I grew up in paradise on the island of Maui. I was surrounded by natural wonders and many different cultures. But early on, I realized how important it would be to get out and see other locations, cultures, and people. In high school, I had the opportunity to attend a month-long program at The University of California in Los Angeles. Listening to lectures from executives at companies like Coca-Cola and Smucker’s, I started to get excited about the off-island world.
I knew right then that I wanted to expand my own business knowledge — I also knew that I would have to leave Hawaii for a while to do so.
I attended the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. I initially pursued engineering but eventually switched to a management information systems degree. I liked how solutions-oriented the studies were — combining business and technology to address real-world problems.
After graduating, I moved to San Francisco and joined Accenture as a consultant. Over the next eight years, I put my degree to good use, working with clients such as Apple and Electronic Arts to set strategy and grow their businesses. I spent three of those years working directly with Netscape, as the company grew from 200 people to more than 2,000.
It was a period of growth for me too. I won an integrity award for how I turned around a situation with an unhappy client. And I greatly expanded my knowledge in a number of areas — new technologies, company structures, and an emerging methodology that I later recognized as agile. I took great pride in doing high-quality, high-visibility work.
My time consulting kept me moving forward — I was always learning and evolving.
I loved working with clients to create real solutions. But I found myself moving away from the creation side of things and more into management and sales. So, I left Accenture and joined a fledgling software company as a product manager. The combination of business, strategy, and technology was a natural fit for me.
After a few years there, the company was acquired and changed locations. And I decided to take some time off for my daughter’s birth. When I re-entered the workforce, I was refreshed and ready for my next challenge — this time, at a new agile development management startup. I had worked with the founders while at my previous company and wanted to help them grow this new venture.
In the beginning, I wore almost every hat that you could imagine. Not just product management, but also testing, marketing, support, sales, and engineering management. But as the team grew, I focused on product management — helping to build the team and drive the direction of the product. I prided myself and our team on our innovation and ability to create broad solutions with a relatively smaller team than the competition.
I soon found myself revisiting a long-held dream — to bring all the knowledge I had gained over the years back to Maui.
I also wanted to give my kids the opportunity to grow up in this unique place. I was fortunate that company leaders supported me working remotely, allowing me to continue my role as director of product management from Hawaii. This was especially fortunate because remote work was the exception — not the rule.
After working there for 13 years, the company was acquired. It seemed like the right time for me to make a change too. When I heard about a role on the Aha! Customer Success team, I started to research the company and software — I could see this was a team that valued long-term growth and individual expertise.
As I began the interview process and started speaking to some Aha! teammates, I got a feeling that these were kindred spirits. Each person was bright, enthusiastic, and interesting. I really liked what they had to say about the strong relationships that came from working in Customer Success. It reminded me of what I loved about consulting — working with clients to create real solutions. This was the opportunity I was looking for.
Now that I work at Aha!, I get to leverage my experience as a consultant and a product manager — taking all the knowledge I have gained and sharing it with others.
Every day I get to work with customers to provide guidance on their own internal processes, team structures, and product management best practices. It is fulfilling to pass on my expertise and help customers reach their goals. And since the Aha! team is fully distributed, I am no longer the remote work exception — we are the rule. Each one of us gets to work from where we are happiest.
For me, this is back home on Maui. I am surrounded by close family and am giving my kids the chance to grow up the way I did. After years of expanding my knowledge off the island, I finally get to circle back to it — bringing home all that I have learned.
That is why I joined Aha! — and why you should too.