Leaders, Innovators and Big Ideas - the Rainforest podcast showcases those who are contributing to and / or supporting the innovation ecosystem in Alberta. Rainforest Alberta is a world-class community of dreamers and doers, connected by a common goal of making Alberta fertile ground for building, developing, and growing innovative ideas into sustainable ventures. https://rainforestab.ca
Tuesday Mar 29, 2022
Tuesday Mar 29, 2022
Shaping the future requires us to "shake things up." Christa Hill and Renee Matsalla are two authentic, badass, superstar ladies doing just that in the innovation ecosystem in Alberta. All too often products are built just because someone asked for it, not necessarily because it was needed. According to Christa and Renee, product management IS the future and brings the customer, the business, and the empowered team together to achieve meaningful, purposeful business goals with impact. This work matters! Curious to learn more? Join Jen as she has a fun and enlightening conversation with Christa and Renee about all things product management!
P.S. - Christa and Renee, it's time to get the band back together!
For the transcription of this episode please visit: https://www.rainforestab.ca/yyc-blog/podcast-episode-163-transcription
Thank you for listening to the Leaders, Innovators and Big Ideas podcast, supported by Rainforest Alberta. The podcast that highlights those people who are contributing to and/or supporting the innovation ecosystem in Alberta.
Host: Jennifer Morrison is InceptionU’s learner champion. She has over 11 years of experience as an educator and received her Masters of Educational Leadership from High Tech High Graduate School of Education in San Diego, CA. Jen possesses extensive experience in project-based and experiential learning and design thinking.
Jen spent many years teaching middle and high school students which provided her with a foundational love of learning and passion for exploration and personal growth. Following her natural curiosity and growth mindset, she honed her leadership skills and dove deep into project based learning during her time at High Tech High.
As the Learning Catalyst and Lead Program Designer with InceptionU, Jen provides valued leadership, guidance, meaningful connections and an engaging learning environment. She is deeply dedicated to each of the learners and their success. As Simon Sinek says in The Infinite Game, “what good is it having a belly if there's no fire in it? Wake up, drink your passion, light a match and get to work.”
Renee Matsalla is a Co-founder at Tacit Edge Product Leadership where she helps people reach their potential as product leaders. Before this, she was a product leader at Benevity, where she specialized in visioning and launching Benevity’s most innovative products. Renee’s product leadership was instrumental in Benevity’s unicorn $1.1B valuation. Renee has also worked in Berlin and San Francisco where she led the launches of mobile monetization products used by Facebook, Google, and the world’s largest mobile game developers. She now coaches Product Managers to become product leaders in the growing Alberta tech ecosystem.
Christa Hill is a Co-founder of Tacit Edge Product Leadership where she uses her industry expertise to fuel our economy with empowered, innovative, and diverse product leaders that embody the entrepreneurial spirit. She also serves as Vice President of Product YYC where she is at the forefront of creating Product Management curriculum for SAIT and other educational and corporate institutions such as the New York Federal Reserve Bank. To find out more visit TacitEdge.ca.
Christa started her career in the early days of online banking and money transfer services, while also working in various compliance roles in the financial services industry. She then took on a passion project in the not-for-profit sector to revitalize a local community recreation center. Upon her return to tech, she discovered a path from Product Ownership at Getty Images to Product Management at Benevity. At Benevity, now a $1.1B unicorn tech company, her work was instrumental in scaling the platform to onboard and vet over 2 million global not-for-profits and disburse over $2 billion in funds, while elevating the grants application process in collaboration with Microsoft USA. She then led the vision of Benevity’s content API, which is designed to become the engine of Benevity's end-user experience.
Christa returned to FinTech with Morgan Stanley At Work as Vice President, Global Private Markets Product Management. Christa was instrumental in moving money around the globe through purpose-built services that facilitate liquidity events within employee stock plans for private fortune 500 companies and start-ups. Additionally, she used her extensive API experience to create the first-ever public-facing API that scales the administration of a corporation’s lifecycle from private ownership to IPO. This ground-breaking work secured Morgan Stanley’s position as the premier product for Private Markets liquidity activities. Together with her technology partners, they rose from millions to billions of dollars in activity within 12 months.
Now, Christa is most known for coaching early and established Product Managers, helping them deepen their expertise and helping them thrive in their careers. She brings empathy and humor along while tackling the grey areas of the role, with the goal of creating future product leaders for our increasingly digital world.
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"Perfection is not possible and once I truly accepted that, my whole life completely changed. I just said, I don't care...I'm going to try things."
"I need autonomy, I need to be myself, I need to practice product there way I believe it should be practiced, and also, it's going to be contagious. Don't hire me if you don't want that. This mindset changed everything for me and the last two years have allowed me to experiment in ways that I never thought were possible to create the life for myself and my daughter that I've always wanted."
"The exclusivity of the product manager role is not going to serve us in the next phase of our ecosystem growth. We have to let it go. What are we going to do to get people into this field so we can all thrive?"
"With the growing demand, we can't afford to not democratize access to education and funding to open up this field to people who are interested and provide them access to the network of people who can help get them these jobs."
"Awareness breeds interest. If we can meet that interest with education, how can we accelerate the competency of product management with where we are? The potential is endless."