Why Get Into Product Management? 6 Colorado Product Pros Share Their Career Journeys

by Michael Hines
September 13, 2019

There’s a good reason why so many product managers are former software developers, sales people, marketing professionals and more. Product management offers a unique blend of technical and design challenges and requires a deep passion for helping people and solving challenging problems. There’s really no other role at a company like it, and techies have taken notice.

Whether you’re a product pro or someone considering a move to the field, you’ll want to continue reading. Below, you’ll hear from six Colorado techies about how they kicked off their careers in product management, along with what makes their work so inspiring.

 

TurboTenant product manager jobs

Before he began his career in product management, TurboTenant CPO and CTO Zeke Kirkpatrick was a software engineer turned entrepreneur. In fact, Kirkpatrick only discovered his passion and knack for product management after founding and selling a real estate startup.

 

What prompted you to pursue a current career in product, particularly in real estate tech?

During my career as a software engineer, my entrepreneurial spirit prompted me to build a business marketing residential rental properties on the web. As the founder, I managed and delivered all aspects of software development and marketing for this SaaS solution. Shortly after its inception, I sold the business to a residential screening and online leasing company, and they hired me to manage my aspect of the business.

My role expanded, and I became Director of Product Management for the entire company. Acting as a conduit between sales and engineering, I led teams through the product life cycle, helping the company grow from a small, regional business to a national brand.

The most inspiring aspect of my role is the size and stage of the company.”

 

What about your role inspires you most and why?

The most inspiring aspect of my role is the size and stage of the company. We have an amazing team of people, with the right leaders in place with years of business, marketing, software and property management experience. The company’s initial ideas have been validated, and we’ve proven our ability to scale accordingly. We have a solid foundation of products and KPIs, and we now have the funding to be able to grow our platform. Our goal is to change the way renting works in the United States. Our industry is hungry for innovative solutions, and we have the team and the platform to deliver them.

 

Envysion Colorado product manager jobs

In product management, it helps to be able to put yourself in the shoes of the people using your product. That’s not a big problem for Envysion Product Manager Amanda Shafer, who was a customer of the company’s before she joined the team. According to Shafer, the move from customer to team member was a no-brainer and one that’s helped her grow as a professional.

 

What prompted you to pursue a current career in product, particularly in video analytics software?

The software industry is an exciting field to be in. It is ever-changing, expectations are high and you have the opportunity to work with incredibly talented individuals. Having previously been a customer of Envysion, I already felt a sense of loyalty to the product and its purpose. When I saw the PM position posted on Built In Colorado, I immediately wanted to jump in, roll up my sleeves and contribute to the vision of the company. 

When I saw the PM position posted on Built In Colorado, I immediately wanted to jump in, roll up my sleeves and contribute to the vision of the company.”

 

What about your role inspires you most and why?

I am inspired by the talented and creative individuals who I work with, along with seeing ideas come to life and solving problems for our customers. I have learned so much in my time at Envysion, and I equate that to working with bright people who enable me to grow professionally.

 

Payfone Colorado product manager jobs

Crystal Santistevan has been in product management for almost 10 years — and she’s as thrilled as ever to go to work each day. According to Payfone’s Director of Product Management, what makes her role so exciting are the people she works with and a company culture that values team members and fosters innovation.

 

What prompted you to pursue a current career in product, particularly in digital identify authentication software?

I started as a pharmacy technician at a local Denver acute care hospital before joining a pharmacy benefits administrator as an account manager. I was then promoted to the benefit design team, which consulted with our customers and advised them on the design of their prescription benefit plans. We then brought our software in-house, and this move, along with my experience with customers in plan design, landed me in product. It’s funny how life takes us on paths we never imagined.

From our CEO to our interns, everyone is valued, mentored and enabled to be innovative, which is so important, especially within product management.”

 

What about your role inspires you most and why?

Coming to work each day is exciting, and not because we are the leader in digital  authentication technology or because of our sweet new office in downtown Denver. The reason is the amazing people at Payfone, which has the smartest, most passionate people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. From our CEO to our interns, everyone is valued, mentored and enabled to be innovative, which is so important, especially within product management.

 

Cherwell Software product manager jobs

Keshawn Hughes joined Cherwell Software during its transition from a growth-focused startup to an established enterprise company with an eye on scaling its operations. As Cherwell transitioned as a company, so too did Hughes as a professional, who went from product marketing management to release management. Hughes is now Cherwell’s Senior Product Release Manager, a role she called “a perfect fit.”

