In celebration of International Women’s Day this post is about some awesome women in Product. Sadly, I can’t feature them all because, believe me when I say, there are A LOT.
Instead, I’ll throw a spotlight on a selection who repeatedly wow us with their product brilliance and their commitment to the product community.
In no particular order (they’re equally brilliant), here goes.
Teresa is an awesome Product Discovery Coach who helps teams gain valuable insights from customer interviews, run effective product experiments, and drive product outcomes that create value for their customers and their businesses. She teaches teams how to connect the dots between their research activities and their product decisions, inspiring confidence that they are on the right track.
In 2020, Teresa joined us for this Prioritised AMA, where she talked about discovery. From how to keep track of your team’s discovery efforts and why the process of discovery is just so damn hard, to effective ways to share discovery results and tips on taking your stakeholders along on the discovery journey with you.
“There are two questions that every product team should ask in their retrospectives,” she told us. “When was the last time you talked to a customer? What did we learn this week that surprised us? If the answer to the second question is nothing, they’re not doing good discovery. Then, for all the things that they did learn / that surprised them ask: How could you have learned that sooner? This is one of the best ways for a team to iterate on their own discovery process.”
Teresa also unpacks some of the ideas behind a cross-functional team-based approach to continuous product discovery in her 2021 #mtpcon Digital APAC keynote Getting to a team-based approach to continuous discovery by Teresa Torres.
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Ezinne is VP Product Management at Procore Technologies and has extensive, hands-on experience in new product development for consumer and platform products. Best described as a multi-disciplined business leader and general manager with a unique balance of creative, technical and management experience, Ezinne is a Product pro to look up to.
In this #mtpcon London, Ezinne explains that it’s vital for product managers to create the right conditions for their teams to be successful. She examines the ways in which this can be achieved starting with slowing down. “It’s vital to “slow down and put our humanness in the forefront of our interactions,” she said. Noted, the brakes are on! Watch the talk
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Silvia is CTO at Zalora, the leading fashion e-commerce company in South East Asia. Before joining Zalora, she managed the product team at Glossybox and was the country manager for Japan at Sellaband. Over the years, Silvia’s shared her insights and graced the #mtpcon stage to talk about The State of Product Management in AsiaPac: “Seeing the speed with which the industry has changed – it has been amazing to be a part of, so I’m really positive about it,” she said.
Silvia is also a co-organiser of ProductTank Singapore, something she feels passionate about. Her involvement came about when she was growing a team in Singapore. She went out to meetups to explore the product community but, to her surprise, the community was fairly small, so she started attending local meetups, and later began helping the organisers at her local ProductTank. “I was starting to give back and to see how we could grow this community.” Read more from Silvia in Nurturing Local Talent.
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Christina’s resume includes re-design and initial product offerings with LinkedIn, MySpace, Zynga, Yahoo! and others, as well as founding three startups, an online design magazine called Boxes and Arrows, and co-founding the Information Architecture Institute.
She uses the power of story to connect with audiences and readers through her worldwide speaking engagements and her Amazon category-bestselling books. Her bestselling book, Radical Focus, tackles the OKR movement and startup culture with an eye to getting the right things done. Her other books include The Team that Managed Itself, Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web and Pencil Me In (on visual thinking for the workplace).
In this episode of The Product Experience Podcast, Christina tells us about her book, The Team That Managed Itself, in which, she explains, she draws on her own experiences, telling the story of Allie, a product lead who has to step up and learn to manage a team effectively. It goes well beyond analytics, frameworks, and agile and is definitely worth a read!
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Asha Haji is the Co-Founder and COO at Founders Academy and has spent her career developing transformative products and experiences at the intersection of people, technology, and education. She is simply passionate about bringing together great people to solve the most complex problems.
In Asha’s November 2020 #mtpcon Digital keynote, The Anatomy of a Pivot, Asha shares her recent experience of a pivot. She talks about what drives a pivot, how to decide what to pivot to, and how to manage your pivot once it’s started.
You can also check out Asha’s very popular ProductTank London talk – Leveling Up in the Product World, where she explains how and why to treat your product management career like a video game.
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Kriti Sharma is the Founder of AI for Good, an organisation focused on building scalable technology solutions for social good. In 2018, she also launched rAInbow, a digital companion for women facing domestic violence in South Africa. But that’s not all! Kriti was recently named in the Forbes “30 Under 30” list for advancements in AI, was appointed a United Nations Young Leader in 2018, and is an advisor to both the United Nations Technology Innovation Labs and to the UK Government’s Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation.
In her thought-provoking keynote from #mtpcon London, Can AI Create a Fairer World?, Kriti discusses the impact of artificial intelligence on decision making and what we, as product people, should be doing to ensure this decision making is ethical and fair.
Follow @sharma_kriti on Twitter.
