I came to Canada as a high school student and began living with my aunt’s family. I didn’t know much about them before and they were almost strangers to me, so it took some time for me to adapt. Soon enough though, they began suggesting what they considered traditional values and career paths for women, such as nursing or accounting. While they were very supportive of me, they only viewed my potential through the lens of what they expected a woman should do.
Before moving to Canada, I lived in 10 different homes. Between my parents’ divorce and ongoing family drama, I bounced from living with my dad and stepmom, to living with my grandma and eventually boarding school. I felt like I wasn’t enough to deserve being loved and thought maybe my parents didn’t want me. When I arrived at my aunt’s house, all I wanted to do was to please them. So when they suggested that I should pursue these “girly” career paths, I did.
I decided to major in accounting and financial management because of their encouragement. I excelled in school and eventually went on to have a career in finance, switching between venture capital, private equity, capital markets, and consulting. All of these opportunities were incredibly sought after, but I was utterly unsatisfied. Every day, I went to work and felt like I wasn’t reaching my full potential, since I was just making rich people richer. I wasn’t solving challenging problems and it certainly didn’t pique my curiosity. I kept trying different career paths in finance and no matter what I chose I felt like I didn’t have an impact.
I began participating in hackathons around that time and it was through this community that I learned about product management. I had never heard of it and was curious to learn more. The speaker told us that “the product manager is the person that gets all of the blame when something goes wrong and doesn’t receive the credit when things go well”. Initially, I was shocked that anyone would want this type of job, but as the speaker went on to explain that product managers are also in charge of identifying user problems and solving them creatively, something clicked. From then on, I decided that I would be a product manager. Instead of waiting for someone to hire me, I figured that I could hire myself by starting a venture, so I began brainstorming potential projects and testing my ideas with others.