating to customer research and advocacy programs.
When I moved to California from the U.K. in 2000, I started working for a small company that built a Java performance profiling tool — I loved talking to software developers and hearing how our product was solving their coding challenges.
Over the next decade, I worked on product marketing teams at Borland, EMC Data Domain, VersionOne, and LeanKit. At both VersionOne and LeanKit, I was able to use the product for my own work, just like customers did. I enjoyed representing products that were purpose-built to solve a problem — agile workflows at VersionOne and kanban at LeanKit.
In 2017, changes at LeanKit presented the opportunity to make a career move. During that summer, I took four months off to spend time with my family, travel abroad, and think about what I wanted to do next.
I was not willing to settle for a company that did not reflect my values or a product that I was not passionate about.
I had been researching the product management space as an area of keen interest when I came across a job posting from Aha! on a remote work website. As a product marketer, I have always worked alongside product managers, so I could relate to many of their joys and challenges. It was clear to me that Aha! is changing the way companies innovate and driving thought leadership in this area. I have also worked remotely for the past 11 years, so the fact that the entire company is distributed appealed to me.
Since joining, I have loved working on go-to-market launches and communicating directly with customers to share their success stories. I also enjoy being able to use the application myself — we manage all of our marketing activities in Aha!
And the company culture at Aha! has exceeded my expectations at every level. I have been challenged to produce great work, developed meaningful relationships, laughed until I have cried, and even jumped fully-clothed into a pool with my co-workers. I am thrilled to be here. Despite our far-flung locations, we truly all speak the same language.
That is why I joined Aha! — and why you should too.