Co-founder of Different, Mina, started her career as a business analyst for Goldman Sachs. She later joined Google as a member of the Associate Product Management program, before moving to ModCloth as one of their first product managers. But, Mina’s impressive product management record doesn’t end there. As the very first product manager at Uber, she was employee #20 when the UI was still a big green button. While at Uber she led initiatives such as new driver on-boarding and the addition of other types of car services. As one of the five inventors of Uber’s surge pricing, she is a joint holder of its 2013 patent.
Mina also served as an entrepreneur-in-residence at startup investment firm Redpoint Ventures, and as a Product Management Special Adviser to Cowboy Ventures. She advises, mentors and works with portfolio companies on product questions, both big and small.
In this Prioritised AMA she tells us about building a startup and shares her advice on hiring product teams. In 10 Product Lessons From Product Leaders, Asha also reveals her biggest lesson of 2020 – how to connect with your users on an emotional level.
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They say you shouldn’t toot your own horn so I’ll do it for her. Emily Tate is our very own Managing Director and, prior to joining Mind the Product, spent over 10 years in product leadership as a consultant with Pivotal Labs and product manager in the travel industry. She started her career managing software solutions for airlines before taking her experience to the traveller’s side of the journey as the product manager for a leading travel management app, TripCase. Emily is passionate about the craft of product management and loves talking about new ways to make products people love. She was listed as one of “52 Women Making an Impact in Product Management.”
In this MTP Engage Manchester talk, Emily describes how, as product people, we often find ourselves stuck in the middle of difficult negotiations, and while making everyone happy isn’t our goal, mastering stakeholder management is key to building successful products.
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Petra Wille is an independent product management consultant and product discovery coach. She loves to help her customers build products and teams from scratch. Alongside her freelance work, Petra co-organises and curates MTP Engage Hamburg (so she’s pretty special to us).
In November 2020, Petra wrote A Complete Guide to Developing Great Product Managers, exclusive for MTP Leaders. In it she shares chapter 11 (How to Find the Time?) of her book Strong Product People: A Complete Guide to Developing Great Product Managers. This particular chapter Petra added to the book at the eleventh hour. “It really was written last minute!” she told us. “Other chapters had been long done at that point in time but I’d received feedback from the 38 people who reviewed the book for me, half of whom said it was a nice book and an important topic but that something was missing. They were left wondering ‘how do I find the time for all of my people and to coach them properly?’”
Not an MTP Leader? No Problem. You’ll find plenty more incredible content from and featuring Petra on the Mind the Product site. Learn about her career in Petra Wille: A Social Creature and check out this podcast episode to learn from Petra why you don’t need to worry about being cool. Thank goodness.
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Kathy Pham is a computer scientist, product leader, and founder with experience across the private and public sectors, and a love for developing products, building and leading teams, data, healthcare, and weaving public service and advocacy into all aspects of life. Her expertise lies at the intersection of technology, ethics, and responsibility, with a focus on ethical principles in practice in product management, design, and engineering.
In this Product Ethics panel for Mind the Product members, Kathy joins Martin Eriksson, Cennydd Bowles, and Pavani Reddy to discuss ethical product practice. You can also see Kathy reflect on the importance of asking societal and ethical questions in product organizations in her keynote, Product, Society, and Ethics from #mtpcon San Francisco.
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Janna Bastow, one of the co-founders of Mind the Product, is truly passionate about the Product community. She kicked off her first event for product people with ProductCamp London in 2010, in an effort to meet and learn from other product managers and, as a product manager always looking for better tools, Janna also co-founded ProdPad, product management and roadmapping software for product people.
In her keynote, Decisions, Debt, and Other Dilemmas, at #mtpengage Manchester 2020, Janna discusses how in tech, optimising debt is essential to building the perfect product. You can also browse a selection of Janna’s posts on Mind the Product including the popular You Can’t be Lean Unless You’re Agile and Free Your Product Roadmap and Ditch the Timeline.
Follow @simplybastow on Twitter
Rosemary King is a product leader who has specialised in software development, agile enablement and lean methodologies for more than 10 years. She has worked across diverse domains including government, finance, retail and enterprise, and is currently Head of Product Management at ReceiptBank.
We were lucky enough to have Rosemary on the Mind the Product team for a number of years and you’ll find plenty fo content from Rosemary to enjoy across the site. See Rosemary in conversation with Papa Akuffo on the episode of Mindset, Being Empowered To Manage Your Stakeholders and read her post How do you Build a Qualitative Data Lake?.
Melissa Perri is the CEO of Produx Labs, a Product Management consultancy, and the author of Escaping the Build Trap. As a consultant, Melissa works with executives worldwide to set up their product organizations, advise on product strategy, and grow product leaders into Chief Product Officers.
In her MTP Engage Manchester talk, The Product of You, Melissa describes how you should start investing energy in “the product of you” and plan your career ascent to product leader. You can also listen to Melissa on the episode of The Product Experience – The ABCs of Product, where she covers a whole host of topics, from product leadership, team organisation and how companies scale, to how to pick the right environment for you.
Follow @lissijean on Twitter