What You Can Learn from Female Product Leaders

Key insights from product-oriented minds gathered on Clubhouse

When a group of female experts in product development gathers online, you might be surprised by the range of routes they took to reach their current roles. But what’s even more surprising is the similarity of realizations once they have professionally “arrived.” Across the board, they shared that it took plenty of motivation, bravery, learning, and networking.

“Don’t stop unless it’s great.” — Kristina Walcker-Mayer

Darja Gutnick from Bunch AI helps future leaders grow. Reflecting on her own path, she says: “If you have ideas on how to solve the problem, stay close to the product. Think about your vision & why you are motivated, write it out and keep it holy….Have the courage to put your vision on the table and document it.” She credits one of her team members as being part of the source of these realizations. Darja adds that to be stellar at product, you should “adopt a servant mindset: be ready to solve problems, serve others and have empathy for customers.” She also offered an HR tip: employers & startups can use this “servant mindset” framework when recruiting for product people. Ask potential employees who will work on a product to describe an experience of when they successfully served someone else? This helps you see how they dive into problems to serve others, a critical aspect of good product development.

“If you have ideas on how to solve the problem, stay close to the product. Think about your vision & why you are motivated, write it out and keep it holy.” - Darja Gutnick

Emily Tate, Managing Director of Mind the Product, suggested owning your talent and skill, saying “don’t let imposter syndrome or doubt” overtake your path. She learned the hard way to mostly listen to people who tell you that you are ready, and not those who say: wait, first, you must do this or that. She encourages people to ensure an experience of respect and recognition for their talent. If not, go look elsewhere at other companies. If you are seeing no chance of promotion or confidence in your growth path, the answer may involve leaving.

“Write how you talk.” — Abby Hehemann

Merissa Silk, Head of Product of fundingport, says you need to connect with your team on a real level and deeply understand what drives people for a few key reasons: 1) doing so will make them more motivated to work for and with you, and 2) if they are not keeping up to their own potential, you know better how to help redirect or focus them. Merissa also mentors product leaders and she is advising Darja & the Bunch team on their product journey.

Reporting from within a Venn diagram of health, tech and empowerment. Berlin-based. Internationally minded. Comms @ Earlybird Venture Capital