Women in Product Conference 2018: Breakthrough

On Friday, September 7th, 2018, Women in Product hosted their annual conference to celebrate women who build and to discuss our challenges and joys in the field. Our theme this year was breaking through, chosen specifically so we could share our successes in our careers, the lessons we had learned, and openly strategize about problems we all still face.

In short — it was a time to connect and come together. Nearly 2,000 women attended the conference, and it was a day of energy and passion filled with hope and optimism for our futures and the world we all hope to build.

The day was filled with amazing talks from inspiring women, who discussed challenges, successes, and strategies to help other women be the best product managers they could be in their field. Later in the day, attendees were broken up into breakthrough sessions, where they received specific advice tailored to where they were in their careers. Here were some of our favorite parts of the conference, highlighted below:

Find your Tribe (Erin Teague, VR & AR Lead at Youtube)

  1. You need to show up everyday and be engaged. No one will give you chances, unless you help create them for yourself.
  2. Find your tribe — discover those who have the same passions and ambitions, because they will help you survive.
  3. Identify your mentors and learn from them.
  4. Embrace yourself as you are — your experiences and unique perspectives allow you to see the world as others don’t. Use that.

Fireside chat with Christy Quarles, CEO at OpenTable and Ha Nguyen, Product Partner at Spero Ventures

  1. Always know your value — and be able to objectively measure what you bring to the company, so you can credibly advocate for yourself.
  2. Take risks — you cannot be afraid to learn and to grow.
  3. Be candid, as no one can improve without honesty.

Building for Quality Growth (Liz Li, Director of Product at LinkedIn)

  1. Growth is not just about moving metrics up and to the right. Don’t just focus on quantity, because you will end up with a leaky bucket and create a bad experience for your users.
  2. Quality growth is about the acceleration of your company’s vision. Always make sure the products you create are adding to your company’s mission statement.
  3. Find out what makes your product sticky. What is the core value your company or product delivers to its users? What are the foundational actions users take that relate to the core value of your company? Always know your value proposition and create metrics around that.
  4. Design a true north that is measurable, simple, and actionable. You should be able to iterate on this quickly to get immediate insights and measure success against it.

Leading a PM Team Transformation (Archie Puri, Head of Product Management at Braintree)

  1. Advancing your career starts with growing your brand and knowing your voice.
  2. Growing a PM team is like growing your product — think of it as something that is measurable and iterative. Your product becomes your team.
  3. Get customer feedback on your team, from your stakeholders and the people you manage.
  4. Hire people from different perspectives. People and process are not enough, you need mindset as well.
  5. You need to have shared context and collective success, so you can learn and grow together.

Your Unique Value Proposition (Joanna Bloor, CEO & Founder, The Amplify Lab)

  1. Your core strength is not getting shit done, because it is not unique. Everyone must accomplish something at work, otherwise they will be fired.

2. There are several roles in an organization, and you need to consider where you are currently, and where you want to go:

  • Do you want to think about questions that need to be answered?
  • Do you want to think about solutions?
  • Do you want to think about how to execute?

3. Answering this helps you find your unique value proposition. Chances are what you excel at is something you have been doing your whole life.

4. Ask your professional and academic colleagues: What are four words that come to mind when you think about me and the work I do? This will help you understand what you are known for and how you are valuable to the company.

5. Your unique value must be: bold, unique, authentic, and compelling.


Hard Conversations (Margo Georgiadis, CEO of Ancestry and Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, President of StubHub)

  1. Lead other people into hard conversations. Ask others what they think is going on, so you can become the synthesis and start problem solving.
  2. Create shared spaces by talking to people who are getting things done and constantly checking back and getting feedback. Always show empathy by suspending your agenda and listening.
  3. Be present in meetings, so you can dig under the surface and ask questions. Ask, “What can we do to make this better for you and can you give me an example?”
  4. To get promoted, put yourself in the path of opportunity and let people know what you want and are interested in. Always make the first move, by framing promotions positively from both sides and by having the data.
  5. Set boundaries and know what is important to you.

The Career Playbook I Wish I’d Had (Ami Vora, VP Product at Facebook)

  1. The best way to get a job is to do the job. If you see a problem, you might the one to solve it. But know that learning is the reward, rather than perfection.
  2. Keep showing up. Until you find something better, get excited about the problems you get to solve and be ready to continuously face those problems again. Sticking through difficult situations can help you be ready for new opportunities.
  3. Build your career the way you build a product. What does version 2.0 of yourself look like? And when are you shipping? Define your personal goals, just as you define metrics for a product.
  4. Ask for help. You can’t get better without the support and expertise of others.
  5. Career success follows personal satisfaction. Find roles that feel like home.

For those of you who were able to attend, we hope you had a great time, and we look forward to seeing you all at future events! Here’s to the women in the world who build and who help create a brighter future for us all.


We wouldn’t be here without our founders and board of directors who dedicate their time and passion to this amazing group!

Special shoutout to our volunteers for their amazing work and dedication!

And lastly, thank you to our sponsors, who made this event happen (and for their amazing swag)!

Learn more about the Women In Product organization here and join our Facebook group!

Women In Product Blogs

Women In Product is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing women with equal access and representation in product management careers at all levels. www.womenpm.org

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Shelby Stewart

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Women In Product Blogs

Women In Product is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing women with equal access and representation in product management careers at all levels. www.womenpm.org