Take a Look Back at Women In Product Conference 2019

Image of conference attendees

More than 2,000 product leaders gathered to celebrate the role and contributions of women product managers at the Women In Product Conference 2019 in San Francisco. Whether they were taking each other’s photos in the “This Is What A Product Manager Looks Like” area, sharing the best advice they’d ever received on the hedge wall, meeting representatives from the companies that supported the event in the Sponsor Pavilion, or attending the powerful keynotes and breakout sessions, our attendees were making connections, learning all they could, and helping each other rise up in their careers. We wanted to share some of our favorite highlights from this year’s event. 

INSPIRATION AROUND EVERY CORNER

Whether they were talking about emerging tech, scaling teams, shaping products, or being authentic leaders, our breakout speakers dove deep into the topics that matter most to women in product right now. 

Great leaders model humility when receiving and acting on feedback, and create environments that welcome it, said Julie Zhou, VP Product Design at Facebook, and Minda Harts, Founder and CEO of The Memo. (pictured right) “We all deserve to thrive in a workplace and not just survive,” Harts said. Yes.

“What does responsibility in AI mean?” asked product and technology leader Navrina Singh, talking about building ethical products. “Go back to the human need. What we make makes us.”

We loved how many of our speakers talked about their families, whether it was their kids, their partners, or the influence their parents had on their work ethic and career. But Kristen Berman, founder of Irrational Labs, brought her mother on stage to introduce her. Now that’s family-friendly!

Throughout the day, dozens of women stopped by our Coaching Corner for supportive mentoring. In the morning, the team from AG Voiced hosted one-on-one coaching sessions to supercharge the careers of women of color, and in the afternoon peer mentoring sessions occurred around the venue to help women navigate challenges and advance in their careers. 

OUR AFTERNOON KEYNOTES

Whether they were talking about emerging tech, scaling teams, shaping products, or being authentic leaders, our breakout speakers dove deep into the topics that matter most to women in product right now.

The last session of the day started with Women In Product Board member Ha Nguyen bringing the crowd to their feet for a round of clapping and dancing that dialed the energy levels in the room to eleven. Then Amanda Richardson, EIR at Goodwater Capital, whose appearance last year while she was nine months pregnant (wearing heels, no less) wowed the crowd, took the stage to talk about her career arc. She gave us homework: Read “Good Product Manager/Bad Product Manager” by Ben Horowitz. We’re on it. 

Shripriya Mahesh, Founding Partner of Spero Ventures, brought the audience to tears as she talked about her cancer journey, which took place while she was raising nine-year-old twins and trying to start her venture fund. “It was rough, and it sucked, but what I got from it was perspective,” she said. “My work took on a new meaning — I only wanted to work on things that mattered.” She moved us, and reminded us of what’s most important. 

Shripriya Mahesh

Jennifer Tejada, CEO of PagerDuty, encouraged us to look at the bigger picture as we navigate our careers, and not to shy away from the unconventional path. “If you’re going to wait for someone to map out your life, you’re going to be waiting a long time,” she said. “You’re going to be a spectator in what otherwise could be an amazing adventure.” We’re inspired to stay open to possibility. 

Finally, we closed with a Women In Product Conference tradition: A group photo of all the attendees together. “T.H.I.S. is what 2,000+ women product builders look like,” tweeted Women In Product Board member Yardley Pohl. Now that’s the power of community. 

 

What’s Next

Whether or not you attended the conference, you can still catch a recording of the day’s livestream on our Twitch channel. Thanks to Twitch for helping us reach as many folks as possible.

You can join the conversation about the event — yes, it’s still going strong! — by following #19WIP on Twitter or Instagram, and if you’re a product manager (or aspire to be one), we’d love you to join our Facebook group.

And, of course, stay tuned. We’ll have wrap-up videos and more footage to share in the coming weeks. Plus, we’re already thinking about next year…we already can’t wait to see everyone again!

Here’s to you, your careers, and the community you’re building with us. Together, we’re changing the face of product management!