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Episode 186 - Supporting the Next Generation of Female Product Managers with Women in Product UK (with Namrata Sarmah, Founder @ Women in Product UK & CPO @ INTO)

Product Career
Product Leadership
Women in Product

Episode 186: Supporting the Next Generation of Female Product Managers with Women in Product UK

Namrata Sarmah, Founder @ Women in Product UK & CPO @ INTO

29 Aug 2023

29 Aug 2023 Namrata Sarmah head shot

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Content Warning - May Contain Adult Language or Themes
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About the Episode

Namrata (Nam) Sarmah is CPO at INTO University Partnerships and the founder of Women in Product UK, a community through which she hopes to build a pipeline of female product management talent and finally put to bed the excuses that hiring managers currently fall back on when challenged on their female talent acquisition. She's also passionate about making sure we get more product people into the C-suite, and will soon be launching the CPO Track community to support this. We chatted about all this, and much more.

Episode highlights:

1. You don't need an MBA to get into product, but it's not unhelpful

There's a lot of controversy about the merits (or lack of) of MBAs in product management. MBAs are not essential, but they can be helpful when trying to crack the C-suite as you've already spent a lot of time working on your business sense. There are other ways to get this though; the most important thing is to develop that business sense one way or another.

2. Just because you're great a product management, doesn't mean you'll be a great CPO

It's hard to land a Chief Product Officer job, and even harder to stay in there. You require a mix of skills, and just being the best at product management doesn't help. It requires a mix of business acumen, executive presence (sad, but true) and the ability to tell a story in terms that resonate with your leadership peers.

3. Building a community is hard, but you can treat it like a product

Community-building is not an easy skill to teach someone; it requires a certain mindset and certain instincts. There are different types of people in the world, and some of them are natural "connectors" who just know how to join the dots and get people together.

4. Women in Product UK is its own thing, and its superpower is diversity

There are various communities around the world that support product managers, or female product managers specifically, but a lot of them have quite a narrow focus on certain job levels or roles. Having top female CPOs available for free in a community is a superpower.

5. The name of the game is pipeline building, and allies are welcome

Some sad sacks will sit and grumble about having a "women in product" group rather than just a generic "people in product" group. but the numbers don't lie. Women are still underrepresented in senior positions, and it's easy for companies to blame "pipeline problems". So let's all build the pipeline, so they don't have an excuse anymore.

Contact Nam

You can connect with Nam on LinkedIn or check out Women in Product UK, where you can interact with the community and get onto the WhatsApp group.

Namrata Sarmah and me before the recording