My Name Is Nicole Wosje — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

Nicole Wosje Wayra

I was inspired by my parents. Whether they were delivering food after a life event or shoveling snow for an elderly neighbor, helping those in need was part of their daily routine. The example they set led to my lifelong passion for volunteering and mentorship — a passion that led me to Aha!

In college, volunteering with Campus Red Cross and mentoring junior-high students expanded my worldview. My perspective widened more when an advisor told me about a new management information systems (MIS) program in the business school. You see, I had started out in computer science, with a goal of business/tech education in mind.

I had never heard of MIS before, but it turned out to be a perfect fit for me. It blended technical aptitude with business strategy and soft skills.

I was fortunate to be chosen from hundreds of applicants to intern at Accenture in Kansas City. And I went to work there after college. I credit the training I received at Accenture for being able to speak with front-line teams up to C-level executives very quickly in my career. However, after three years and the prospect of ceaseless business trips, I was ready for a change.

I accepted a product management role at Perceptive Software. Six years later the company sold for $280 million to Lexmark. Along the way, I led the organization’s transition from a product focus to a solution focus. I was promoted to vice president of global solutions, one of the youngest VPs in the company’s history. And I became a passionate proponent of diversity in the workplace as the executive sponsor for the Women @ Work group in the software division.

Throughout, I got to experience a high-growth, high-performance culture and be part of the team shaping it. I also traveled to places I never thought I would see (multiple times!) and work with people across different cultures.

The Lexmark acquisition brought big opportunities. But there were some changes, too. Eventually, I realized I was in an executive bubble — communicating solely with other execs through the weekly meetings, status updates, and loads and loads of presentations. I was hungry to get hands-on and have a meaningful impact on an organization.

I joined an emerging cloud-based parcel intelligence company, leading the product management group. As I dove into the work, I knew there had to be a better way. I did not want to default to the mix of text docs, spreadsheets, presentations, and wikis I had used in the past.

Although I loved the complexity of product management, I was frustrated with the mindset of the Minimum Viable Product. I came across an Aha! blog post about the Minimum Lovable Product and it spoke to me. I wanted to build products that customers loved instead of merely tolerated.

Reading about the Aha! approach set alight a desire to find a role that would blend those skills I had honed as a product manager and company leader with my love of mentorship.

Besides, I was tired of a knuckle-gripping commute to pick my son up from school on time. So I started my job search with “remote product manager.” I saw a posting at Aha! and stopped there. I read Melissa Hopkins’ post about why she joined — it stood out. Her words could have been written by me.

I soon experienced how responsive Aha! is when I heard from Jamey Iaccino in less than two hours and spoke with him that evening. Before I knew it, I was speaking with co-founder and CEO Brian de Haaff. He paid close attention to my background and my passions. He suggested I consider another role — leading Operations and People Success at Aha!

The chance to bring together operations, mentorship, and product management at a fast-growing software company? It could not get more perfect than that.

Since joining, I have found it can be hard to explain what life is like at Aha! — there are no games, no hidden agendas. Complete transparency. An incredibly high-performing team. I believe that’s all possible because of The Responsive Method.

I also get to incorporate what I loved about product management into my new role. We all operate from a goal-first mindset. We are all curious. We value decisiveness and kindness. I’m surrounded by intelligent, hard working people. And I have the honor of supporting their happy growth at Aha! and finding more team members to join us on this journey.

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

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