How this Fine Arts Major transformed into a Head of ProductFeatured

ChloeSeo's profile thumbnail
Your story is so inspiring. My mentor tells me all the time, "no time to be shy. Keep showing the world who you are" and I can't agree more with you that "there is no prize in making yourself small!" Thank you for sharing your journey! 👏🏻
kashastewart's profile thumbnail
@ChloeSeo Sounds like you have a wise mentor! Thanks!
maggiewolff's profile thumbnail
Thank you for sharing! I always find people's career journeys so interesting, because so many of us end up so far from where we started, and also where we thought we'd end up. But I also think you make a great point (well, you make a lot of great points) - that having a diversity of experiences and backgrounds is always going to be valuable for ANY industry, team, company, role, etc. You can't innovate when everyone is thinking the same way.
kashastewart's profile thumbnail
Awe, thanks so much!
jennapetok's profile thumbnail
Thank you for sharing! I was a dance major in college and love hearing how your arts background translated into technical roles in product and leadership. Love your website, would you recommend any platforms or tools for building a consulting services website?
kashastewart's profile thumbnail
@jennapetok Thank you for your thoughtful note. My website is built using Squarespace by a female designer! FYI has several free resources for Freelancers from proposal & invoice templates. I am a big fan of Product Hunt https://www.producthunt.com/e/tools-for-freelancers. Penny is an invoicing app for startups and freelancers. Best of luck to you!
TranNgo's profile thumbnail
Thank you for sharing. Do you mind sharing some advice on finding mentors? I am still shy from asking someone I admire to become my mentor because I am afraid that I would bother him/her.
kashastewart's profile thumbnail
@TranNgo Thanks for your question. Think about what you want from a mentor and who you admire. Do you want advice or to broaden your network? Or someone you can check-in with regularly with goals? If you are in corporate or a large tech company, I would ask Employee Relations if they have a formal mentorship program. Also, join organizations that encourage mentorships. For my industry, specifically, Women in Product is a fantastic resource. Don't be shy, and I know that is easier said than done. Even if the person is busy, you never know until you try. I would make a list of at least 5 people you admire and why. I would create a short and sweet email template and personalize your email for each recipient. Have a friend proof your message. Be persistent even if you don't get a response; it may take several tries. It's perfectly fine to send a follow up 2 weeks later. Best of luck to you, and it only takes 1 reply!
TranNgo's profile thumbnail
Thank you very much for your response. It gives me more confidence now!
carlychalmers's profile thumbnail
Loved reading your story, thank you for sharing. I'm also a Fine Arts major, specialisation in New Media. :)
dsverzh2195's profile thumbnail
Hello Kasha, I find your story inspiring and wonderful over all the trials that you went through in the industry you wanted to be in. However, I wanted to know if we can discuss more of your career path and have a quick chat. Please let me know what you think.
kashastewart's profile thumbnail
Thanks so much for reaching out. Due to my scheduling, I wouldn't have time for a 1:1. Did you have a specific question or transitioning in general? Or feel free to DM me :)
dsverzh2195's profile thumbnail
I wanted to know, how did you know when it was time to transition? What gave you the confidence to do so.
kashastewart's profile thumbnail
Thank you for your question. I knew it was time to transition when I was no longer challenged or engaged with the work. In large organizations or startups, the executive team can change overnight; I found myself in that situation and didn't feel supported anymore to grow within the organization. Although I was a strong contributor, I wasn't a decision-maker. In my significant career jumps, I wasn't always 100% confident, but you know that old saying fake it till you make it. I also knew my current situation wasn't getting any better; that was motivation enough. Finding the right opportunity takes time; even if you aren't sure you want to leave or what's next, just put yourself out there. Get comfortable talking with recruiters and expressing what you are looking for in your next opportunity. Think about what is missing in your current role and start to list your must-haves and nice to haves to give you clarity and motivation. Know what environments, org structures, and leadership styles work for you. Think about how you would describe your career and goals to someone who didn't know you in 2 mins or less; what factors make you unique. The elevator pitch is real! Take your time, practice, and trust your instincts. As women, we are our biggest critics and want things to be perfect. There is no magic formula besides continuing to move forward even when the path isn't clear. Best of luck to you!
martinandrea's profile thumbnail
Such a great post! I have a background in Healthcare and I’m transitioning into Tech/Product and I’m met with a lot of push back and not much support because of my health background. Your experience is inspiring. As the only woman of color in my organization I find it difficult to get support in learning more about product/tech I’ve reached out to people I admire but I feel like I don’t have enough experience to even engage with a mentor. Any advice for someone only 1-2 years in the tech/product space and eager to learn more and gain experience.
kashastewart's profile thumbnail
@martinandrea - Thanks for your question! We definitely need you, healthcare is probably the largest opportunity for tech to disrupt things. You can always have a mentor at various stages of your career, think about what you hope to gain from a mentorship -advice, networking, or technical brainstorms. I recommend joining https://www.blackproductmanagers.com/apply and blackwomeninproduct.slack.com these are both incredible resources for any stage of career and will help with the learning curve. Both communities have advice and mentor opportunities. Best of luck to you and remember we need you!