Women In Product Conference 2020
#20WIP Build Resilience
2020 was the year of adaptability. For Women In Product it meant hosting the annual conference virtually the first time ever. Despite the year’s changes and challenges, 3,275 product leaders gathered for the Women In Product Conference 2020 from the comfort of anywhere! Attendees logged on from 791 cities in 47 states and 39 countries and came together with one theme in mind: Build Resilience. We found new ways to keep our favorite traditions going — our group photo became a selfie mural, 1:1 networking took the place of hallway meetups, and attendees were still able to connect with our speakers in live Interactive Sessions. We’re so excited to share some of our favorite memories from #20WIP.
Hopping into the Conference
Our first day began with much anticipation as attendees joined our online platform and immediately celebrated each other with the same enthusiasm we experience at our in-person conferences. The event opened with the first of many keynotes, Bianca Gates, Co-founder & CEO, Birdies. Joined in conversation by Women In Product Board Member, Ana Grace, Bianca revealed what drove to start her company. Dedication and a “done is better than perfect” philosophy transformed Birdies’ humble beginnings into a flourishing business. “We had no business strategy, we had no idea what we were doing, there was no background. Just start. Whatever idea you have, just start and continue to go. And when you hit a roadblock, find another way,” she wisely said.
Over 2,000 attendees streamed live as Laura Teclemariam, Director of Product Management, Netflix shared her three keys to resilience in navigating a career in tech — the consciousness of perspective, of power, and of possibility. “And so just like so many people before us who have demonstrated resilience, my hope is that you expand your perspective in search of igniting the power within you to be resourceful, and you unlock your imagination to create new possibilities.” We happily accept your challenge, Laura.
Next up — Kruti Patel Goyal, Chief Product Officer, Etsy, shared her unconventional path to leading product at the global marketplace for unique and creative goods. Kruti’s career journey was far from linear, but she showed us the importance of taking risks and accepting new roles. “Be fearless and be bold. You’re not always going to be successful but sometimes the stretch opportunities and the tough times are where we learn and grow the most,” Kruti reminded us. We are inspired by your bold and fearless path!
Building Resilience on the Main Stage
Meg Whitman, CEO, Quibi, opened Day 2 in conversation with Fidji Simo, Head of the Facebook App and Board Member Emeritus, Women In Product. The two discussed the challenges Meg has faced throughout her career. “I think there’s certain DNA about risk taking. I think you just have to say, ‘You know what? I’m going to take a leap off the high dive.’” Meg’s embrace of risk taking and hopeful outlook on the future of technology are truly noteworthy.
Sunita Parbhu, Head of Product, CVKey, ignited the power of self with her talk focused on taking action as a force for resilience and why purpose matters. Sunita left us with real life skills and optimism to reach for any opportunity that presents itself, reminding us that “we have proof that what was possible is entirely doable.”
We also heard from Alexandra Hardiman, Chief Product Officer, The New York Times, who explored the determination needed to reshape an industry.
Leading Through Change
Before our stages came to a close, we were eager to hear three extraordinary stories of leadership from our keynote speakers.
Laura Marino, CPO, TrueAccord, revealed the challenging and sometimes difficult decisions that leaders face, and how to do the right thing even when it’s hard. The experiences Laura shared highlight the balance between human connection and business. “Of all the leadership challenges that I have faced in my career, accepting that I was no longer needed has been one of the toughest.”
The three key leadership lessons Clara Shih, Executive Chairwoman and Founder, Hearsay Systems, shared remind us to welcome each of our differences and the diversity it brings to our teams. “I believe that each of us is especially equipped to know when we need to lead, to know when there’s an occasion to rise to, and then to step up, even if it scares us,” she said. “At no time has this been more important than now.” Yes!
Our closing keynote, Kasha Stewart, Head of Product, Movies Everywhere, spoke of her unconventional career path that ultimately led to product management and her approach to authentic leadership. “Trusting your instincts and knowing that there can be a better way, and especially when you don’t even know the outcome,” is at the heart of Kasha’s leadership values.
Beyond the Stage
Our main stages were packed with insight and inspiration from our keynotes and featured speakers, but it wasn’t the only reason everyone logged on. In-app and on platform, attendees discovered so many new ways to connect with each other through common interests, locations, and by chance! Nothing’s quite like meeting new people in person, but we think we came pretty close with our on-camera 1:1 Networking feature that randomly paired attendees for 3 minute chats. The conversations didn’t have to end there. Attendees looking to take the conversation further were able to exchange contact information directly in our app!
The opportunities to connect didn’t stop there! Our Interactive Sessions were the place to be to join live discussions with conference speakers and ask questions on-camera or via chat. This opportunity to engage with speakers and fellow attendees felt so special and intimate and was our personal favorite. Networking in the text-based chat throughout our platform was surprisingly easy and led many attendees to create their own Interactive Sessions to discuss a range of topics face-to-face. The power of technology fueled our vision for interpersonal connections at the conference and we are thrilled attendees took advantage of all we had to offer.
And that’s a wrap! In the midst of a year of uncertainty, we were absolutely blown away by the power of the community and optimism for the future felt at the Women In Product Conference 2020. Our team strives to make our annual conference a place where women PMs are able to connect with and learn from each other and walk away inspired; the event turnout and outpour of support we received this year proved that our community thrives even without a physical setting.
Take a Look at our 2020 Speakers
Join us in 2021!
This year we invite attendees to Ignite Possibility and challenge them to create opportunities out of the uncertainty we have all grappled with over the last year. Now is our moment, both personally and professionally, to optimize our success in a world that looks very different than it did one year ago.
We hope to see you there! Follow #21WIP on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, to keep up-to-date on all things Women In Product Conference 2021. And if you’re a product manager (or aspire to become one), we’d love you to join our Women In Product Facebook group.
Here’s to you, your careers, and the community you’re building with us. Together, we’re changing the face of product management!