International Women's Day: Reflections from female leaders in product & tech - Mixpanel
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International Women’s Day: Reflections from female leaders in product & tech

Stories and lessons learned from female leaders at Doodle, Bolt, General Assembly, Gett, Product-Led Alliance, and more

Charlie Windschill

As with many roles in the tech industry, there’s been a stubborn gap in female representation in product. According to TechTalent Charter, women make up only 19% of the tech industry and only 37% of UX and product roles. Another report by ProductPlan independently confirms women account for just 37% of product manager roles.

For an industry that depends on innovation, getting more women into tech and product is critical: success depends on creating products for a diverse community, and we can only do that if people with a broad range of experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives are at the table. 

In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the accomplishments of women in product and tech by inviting them to share their words of wisdom for the next generation.

1. Describe the path to your current position and the role mentorship has had in your career growth.

“As a student during my Master in Fine Arts, I worked as a graphic designer. I became more interested in UX and product, and over the years, transitioned to becoming a data & AI product manager. Every step of the way, exceptional women professionals guided and motivated me to push forward, bringing me to where I am today.” 

Shelly Shmurack

Shelly Shmurack

Data & AI Product Manager, Aspectiva, a Walmart Global Tech company

“What got me in the door is someone believing in me, then I took the burden of proof as a mission in every position I ever got. It’s about understanding what’s the most important impact to be made in that specific role—from the point-of-view of different stakeholders as well as one of the people who gave me the opportunity—and making sure I keep focusing on that. The best mentorship I ever got was from peers who had the patience and motivation—to process thoughts together, brain-pick, and think through ideas. Getting that feedback is invaluable in shaping opinions, planning projects, and presenting strategy to management.” 

Netali Jakubovitz

Netali Jakubovitz

Group Product Manager, Doodle

“I started out in financial services which took me to data and CRM in marketing. I’ve led a path of driving results through ownership of the stuff no one else wanted to do. It wasn’t sexy. It wasn’t always fun. But it taught me to be data and number literate and always be able to back up my case. I’ve been fortunate to work for some incredible female leaders. I quickly came to realize how lucky I’d been when I joined a startup as a co-founder and came to raising capital. It became abundantly apparent that things are not created equal.” 

Charlotte Morris

Charlotte Morris

VP Marketing and CX, Trint

“I have been very fortunate in my career to work for some of the largest and world’s best companies as well as small innovative start-ups.  And, in every single role, I have found someone to learn from which has added to my kitbag of knowledge and experience—from my first mentor back in my graduate days in direct marketing who taught me the importance of attention to detail, to my days at Oracle where I was really coached and given opportunities to shine, to my most recent experiences in a Norwegian software company where I learned so much about the importance of customer support and product development. Mentorship is one of the most important elements in the growth and now, as I get a bit grey around the edges, I love nothing more than helping my network with advice and watching their careers bloom.”

Natalie Kouzeleas

Natalie Kouzeleas

Director EMEA & LATAM, Mixpanel

“I’m currently the founder of LevelUp, a startup aiming to revolutionize mentorship by creating a platform connecting women mentors and mentees based on role, industry, career interests, and goals. I’ve personally struggled a lot with finding an appropriate professional mentor and started LevelUp to fix this problem. Prior to LevelUp, I worked in business development, marketing, and product roles at blockchain/cryptocurrency startups. I’m also a UC Berkeley graduate with a B.A. in Political Economy and a Certificate in Entrepreneurship & Technology.”

Natasha Khimji

Natasha Khimji

Founder, LevelUp

“In late 2018 I co-founded Vinehealth after experiencing the impact of cancer both in my personal life and throughout my career. The mission of Vinehealth is to improve quality of life and outcomes of people living with cancer globally through behavioral science and machine learning. My goal has always been to positively impact the lives of people going through life-changing diseases whilst also forging the way for other female leaders in the technology industry.”

Georgina Kirby

Georgina Kirby

Co-Founder & CTO, Vinehealth

“I started as a software developer. After 2 years, I decided I prefer people over code. So I made the shift to product management. I worked in several companies as a PM until I was promoted to a TL in Liveperson. Now I manage a product group in Gett which consists of PMs, analysts, and designers. And together we redesigned the Gett mobile app for ride-hailing and tailored it to business riders.”

