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Grow your Product Management Career with a Mentor

Posted on 1 April 2014 at 12:56 by Nick Coster

Lately we have been thinking a lot about how Product Managers can grow their careers or how non Product Managers can get in to the profession. In this article we want to relate a success story about a Product Manager in New York who was being mentored by the Brainmates CEO, Adrienne Tan.

Michael Ayoola joined Adrienne in an international mentoring program run by The Product Guy – Jeremy Horn. Michael had just completed an MBA with experience starting and consulting for technology startups in the Greater NYC Area. He enjoys creating solutions for people and products to achieve their full potential.


We interviewed Michael to hear about his experience.

Q – How did you start your career in Product Management?

A – My career started without any acknowledgement of the importance of product management to a company’s success. But I do have experience with project management. After receiving my MBA, I decided to meet with business leaders to acquire their insight on career skill development. Product Management was introduced to me after someone evaluated my current skill set and proclaimed that it was a perfect fit.

Q - What made you decide to get a Product Management Mentor?

A – As a peer mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters, I highly value learning and mentorship. Product Management is one of the few business roles that does not have a straight forward path. I felt I needed someone to help provide structure for success in the role.

Q - How did you meet your Product Management Mentor?

A - Building relationships is very important to me. So, I am a member of several business meetup communities in the NYC area. I was presented with the opportunity to gain a mentor through my favorite meetup “The Product Group” (over 5000 members). I seized the opportunity and interviewed for a position. I am now Adrienne Tan’s (CEO of Brainmates) mentee.

Q - What did you learn from having a Product Management Mentor?

A - Adrienne taught me to trust my instincts, to make an educated decision with the information (data) provided. Product leaders must be aware of how decisions affect the entire company from engineering to sales. But most importantly to treat my career as a product and continue to evolve. I am really grateful for her continued support.

Q - Do you have any advice for other Product Managers wanting to progress their careers?

A - Find a product mentor. If that is not available reach out toa  senior product leader that you can gain insights from. Also as Adrienne, my mentor said, “Treat your career as a product”.


We are very excited when Michael landed his job as a a Product Manager for Dealertrack Technologies. Congratulations Michael!

Tagged in:career, Mentor, product management

Building Your Personal Brand in Product Management – How? (Part 2)

Posted on 25 February 2014 at 9:28 by Natalie Yan-Chatonsky

Personal Band

‘Getting to great means knowing who you are, what you stand for and why…then communicating your brand across everything you do visually, verbally and behaviourally’.

Dan Ratner, CEO of uberbrand, a leading Australian brand agency, provided the above insight at ProductCamp Sydney in 2013, when we were discussing the importance of Brand to drive product success. He was referring to the company and product’s brand but this insight can apply to Product Managers managing their own personal brands.

In Part 1  of this series, we shared 8 reasons why it is important for Product Managers to manage their personal brand.  This article, Part 2, stresses the consequences of not managing your personal brand, and the 6 steps to creating your own brand, to ensure that you can align your stellar professional performance with people’s positive perceptions of you.
Continue reading...

Tagged in:Personal Brand, stakeholder management

A – Z Of Product Management

Posted on 21 February 2014 at 6:05 by Adrienne

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We were inspired by our friends at Unashamedly Creative who put together an A to Z of Freelancing. With a bit of fun and imagination the Brainmates team have compiled our A-Z of Product Management. Please add your own suggestions in the comments.
Continue reading...

Tagged in:product management, Product Management List, Products

Building Your Personal Brand in Product Management – Why? (Part 1)

Posted on 20 January 2014 at 9:22 by Natalie Yan-Chatonsky

Personal BandDuring the busy working life of the Product Manager, there is  little mind space or time to create a clever plan to flaunt one’s Personal Brand in professional networks for the benefit of one’s career.

We outline 8 good reasons why you should be using this time to devise a Personal Brand Plan. For those who want to progress their Product Management career at a dynamic pace, a Personal Brand plan will position yourself in the eyes of your colleagues, industry peers, as well as influencers over the course of your career – those who may hold the keys to future Product Management opportunities.
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Tagged in:Personal Brand, Product Management Career, Professional develo

A Product Manager’s New Year Checklist

Posted on 15 January 2014 at 9:40 by Natalie Yan-Chatonsky

Product Managers love a checklist.

Checklists help Product Managers plan, sort out the urgent from the important, reach milestones, communicate and share their activities. Lifeoptimizer advises that checklists save our brain power for more creative pursuits, saves time and helps us delegate more easily. Importantly, checklists provide us with that feel good, warm glow that comes from ticking items off a list.

What’s on your checklist? Have you thought of everything to add to your checklist to get you off to a flying start this year? Continue reading...

Tagged in:day-to-day product management, Instructions for Product Managers, New product manager, Planning, Product Management Activities, Product Management checklist, productivity