What do the career path and the day-in-the-life look like for a Director of Product Management at Definitive Healthcare?
We connected with Catherine Wright to find out!
Interested in learning more about Definitive Healthcare? Make sure to check out their company page!
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Chatham, New Jersey, a town about 30 minutes outside of Manhattan and a big commuter town for those working in New York City. Growing up, I always imagined I’d end up living or working in New York City. However, I ended up going to Boston College for undergrad and Boston captured my heart. It’s been about 10 years now & I’m still here!
What did your parents do for work? Where did you go to college? What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?
I was fortunate to grow up in a household where my parents & sister served as constant role models and where creativity, education, and hard work were always encouraged. My mom is a Registered Nurse and my dad an Electrical Engineer - two very practical and impressive career paths - so when I chose to major in Environmental Geosciences, the question of “What do you do with that major?” naturally came up a couple times at the dinner table! Truthfully, I didn't have a great answer at the time but I loved what I was learning and was motivated by the possibility that I could apply what I was studying in the classroom to real-world environmental and sustainability initiatives.
Upon graduation, I began interviewing with some of the largest energy & natural resource companies and quickly realized I was more attracted to the flexible, and sometimes unpredictable, culture of a “start-up” company….enter Definitive Healthcare, which had about 20 employees when I first joined. While healthcare may have been a departure from my planned career path, the problems that exist in the healthcare industry bear a remarkable resemblance to those faced in the environmental sustainability sector in that they are hugely complex issues that impact every human being and which I believe can only be solved through data driven decisions and innovative thinking.
What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?
Since day one at Definitive Healthcare, I have been surrounded by some of the smartest, kindest, and most supportive people who have continued to serve as mentors and role models throughout my career. They have fostered an environment that encourages quick thinking, risk taking, and learning from failure - all attributes that I highly value and believe to be crucial in any endeavour, personal or professional.
I have also come to realize that you need to be your own biggest advocate. Set your sights on something and figure out what you need to do to get there - ask for help, be vocal about your goals, and take risks! Sometimes you need to create your own opportunities, rather than wait for ones to arise.
Finally, don’t overlook the value of being a team player. I believe very strongly in the thinking that “a rising tide lifts all boats”. Look for ways to support those around - you’ll likely learn just as much, if not more, through those experiences.
Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as a Director of Product Management at Definitive Healthcare?
Definitive Healthcare aims to facilitate better conversations and better results in the healthcare industry through the availability of accurate and innovative healthcare data. In my current role, I work with a wide array of stakeholders to develop new products that enable Definitive’s clients to gain more insight into the increasingly complex healthcare ecosystem and to drive innovation in this rapidly growing market. Day to day, this means operating at both a high level and planning our product roadmap and strategic initiatives for the next 6 - 24 months, while also collaborating with our engineering team to deliver new products and features to our clients on a monthly basis.
I love my role as it allows me to interact with so many different aspects of our business; from jumping on client calls, to supporting on product release rollouts, to contributing to due diligence efforts with M&A targets, and more. No two days are the same and I love the variety - it keeps you on your toes and keeps you humble as every day is a learning experience!
Any tips for someone considering a career in your field?
Every opportunity is just that - an opportunity. Very few careers are linear with clearly defined paths and Product Management is no exception. The product management space is exceptionally cross functional - you wear so many different “hats” throughout one day: business, engineering, customer service, etc. I don’t believe there is a single role that would not provide valuable experience if Product Management is your goal so keep an open mind and be willing to take on new roles and experiences.
Additionally, building strong relationships and open lines of communication is key to the Product Management role. Try to view every interaction and conversation as a learning opportunity - the more you understand the nuances and strengths and weaknesses of your business or industry, the better Product Manager you’ll be!
Day in the Life
Coffee, tea, or nothing?
Tea! My (in)famous mug has been by my side every step of the way!
What time do you get into the office?
Pre-COVID, I was definitely an early riser and liked getting to the office early to get work done before the hustle and bustle of the day started. Now the office is my kitchen table & the commute is much shorter. I usually start my day walking our dog around South Boston and grabbing some tea from our local coffee shop before signing on!
What motivates you in your role?
Working at a rapidly expanding company means you have to stay on your toes. There is always something new to learn, a different way to approach a problem, or maybe a new priority that no one saw coming! I love that I constantly find myself in unfamiliar territory and have the opportunity to learn new skills or become a thought leader in an area of our field to which I previously had little or no exposure.
We are also fortunate to have amazing customers who view us are partners and are eager to share industry insights, provide feedback, or even just engage in an open ended brainstorming session with us. Definitive has always been an extremely flexible and dynamic company and we are able to take ideas and feedback and quickly translate that into meaningful products or enhancements for our customers. Our customers are solving some of the toughest, yet most important, problems within the healthcare market and it’s awesome to be able to play a part in that process.
Any productivity hacks?
Run defense on your calendar! Especially in remote/Zoom land, calendar real estate can be precious. Don’t be afraid to block off time & commit to getting certain projects done during those blocks.
What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?
Throwback to 2002 - while I’d love for my answer to be the trendiest app out there, the real answer here is the Windows Snipping Tool (Definitive is a Microsoft shop). Similar to Netflix constantly threatening to pull the West Wing from its platform, let’s hope Microsoft never follows through on its plan to deprecate this tool. Otherwise, not much of an avid app-er! I prefer the tried and true pen and paper for my most serious brainstorming or planning sessions.
What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?
Outside of having some awesome opportunities at Definitive Healthcare, I am most proud of my relationship with Crossroads School, a local Massachuesetts organization that serves the autism community. Definitive Healthcare has an amazing culture of volunteerism and giving back and through Definitive, I’d have the opportunity to work closely with Crossroads School for over five years now. I was asked to join the Crossroads Board of Trustees in 2018 and have had the amazing opportunity to further support this incredible organization through that position. I have seen first-hand the positive impact that partnerships between corporations and non-profits can have for all involved and hope to expand Crossroads School’s relationships with other local businesses & corporate communities over the coming years.
Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?
While I rely heavily upon my husband and family for advice of all kinds, my boss/Chief Product Officer, Kate Shamsuddin Jensen, has also played a major role in my professional development over the years. I have been fortunate to work with Kate for over 5 years and have watched her help grow the company from a small start-up to a full scale product organization. Kate has an amazing knack for knowing how to respond in any given situation with tact, grace, and confidence & I feel very fortunate to have her as a mentor. Her flexibility to operate at both 10,000 feet and also 1 inch deep, when needed, is an important skill that I attempt to emulate in my day to day at Definitive Healthcare. It’s inspiring to have such a successful and caring individual in your corner.