Tal Kailler

Tal Kailler

B2C Product Lead, Gett

“I started out not knowing what I wanted to do. I had just graduated with a degree in physics and landed a research role at the business intelligence company Informa in their Telecoms & Media division. It was there that realized that I really had a passion for technology, but I didn’t want to just be researching—I wanted to be part of designing and making things. Fortunately, I was offered a job for a tech blog and it was there that I was able to pivot my career and get some experience working for startups. I caught the bug. Returning home to London, I worked as a product manager for a B2B data tech startup. I then moved into contracting where I focused on user research, product discovery, and getting new products and services on the ground. I now run my company and partner with UX freelancers and development agencies.”

Sabah Zdanowska

Sabah Zdanowska

founder, ventures consulting

“I started my career in software testing at Apple. Looking back on my formative career years, it was an exceptional grounding in what would later become the field of product management. The companies I have worked for throughout my career have been quite varied in size and industry and this helped broaden my experience into different verticals, but has also taught me how to structure and operate product and technology teams at different stages of maturity and growth.”

Breffni Horgan

Breffni Horgan

Advisory CPO / Founder, Productbyte Consulting

“I studied Political Science & International Relations at Sciences Po in Paris and after a stint working for NGOs and small consultancies, I started my career in digital banking at a large Swiss bank. The entire time, I had access to wonderful mentors that I’m still in touch with today. But as the years went by, I realized that most of my mentors were men, or women without children. Where did the moms go? That’s when I decided to join Awina. At Awina, we fight gender inequality by helping families pay for daycare. By spreading out that cost, parents, especially moms, can afford to stay in the workforce.”

Christiane Demgenski

Christiane Demgenski

chief product officer, awina

“At Doodle, I’m currently launching a new product that empowers enterprises to securely control and centrally customize their premium subscriptions. As a Senior Product Manager focused on Enterprise solutions I manage a full-stack product team of Senior Engineers and Designers, while closely collaborating with GTM teams. My background and work experience have been quite diverse, requiring me to wear multiple hats in very different (and sometimes random) situations. I embraced working with full accountability on several concurrent tasks I hadn’t yet mastered. And I think this attitude has made me a good fit in a product management role. I truly appreciate and enjoy this feeling of being continuously challenged, with different issues every time.”

Laura Mobilio

Laura Mobilio

senior product manager, doodle

“Unofficial mentorship has played a substantial role throughout my career.  I have had multiple mentors,  all the way from university through my first job and more recently as Co-founder at a startup. What has been most rewarding is to find that I am now in the position to return some of that kindness and mentor others who are following the same path.”

Eileen Willett

Eileen Willett

co-founder, cucumber clothing

“From a young age, my mother always expected more from me than from my two brothers. At the time I didn’t get it and thought it was so unfair, but now I am so grateful because I grew up with the attitude that women can do anything. This has been reinforced by the amazing women I have had the privilege to work with and learn from throughout my career. When I look back on who has taught me the most important lessons, they have all been awesome, empowered women.”

Heather James

Heather James

founder, product-led alliance

2. What do you love most about your job?

“The people I work with. We genuinely have a great team of very smart individuals, who I learn things from constantly. This is also true for our customers, where I sometimes feel an extension of their own teams.”  

Harriet Kaufman

Harriet Kaufman

Customer Success Manager, Mixpanel

“Dynamic problem solving and constantly changing context keeps me on my toes. It’s the immeasurable impact from the smallest decisions.”  

Aastha Yadav

Aastha Yadav

GLOBAL PRODUCT STRATEGY MANAGER, BOLT

“Just like when you bake a cake and you see others enjoying it, building products speaks to the innate human need to create for others. There is true joy in making things, and that’s what I love about working in product.”  

Giulia Greppi

Giulia Greppi

Global Product Director, A.P. Moeller – Maersk

“What I love most about my job is that it provides me the ability to collaborate with cross-functional teams. My days are never boring.”  

