“We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” — Max De Pree, founder of Herman Miller. This is one of my dad’s favorite quotes. He has often said those words to me when I have faced obstacles — encouraging me to learn from my experiences and move forward.
As a result, I have made it a goal in my life and career to constantly push myself to grow.
Growing up, I played competitive sports — soccer, basketball, and swimming. I loved pushing myself to be the best (especially on co-ed teams!) but I never liked the adrenaline that came with competition. My personality was more collaborative than competitive.
When I went to university to study chemical engineering, I once again found myself in a competitive environment. It seemed to me that everyone was competing to be the best — rather than helping each other learn. So after graduation, I sought out more collaborative work as a project manager at Bell Canada.
After working there for a few months, I was approached by an executive who felt I could contribute more to the company in a different role. He suggested that I pursue a certificate in product management (it was actually called “business analysis” at the time). I was eager to learn a new skill, so I took his advice.
Looking back, my dad also played a motivating role in this decision. Without his encouragement, I am not sure I would have taken the leap into an unknown area or pushed myself to learn a challenging new skill.
At the time, product management was an entirely new field — there was a lot to learn and not yet many people to learn from.
I worked as a business analyst and product manager for a few big companies in Canada, including SiriusXM and Paypal. These experiences were just what I needed to grow my skills — I quickly learned how to launch and optimize product. I was ready for a new challenge and moved to San Francisco to work in the startup space.
I worked in product leadership roles at a few different startups focused on identity protection products. I had learned a lot about working collaboratively to help create successful requirements. But I was ready to move back to Canada. I had been away from home for nearly seven years and I wanted to be closer to my family.
Fortunately, I was able to make the move and keep working remotely. Little did I know, another big move was about to happen: The startup I was working for got acquired. It was an exciting time and I moved into a program manager role to help with the post-merger integration.
I loved the experience, but I knew I wanted to get back to product management. As I was looking for remote opportunities in product, I found Aha! — I could not believe there was an entire company dedicated to helping product managers. I was struck by all the resources, from the product itself to an online community and even an entire product management guide.
I could see that this was a company made up of product experts. I knew I wanted to be part of it.
During the interview process, I talked with smart, kind, and ambitious people. But what really blew me away was the humility. Here was a team of people with incredible backgrounds (yes, I looked them all up on LinkedIn!) who were not hoarding their knowledge, but instead actively sharing it with the team and other product managers.
I joined the Customer Success team — I especially loved the concierge service we offer and being able to help customers be even more successful. Just recently, I moved over to the product team. I am really grateful that I get to be part of this mission. We are helping product managers to build products that their customers love and be happy doing it.
Every day, I am challenged to grow and find new ways to serve fellow product managers. And the best part is that I am not in it alone — I have a whole team alongside me. Everyone is dedicated to working hard for our customers and for each other. We are always better today than we were yesterday. This makes me (and my dad) proud.
That is why I joined Aha! — and why you should too.