How do big things get built? This question has always fascinated me. My early interest in Legos morphed into an obsession with automobiles. I devoured every car magazine I could find and attended auto shows on weekends. I pursued this passion in college by studying mechanical engineering and interning in the automotive industry. And while I enjoyed the technical aspects of these internships, the work was mostly solitary.
Collaboration and teamwork — for me the best part of building anything is always the people.
So after graduation I pursued a Six Sigma rotational program in supply chain logistics at General Electric. I loved everything about process improvement — using data and statistics to optimize outcomes for the business. But I still felt something was missing. I wanted to find a role that was more oriented around helping people. So I changed direction entirely and decided to try out education as a field.
My goal was to bring my process skills to grade-school education. As the program director at an afterschool program for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade, I worked with kids (and their parents) to reinforce academic skills. It was rewarding work. But I quickly realized that as powerful as it was to invest in young people, I missed collaborating with business colleagues.
So I joined some of my college friends who were working at a financial services company. There was a huge learning curve — I spent a year reading textbooks and teaching myself finance fundamentals so I could better serve clients. At first I was responsible for helping companies manage risk. Then I led a group that used technology to empower our consulting team to better serve their customers.
Establishing processes so that teams could build better products was energizing.
The company kept growing. And I grew with it too. I began working as a product owner on technology initiatives as the company transitioned to agile. For example, I launched a product to help customers adhere to new U.S. regulations under the Dodd-Frank Act. It was thrilling to use technology to streamline complicated processes and assist customers in their daily work.
At this point I had worked in finance for nearly a decade. It was time to explore product roles in other industries. So I spent the next few years working remotely as a product owner — first for IBM, then for a fast-growing human resources software company. I found myself searching for a product management tool that would connect strategy to work and make it easy to create roadmaps to share with stakeholders.
I was amazed when I discovered Aha! — the approach to building lovable products really spoke to me. I did not want to merely use the software. I wanted to be part of the company behind it. The interview process reinforced everything I read about the company. I saw firsthand a genuine commitment to respect, responsiveness, and care for others. And the chance to work with fellow product experts on the Customer Success team was intriguing.
Improving processes, collaborating, and teaching — I found a role that allows me to do it all.
Since joining, I have helped customers ranging from startups to Fortune 10 companies manage their strategy and create roadmaps. It is a privilege to work with incredible teammates who share my passion for building products and serving our customers with integrity. And it is validating to volunteer together at our company onsites as part of Aha! Cares, which is our philanthropic initiative to assist nonprofit organizations around the world.
I love working for a company that prioritizes doing what is right — for our customers, our team, and our communities. Every day I feel grateful that I am able to work with an expert group of co-workers. We are building something meaningful together and helping our customers to do the same.
That is why I joined Aha! — and why you should too.