Nekpen Osuan

Nekpen Osuan

Consultant & CEO, WomenWerk

“I feel so lucky to be in a company with so many talented people. I think I can count on one hand the number of companies out there where every person I meet has been super intelligent, super enthusiastic, and super data-driven. Even though Mixpanel is a relatively small company, the approach to every element of the management, planning, and communication makes it seem a much larger global company yet it manages to maintain the velocity and agility of a startup. This combined with an awesome product and a huge growth opportunity makes it such a great place to be right now for me.”

Natalie Kouzeleas

Natalie Kouzeleas

Director EMEA & LATAM, Mixpanel

“I love collaborating and discussing ideas with other startup founders, specifically female founders. I also greatly enjoy being a founder because you get to wear multiple different hats—from product to marketing to business development and everything in between, you are truly involved with all aspects of growing and scaling a business. Lastly, the mission and vision of LevelUp to empower women through mentorship is one that drives me every single day.”

Natasha Khimji

Natasha Khimji

Founder, LevelUp

“Working in product is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs I can think of. It requires entrepreneurial thinking, curiosity, empathy, servant leadership, a bold vision, lean execution, data savviness, and lots of other skills. In a nutshell: it never gets boring.”

Tanja Lau

Tanja Lau

Founder, product academy

“Every day is different. In the ever-evolving app marketing industry, there’s never a dull moment. Inspiring my team to keep learning and stay at the forefront is what I love most. Also reaching and exceeding campaign goals for our clients is what motivates us every day.”

Louise Verschuren

Louise Verschuren

co-founder, wuzzon

“I love guiding vision and strategy for our company, especially in the time of recovery as the pandemic winds down. I also love to see my team members grow and develop their skills and I take joy in watching them launch products.”

Leah Farmer

Leah Farmer

SVP Engineering & Product, Tourlane

“I lead operations for an app built on the Stellar blockchain protocol that helps people in places with high inflation protect their hard-earned cash. I love creating a product that pushes the boundaries of technology in the service of making our financial systems better for more people.”

Kori Higgins

Kori Higgins

Head of Operations, Vibrant

“I love building products that change the way we interact with audio. The best part of my job is working in the intersection between boundary-pushing technology and delightful user experience. There’s nothing more exciting than seeing someone light up when they use something you’ve designed to solve their problem.”

Claire Roberts

Claire Roberts

Co-Founder & Head of Product, Entale

3. Why does being data-driven matter to you?


“As product professionals, we’re collectors of ideas. We’re leaders of innovation. But to be honest, mostly, we’re wrong. Data is the tool that helps us learn fast and adapt. And thus, eventually, provide value.” 

Shelly Shmurack

Shelly Shmurack

Data & AI Product Manager, Aspectiva, a Walmart Global Tech company

“Data helps us to make decisions and to also validate decisions. It also helps to keep teams aligned and us all working towards the same goals.”  

Harriet Kaufman

Harriet Kaufman

Customer Success Manager, Mixpanel

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” Not being data-driven, makes the work obsolete. It’s necessary to have a critical view of the work we’re doing, and it would be impossible without data.”

Netali Jakubovitz

Netali Jakubovitz

Group Product Manager, Doodle

“I have to prove my value every day. Being data-driven means there’s no room for bias or interpretation. I deliver results.” 

Charlotte Morris

Charlotte Morris

VP Marketing and CX, Trint

“Data doesn’t lie. Used the right way data can help keep you honest, motivate teams, refocus teams, help you know when to celebrate, or help you know when you need to rethink. Data is my north star and my guide in everything I do—without it, I would be lost.”

Natalie Kouzeleas

Natalie Kouzeleas

Director EMEA & LATAM, Mixpanel

“You cannot make good business decisions without data. Good data allows organizations to establish baselines, benchmarks, and goals to keep moving forward. Without data, we might as well be walking around in the dark. Data in customer success allows you to measure churn or renewals and establish baselines, find benchmarks, and set performance goals. In order for any business to succeed you need to have a starting point and a goal, and data gives you both.”

