I’m a longtime digital transformation, product, and content executive with experience working on high volume, high visibility consumer-facing websites and mobile apps as well as on the development and management of enterprise tools that power those products, including content management systems, APIs, web and mobile frameworks, subscriptions and billing systems, ad technology, and digital asset management and graphical production tools.
In the early days of the Internet, I was instrumental in bringing the pioneering and award-winning website SmartMoney.com to market. It was a joint venture between Dow Jones and Hearst, the “new media” offshoot of a hot magazine. My title in those days was executive producer and I literally hand-coded the MVP website in Notepad. Those were fun and funny times and to this day, that was the best team I ever worked with. We were inventing something entirely new; no one had any experience. We just had to figure it out. Sometimes we would joke, “Hey! I have an idea! Let’s build a website! My dad has an old server in his garage.”
I had previously been a project manager on an edutainment CD-ROM (Magic School Bus Explores the Rainforest) which I described as software development bootcamp. But at SmartMoney, I became a product manager — before I even knew what product management was.
As a producer and project manager, I was driven to get things done — to prioritize and manage the work of a team of developers and content creators. I also fielded customer email, which gave me insight into what users liked and didn’t like about our website. I connected the dots. And when an engineer mused about something he’d been noodling with, I knew instinctively whether our users would like it. When an editor had an idea for a story, I came up with ways to package it with interactive elements suited to the story and the medium. When we wanted to add charts and graphs and hyperlinked stock tickers to news stories, I figured out a way to do that in a semi-automated, semi-scalable way.
After SmartMoney, I worked on a number of other large scale websites — sometimes more on the content side, sometimes more on the technical side; sometimes as an employee, sometimes as a consultant. These included AOL, iVillage, Entertainment Weekly, BBC News, Hasbro, HomeAway, and many others. I’m very lucky. I loved this work. I always found it intellectually and creatively challenging. And I always worked with smart, interesting people.
In 2008, I co-founded BabyNameWizard.com with the bestselling baby name author and expert, Laura Wattenberg. The best advice I ever received was, “As an entrepreneur, you’ll experience your highest highs and your lowest lows.” And that was certainly the case: It was a wild, fulfilling, and sometimes humbling experience. (You can read my Baby Name Wizard case study here).
When we sold our company in 2014, I had a little breathing room to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. After a few years splitting my time between writing, working in a direct-to-consumer startup incubator, and running for local office, I returned full-time to corporate life, as head of Product at News Corp, the parent company of Dow Jones, where I had started my product career.
I love working with teams to solve business and customer problems and bring digital products to life. There’s nothing more fun than talking to someone who uses the product you built!
On a personal note, I am also a mother and stepmother of grown children. I’m deeply aware of the challenges parents, but particularly mothers, face in maintaining fulfilling and rewarding careers in technology throughout their care taking years. Too many of us have had to take circuitous paths, drop out of the workforce entirely, or otherwise develop systems to make work work in the context of raising children or caring for ailing parents or partners. I believe that we must prioritize making workplaces more humane for the next generation of families. This is one important mechanism to make room for more diverse leadership talent in technology while also fostering better social and emotional health in our communities.
If you’d like to connect with me, please drop me a line here or find me on social media.