Get to know Mike Young. He is one of the talented product managers working for Upwork to create interactive experiences that help clients manage their freelance programs. But what exactly does it mean to be a Black product manager working in tech? And how can you pursue this goal for yourself?
Well, we’re glad you asked. We talked to Mike to learn more about being a Product Manager and his journey in the tech world.
Connecting & Communicating The role of product managers varies across companies, but for most it involves prioritizing product features and working with a team to implement them. Graduating with an engineering degree from the University of Michigan gave Mike a great foundation, but his natural curiosity and empathy for others is what has really propelled him forward. “I spent seven years doing process improvement work that required me to sit with counterparts in other departments to understand their pain points.” Product management requires similarly intense customer-focus. “You have to be empathetic with the challenges users are facing to put out a product that really helps them. I realized I could have an even greater impact on the product side.”
Now, as a product manager, Mike, spends a lot of time connecting with others at the organization. For a company like Upwork that serves all types of businesses, from one person startups to Fortune 100s, communication is key to creating a powerful, trust-driven platform that enables companies and freelancers to work together to unlock their potential. Which means that Mike’s got a lot of meetings on his calendar—communicating with every department to ensure the product is working at every touchpoint.