Anika Zubair

Anika Zubair

VP of Customer Success, inSided

“Product management is all about prioritization. And if you do it blindly you are sure to make mistakes. Being data-driven helps you make smart decisions and make sure you put your eggs in the right basket.”

Tal Kailler

Tal Kailler

B2C Product Lead, Gett

“I consider qualitative and quantitative data as two pillars of my role as a product manager. PMs need to bring qualified hypotheses into strategic planning and development based on users’ feedback, as well as a thorough analysis of users’ behavior and patterns. Data is undoubtedly one of the most critical things to master and “get right”, in order to build successful products. Being data-driven, however, is not sufficient, as numbers might be representative of a portion of the problem. PMs, as mini CEOs of the product, are expected to evaluate all sources of data (qualitative and quantitative) to make decisions.”

Laura Mobilio

Laura Mobilio

senior product manager, doodle

“Data helps me contextualize, understand and visualize. It creates a ‘reality’ to work towards or away from.”

Brittney Posternock

Brittney Posternock

design strategist, cx discovery

“Data is the best way to measure the impact of what we do. How many days of daycare can a family afford before Awina and after Awina? How many days a week does a mother work with or without Awina? Work with our clients is emotional and personal, but in the end, it’s the data that tells us that we’re driving change.”

Christiane Demgenski

Christiane Demgenski

chief product officer, awina

“Operating blindly with new feature development, design decisions, etc. creates a hierarchical environment—everyone has an opinion and typically the most senior person’s opinion is what matters most unless you incorporate data (and user feedback) into your work. This creates a democracy where the data and user feedback drives decision-making—not upper management or those who have the loudest voices.”

Meghan Vita

Meghan Vita

growth pm, easypark

4. Why does having female representation in product, and in tech more broadly, matter?

“Having female representation in product, and tech more broadly, matters enormously because it allows for alliances to be formed by women, for women. A lot of career growth milestones reach fruition when someone believes in you.”

Netali Jakubovitz

Netali Jakubovitz

Group Product Manager, Doodle

“We are our own customers—this is direct access to users.”  

Aastha Yadav

Aastha Yadav

GLOBAL PRODUCT STRATEGY MANAGER, BOLT

“Female representation matters for achieving our vision of a future where sextech products are more inclusive and put female sexuality at the forefront. Our voices have been ignored for so long and we need to take into account female, male and non-binary options when building.”  

Patricia Cervantes

Patricia Cervantes

co-founder and cOo, vibio

“Female representation matters so we are aware of what is possible.”  

Li Ann Wong

Li Ann Wong

Regulatory Compliance | Regulatory Technology, Cube

“By having diverse teams invent the future it means inclusion and accessibility for all. We only need to look at the errors in voice search and wearable tech to see the key issues when women and others are excluded from the design process.” 

Charlotte Morris

Charlotte Morris

VP Marketing and CX, Trint

“I think different points of view and perspectives are very important. Everyone has different skills and strengths.”  

Harriet Kaufman

Harriet Kaufman

Customer Success Manager, Mixpanel

“Women have not only been underrepresented in tech but also have had their viewpoints dismissed or not taken seriously, and in 2021, that is completely ridiculous and it’s time we change this once and for all.”

Natasha Khimji

Natasha Khimji

Founder, LevelUp

“Because there are bright, creative and amazing women out there and they can all push products, technologies and companies forward. There is no reason these fields should be dominated by men.”

Tal Kailler

Tal Kailler

B2C Product Lead, Gett

“At its very core, product management is about identifying and solving problems for customers—the most effective way of doing that is by evaluating problems from different perspectives by bringing balance and diversity to product and technology teams.”

Breffni Horgan

Breffni Horgan

Advisory CPO / Founder, Productbyte Consulting

“It matters because we matter. It matters because we are over half the consumers who buy things in the world. And it matters because our creativity and innovative spirits can really change the direction of the industry.”

