Career Path - Varsha Menon, Product Education Manager at Yesware
What does the career path and day-in-the-life look like for a Product Education Manager at Yesware?
Where did you grow up? What did your parents do for work? What was your very first job (before any internships)?
I was born in India and have lived in Louisiana, Florida, Utah, Maryland, Virginia, and Massachusetts. My mom works in retail banking and my dad was a software engineer. My first job was as a sales associate at Old Navy when I was in college.
Where did you go to college? What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?
I went to the University of Virginia's McIntire School of Commerce (that's a mouthful!). I studied Business, concentrating in Marketing & Management. My first job out of school was in sales. The role wasn't a great fit for me, but I'm very grateful for the experience since sales is so ubiquitous - it's part of everything we do. Even when I moved on to Customer Success at Yesware, I found that being comfortable with being sales-y and with negotiations prepared me well for navigating renewals and upsells.
After college, you landed in various positions within Customer Success initially. What sparked your interest in that type of role?
Customer Success appealed to me because I could be the customer's advocate and serve as the liaison between the customer and the Product team. I also love learning, so teaching customers how to get the most out of Yesware was exciting to me. I enjoyed being a product expert and being able to use this knowledge to empower my customers.
How did you make the transition to your current position as Product Education Manager at Yesware?
Like I mentioned, I love learning and sharing knowledge with others. While I was a CSM, I spent time on side-projects to empower other CSMs, by standardizing the team's customer onboarding process and to building out product education resources. The culmination of this work was an updated suite of training videos that we could share with customers as a self-service training resource. As I was doing this work, there was a clear need for someone who would focus on Product Education in a full-time capacity. I could bring a unique perspective to this role since I had worked with Yesware customers for almost two years and really understood their needs. It was a perfect fit. I love that my role means that I work cross-functionally with all teams and that it is always evolving based on company-wide initiatives and priorities.
Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position?
At a high-level, my goal as a Product Education Manager is to create and share product knowledge that can empower Yesware employees (particularly those on customer-facing teams) and Yesware customers. I manage all video and help center content so that we have a complete and updated knowledge base. To drive transparency around product releases and enable Sales, Marketing and Customer Success, I coordinate with product managers to write weekly release notes. As more of a strategic effort, I've designed a cross-functional go-to-market process and led planning for product launches and releases. Finally, I manage our NPS process, coordinating NPS feedback processes and presenting recommendations to the company.
Day in the Life
What's your go-to snack while you're at work?
Plantain chips with a banana. The combination of sweet and salty along with the mixing of textures makes for a delectable snack.
What's your favorite office perk at Yesware?
Professional coaching for all employees. This "perk" only further demonstrates Yesware's commitment to my personal and professional growth.
What are you reading right now?
Beyond Infinity: An Expedition to the Outer Limits of Mathematics by Eugenia Cheng
Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?
Morning: When I get to work (between 9:00 and 9:30), I make myself a yogurt parfait (with fruit and chia/flax seeds) and check my emails while I'm eating breakfast. I use Google Keep to manage my weekly/daily to-do's, so I'll also spend a few minutes planning my day and setting 2-3 key objectives. I'm definitely a morning person, so I like to use my mornings for focused work, like writing release notes or creating help center content.
Afternoon: I always eat lunch with others in our kitchen. One of Yesware's perks is free lunch (and my Econ professor said there wasn't such a thing!) every day. This is a great opportunity to interact with folks on different teams. I know that I'm least productive in the early afternoon, so I tend to schedule meetings at this time to get over that afternoon slump while still use my time well.
Evening: I like to wrap up my day with another burst of focused work and planning for the next day. I try to catch in a workout class before heading home. I call my mom every day, usually on my commute home (sometimes I'll walk 4.5 miles home and talk to her then to kill two birds with one stone). Once I get back home, I spend time with my partner. We try to cook a few times a week.
Are you able to "shut off" when you leave for the day or do you take your work home with you?
I believe it's crucial to "shut off" when I leave work. Not only do I believe this makes me more productive when I'm at work, but I also feel that this separation allows me to focus on other enriching activities like reading, art-making, cooking, and lifelong learning.
Any special productivity hacks?
I start each day at work by creating a list of 2-3 things I want to accomplish that day. I end the day by checking my progress and moving anything I didn't complete to the next day (almost like a Bullet Journal).
What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?
Buffalo wings, guacamole, and samosas. All jokes aside, my favorite app is Moment. It tracks my mobile activity, so that I actually use my phone less and I am more intentional with my time.
What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?
Creating a new role at Yesware (i.e. my current role as Product Education Manager).
Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?
My mom. After my dad passed away, she started her career at 35 while supporting two kids - she's the strongest woman I know. Plus, I can trust her to give me solid advice, because she knows me best.