My Name Is Claudia Petren — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

Claudia Petren

Art was always my favorite subject in school. Throughout my education, I had incredible mentors and teachers. During college, I was able to share these lessons with other students while working for a local non-profit called Generation Communication (GenCom, for short). At GenCom, I led high school students in creating social impact projects, such as recycling awareness and anti-smoking posters for other non-profits.

I saw how design had the power to reach thousands of people and I wanted to continue making an impact with the work I did.

After graduating college and working as a print designer for several years, I went back to school to learn web design. I heard about “user-centered design” that was data-driven and took an immersive course in user experience and interaction design. I immediately fell in love.

I joined an education software company in San Francisco called ZeeMee, where I did user research and worked on the mobile and desktop application for students and counselors. ZeeMee’s mission is simple: Helping students get seen by college admissions. More than 200 schools and students in 140 countries used the app to apply to college.

The work I was doing at ZeeMee was meaningful. But I was ready to move out of the Bay Area, so I started looking for my next career challenge. I was looking for a goal-driven company with an impactful product and a challenging role.

I stumbled upon Aha! during my job search and started to semi-stalk the company. I read blog posts, followed Aha! on LinkedIn and Twitter, read up on the leadership team, went through the entire website, and started a trial. My research verified it was a good fit.

Aha! cared about everything I cared about — culture, respect, growth, and building amazing products.

I heard back quickly after applying. It was clear after my first call with Barbara Dinoff that I wanted to work at Aha!  — she was diligent in going through my entire resume, thorough in answering my questions, and shared her own excitement about the company. After this initial call, I had four additional calls with three other Aha! leaders. Each call was very structured, transparent, and equally exciting.

Every person I talked with during the interview process was clearly a rockstar in their field. They loved working at Aha! and they were all kind.

I was extended an offer and was ecstatic to join the Aha! team. Even before my first day, I received two books to read in my welcome package, which reassured me that the company valued learning and growth. During my first week, Aha! team members went out of their way to welcome me and made me feel right at home.

I get to make an impact and grow my skills every day at Aha! By improving the user experience on our application, I help other companies link strategy to their team’s work and create visual product roadmaps.

Curiosity is an expectation at Aha!  — as a problem solver, I am encouraged to ask a lot of questions and think deeply about how we can help improve people’s lives through technology.

In addition to working on a rewarding product, I have the pleasure to work with amazing people cross-functionally. Not only do I get to work with product managers and designers, but I also get to work with marketers, engineers, and our Customer Success team. Learning about these other disciplines helps me be more effective in my job.

As an added bonus, the work I do ships often! Sometimes designers work on a feature that takes months of work, only to see it keep being pushed back in the release pipeline. That is not the case at Aha! — we work quickly and iteratively. Seeing my work come to life in the application is very rewarding.

That is why I joined Aha! — and why you should too.

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