Leah Farmer

Leah Farmer

SVP Engineering & Product, Tourlane

“Women still struggle to be sufficiently heard and supported within business—especially within tech. I objectively knew this but observing the business world first hand as a female entrepreneur has given me insight into the challenges women face in their careers. Although there’s a lot of noise, meaningful action is still lagging behind. I strive to move the needle and see real change. Simply put, the tech industry misses out on a huge wealth of skill and talent if women are underrepresented within it.”

Georgina Bale

Georgina Bale

ceo, tech warriors

5. What’s the best piece of career advice you received? What advice would you give to girls and women who aspire to work in product or tech?


“Looking like everyone else in the boardroom is not a prerequisite to success. Your difference enables superpowers!”

Linda Achan

Linda Achan

CEO & Co Founder, Nature Wrap Ltd


“To girls aspiring to work in product and tech, find a way to start doing it. If you need experience to get hired, do a personal project or create an app. Just begin to feel the work, and the rest you can–and will–learn along the way.” 

Shelly Shmurack

Shelly Shmurack

Data & AI Product Manager, Aspectiva, a Walmart Global Tech company

“Treat yourself as your best friend. And always stand up.” 

Oksana Krykun

Oksana Krykun

Associate Director, Product Management at SoftServe, and Co-Founder, Speak2Me

“The best piece of advice I’ve received is to never assume everyone knows what you know. It might seem basic to you, but could be a realization moment for many. So speak up!”  

Aastha Yadav

Aastha Yadav

GLOBAL PRODUCT STRATEGY MANAGER, BOLT

“Be curious and be brave to explore areas beyond your comfort zone while cultivating a growth mindset.”  

Li Ann Wong

Li Ann Wong

Regulatory Compliance | Regulatory Technology, Cube

“In Japanese, there’s a concept called ‘Ikigai’ which means ‘a reason for being’. It is defined as the intersection between what you’re good at, what you love, what you can be paid for, and what the world needs. Find your purpose, that is where you will find the greatest success and rewards.”

Breffni Horgan

Breffni Horgan

Advisory CPO / Founder, Productbyte Consulting

“Turn what makes you different into your strengths. So you didn’t study IT? You might bring a much-needed wider perspective to the world of tech. You’re the only woman in a room with 50 men? You’ll stick out for better or for worse, so use your voice.”

Christiane Demgenski

Christiane Demgenski

chief product officer, awina

“Get comfortable saying no, and always explain why. This has helped me a lot in my career—especially when multiple key stakeholders have tried to push for their opinion. Saying no can be uncomfortable, but also very powerful for earning respect and moving in the right direction.”

Laura Mobilio

Laura Mobilio

senior product manager, doodle

“Girls/women: you can do it but most of us succumb to imposter syndrome. It’s up to us all to check ourselves when that little voice nags us that we can’t do it. Spark up that internal hype team and go get it.”

Hannah Blake

Hannah Blake

co-founder, entale

“I loved a recent Reforge post by Bangaly Kaba which helps bring some science to how to make big career decisions. It can be difficult to find female mentors in product—I’ve never had one! Don’t let it stop you. Put yourself out there, apply to the courses (i.e. Reforge, Product Fundamentals by Lenny Rachitsky, or Lambda School), and spend time creating a support network.”

Meghan Vita

Meghan Vita

growth pm, easypark

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“While some have already opened the way, we must keep clearing paths for women. Having the option and freedom to pursue a career is equality.”

Isabela Del Corso

Isabela Del Corso

Growth Analytics, banco BV

“The best piece of advice I was ever given was from a senior-level woman in tech that I admired. She said, ‘Don’t follow the path that looks good on paper or only take the steps laid out on the career ladder. Instead, follow your passion. When you do that, you’ll do great work and opportunities will present themselves.’ That has been true for me more often than not.”

Leah Farmer

Leah Farmer

SVP Engineering & Product, Tourlane

More content from women in product and tech

To dig in even deeper, we hosted a webinar featuring an all-female panel of leaders to hear stories and lessons learned from building world-class products, and the teams behind them. Watch it on-demand to hear:

  • How to structure a high-performance product team
  • Strategies for creating a culture of cross-functional problem solving
  • Practical advice for advancing your career as an individual contributor or team lead

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