A Single Mom's Journey into Technical Product Management
Updated: Jul 2
Hi, my name is Adrienne, and I have been in various roles in design, advertising, branding & product growth & tech industries over the last 20 years. Recently I’ve had the opportunity as a product manager to build publicly on an AI Speech Coach Video Conferencing feature with a team of five other PM’s. From initial product ideation through the product life cycle to the launch of our product Proof of Concept demo for beta release, it's been an exciting adventure every step of the way.
My journey to Product Management
As a designer first, my love and approach to products from a design thinking mindset has always been prevalent through out my career. Understanding a user's individual pain points and the problem space associated with it come from my origins in aiming to excel in every area of interest and in creating a diverse portfolio with projects that provided value in each role I’ve served in.
Transitioning into front-end development and web design early on in my career. I loved the pace of start-up life and what the product lifecycle entailed. As an entrepreneur I was awarded multiple recognitions for best new product and honorable mentions at national trade shows during that season of business ownership. Having worn multiple hats and realizing the value that social media brought to my business I transitioned into digital marketing & content creation which led me to become a Sr. Product Designer and Marketing Director for a national franchise where I incubated the product marketing roadmap over an 18 month period which saw our audience grow 625% during that time, and almost doubled our store units opened during my tenure.
When working in that role it became evident that understanding how to attract the right kind of customers wasn’t just about design and product sense, but also about how to develop a GTM strategy that encompassed both growth and retention through the iterative process of creating growth loops with KPIs to better track and analyze our data and how we could refine our targeting to the right audience and audience segmentation via customer journey mapping and a product marketing driven strategy.
After leaving that position, my desire and love of working with founders led me to consulting not just on infrastructure and organizational workflows and ticketing systems for their own product and marketing initiatives, but also in helping founders find product market fit, and realize their product differentiator and product vision so that they could roadmap additional product verticals. This consulting led to additional work in identifying and determining what products to focus on and scale in for growth & monetization as well as Founder visibility efforts both with audience acquisition and also in retention.
At the time I was managing multiple private clients in serving as their product and GTM and growth strategy consultant across multiple channels and in establishing refined design systems, and workflows to help them better scale and prioritize.
The defining moment that kickstarted my journey into product management…
was the realization that I didn’t want to do just one specialized role for the remainder of my career. I knew I wanted to position myself in a more technological space. At 40, I was looking to connect my vast experiences into one larger role that encompassed 20 years of building.
This led to my research in wanting to know how I could do this in a more technological space for for technical products either as a product manger, product growth strategist or in business operations as a lead in a product focused org.
When I started to refine my goals for the next 20 years the steps I took were to determine if I needed additional post grad education, what I could do to fill in some of the gaps, and lastly identify what technological sector did I wanted to work in.
This led me to start studying for MBA school at the height of the pandemic, and considering a handful of programs. However it seemed that even as people went through those programs, they lacked real-world experience working on technical products even after exiting MBA school. There were bootcamps, and certifications but none offered that real world experience with the exception of PMDojo.
I knew I wanted to be either in product in artificial intelligence, UX or UXR, machine learning or blockchain products.
When visiting with MBA schools and programs it was evident that the only education I could get on product in blockchain and web3 would be to dive into that ecosystem. After months of studying, interviews and deliberations, I decided to enroll in PMDojo’s product accellerator to get the experience in the industry track in building on a real AI based product.
I also jumped into a handful of web3 DAO’s (Odyssey DAO as Growth Lead) for the best Web3 education for career professionals wanting to transition into Web3. Odyssey's founder and leads was a collection of Sr. PM’s & Product Designers which really got me excited early about the space as I started learning everything I could about DAO’s, blockchain, and product within a decentralized ecosystem.
I attended the Women In Product 2022 Conference on scholarship for 2022 & the Inclusive Product Management Summit as well on scholarship. Early into 2022 as MBA application deadlines neared, I ended up passing on the MBA in realizing that I was ready to build more complex products now as I repackaged my experiences while I transitioned into web3 and focused on building in the PMDojo product accellerator.