How I became a product manager and other fun facts.
I haven’t always been a product manager.
Before I joined Pear Deck, I did a bit of everything UX-related:
- UI coding
- web design
- project / program management
- website translation management
- email marketing
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- client-facing UX design discovery and strategy
- information architecture
- polished wireframes
- interactive prototypes
- persona research and creation
- experience mapping, etc.
- personalization strategies
Many of those skills and experience were polished and refined during the 3 years I worked at a creative and development agency that served health plans and hospital systems. Before that, I had spent more than 10 years in the education industry.
Joining Pear Deck
In June of 2017 I joined Pear Deck, a local start-up, as a Senior UX Designer and team lead on the Product team as employee #16. At an early-stage start up, each employee wears multiple hats and makes huge contributions to the growth of the company.
Joining Pear Deck was the next evolution in my career. Pear Deck allowed me to take on new challenges in:
- UX design for SAAS software
- cross-functional team management
- market and user research
- and ultimately product management
Becoming a Product Manager
I have been a Product Manager with Pear Deck since the summer of 2018.
I’m proud to say in the past few years, Pear Deck’s staff grew from under 20 to 86, before we merged with another successful ed tech company called GoGuardian at the end of 2020.
2020 was a challenging, sad, and frustrating year for a lot of people in a lot of ways, but also a year of tremendous growth for me personally and professionally.
For more about what I’ve been working on lately, see my portfolio.
Approach as a Product Manager
Empathy is my super power. I’m good at a lot of things, but I’ve learned that a product manager with a strong sense of empathy—for customers and colleagues—achieves the best results. A team diverse personalities, concerns, and unique skills and passions can come together to do truly amazing things. It’s awesome and humbling to be a part of that process.
There’s an old saying, “Curiosity killed the cat.” That is definitely not true in product management. At every step of every project, every day, we must challenge ourselves to ask “Why?” until we are confident we understand the problem. This curiosity allows us to make something that transcends ‘good’ to ‘great,’ and allows us to inspire everyone around us to work towards a common goal and understanding.
Fun Facts that have nothing to do with product management
I’m passionate about equity in tech.
For six years, I served as executive director for a local non-profit meant to help girls in grades 5-8 discover and fall in love with coding and tech, called Iowa Tech Chicks. We did many things, but our flagship event was called Girls Tech Career Day. We held it every fall for girls from area schools.
I’m a voracious reader.
My spouse works at the local library, so I considered myself a bit spoiled when it comes to reading material. New and interesting books show up on the nightstand on a regular basis. My favorite genres are fantasy, horror, and sci-fi, but I’ll read just about anything that ends up on the nightstand.
Want to know more? Get in touch on LinkedIn.