 

What prompted you to pursue a current career in product, particularly in IT service management software?

Unlike many release managers, who have engineering backgrounds, my background is in marketing and communication. Throughout my career, I’ve gone between marketing and product management roles. When I first joined Cherwell as a senior product marketing manager in 2015, the company had a couple hundred employees and was transitioning from startup mode to more scalable enterprise operations. 

A few years later, I transitioned to a senior release manager role. I enjoy interfacing with nearly 60 cross-functional stakeholders across our organization. Each release of a new product brings new learnings and opportunities to improve. As a lifelong learner and communicator, this job is a perfect fit for me.

As a lifelong learner and communicator, this job is a perfect fit for me.”

 

What about your role inspires you most and why?

I feel so lucky that I can say many aspects of my job and Cherwell inspire me. If I have to choose, Cherwell’s culture is at the top of my list. I feel our four core values of heart, humility, honesty and hunger every day. They are essential to our day-to-day operations and formally recognized by executive leadership via quarterly core value awards ceremonies, which celebrate teammates who exemplify these values. 

My favorite value is honesty, and I pride myself on ensuring our processes are transparent and that we have an open-door policy that makes people feel safe and compelled to share their ideas, challenges and suggestions for improvement.

 

Sovrn Colorado product manager jobs

The tech industry is filled with people who worked a few different jobs before finally finding their true professional passion. Sovrn’s Director of Product Management Darcy Baber is one of those people. Baber’s first job out of college was in sales, but it wasn’t long before her love of helping customers pulled her career in a completely different direction.

 

What prompted you to pursue a career in product, particularly in adtech?

To be honest, I had no idea what a product manager was when I began exploring careers after college. I started my career in sales, where I quickly discovered a passion for listening to customers and addressing their needs. I made several job changes, transitioning more and more into roles where I could enhance my focus on the customer and collaborate with them more directly. That led to lead product roles at several firms in the financial industry, where I managed cross-functional teams.

I made the transition to ad technology about a year ago after a decade in financial services. The transition has been a challenge, but I’ve been pleased to discover that many product management skills are transferable across industries. It’s always possible to be “dangerous” as a product manager if you have a passion for your products and customers.

It’s always possible to be “dangerous” as a product manager if you have a passion for your products and customers.”

 

What about your role inspires you most and why?

I am inspired by the product managers I have had the privilege of watching grow and excel, as well as the inquisitive culture of Sovrn that lets me test and grow my own passions. The environment at Sovrn supports my team’s efforts to grow and refine not just our product suite, but also themselves as product managers, and I am inspired every day by the people who strive for self-improvement as much as product improvement. 

I believe that you only grow as a product manager by constantly pulling the threads of your product, its development process and your own development to see what works and moves the needle on your goals, both professional and personal.

 

Finalize Colorado product manager jobs

Kimberly Gant admits that, a decade ago, she could have never imagined herself working in product management. Fast forward 10 years and Active Oversight’s Senior Product Manager couldn’t imagine herself doing anything else. 

 

What prompted you to pursue a current career in product, particularly in blockchain and AI?

I’m not gonna lie: If you asked me 10 years ago what I would be doing today, I would never have imagined this. But I wouldn’t change a thing! When I discovered my passion for customers and helping them solve their problems, I knew that product management was my calling. 

When I discovered my passion for customers and helping them solve their problems, I knew that product management was my calling.”

 

What about your role inspires you most and why?

Our company is leveraging automation, wearables and machine learning in order to change the way work is being done. I love bringing customer pain points to our team and discovering ways that we can make their lives easier. What’s even better is being able to see how a small change, or sometimes a big one, can make a tremendous impact on how they do their job every day.

Jobs from companies in this blog13 open jobs
All Jobs
Data + Analytics
Dev + Engineer
HR
Operations
Product
Developer
new
Sovrn
Boulder
Data + Analytics
new
Envysion
Boulder
Operations
new
Envysion
Boulder
HR
new
Sovrn
Boulder
Data + Analytics
new
Sovrn
Boulder
Developer
new
Envysion
Boulder
Operations
new
Payfone
Denver
Developer
new
Sovrn
Boulder
HR
new
Payfone
Denver
Developer
new
Envysion
Boulder
Developer
new
Payfone
Denver
Developer
new
Payfone
Denver
Product
new
TurboTenant
Fort Collins

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