Office Hours: I have led product teams at Rally Health and Zynga. I'm Priya Cutts.Featured

Hi Everyone! I’m Priya Khokhar Cutts. I’m a Director of PMO at Rally Health, a United Health Group Company, focused on product delivery and operations. In 2020 I launched a new venture, Female Tech Leaders where I coach aspiring womxn on breaking into tech as well as nurturing and growing their careers. As part of this venture I host an interview series on YouTube and IGTV, Unfiltered with Priya. Our goal is to feature womxn in leadership roles across the US and Pakistan tech industry and tell their stories. I also serve as an advisor to multiple tech and tech enabled startups in the US and Pakistan. Prior to Rally, I was in the gaming start up ecosystem and a Producer at Zynga working on FarmVille. I started my career in business development and production in the gaming industry in the early days of Social gaming.I grew up in Lahore, Pakistan and am still navigating being an immigrant and woman of color in the US. I’m passionate about DEI and actively engaged in efforts at my current company and am an advocate for social and racial justice. When I’m not working I can be found goofing off with my 2.5year and 9 month olds sons. I’m a huge fan of traveling to new places and a good podcast feeds my soul. Ask me about product delivery best practices, career growth advice, leadership skills, being an immigrant woman in tech, navigating being a working mom in a demanding tech job and more!
Thanks so much for joining us @priyakcutts!Elphas – please ask @priyakcutts your questions before Friday, March 12th. @priyakcutts may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
Hi @priyakcuttsThank you so much for taking part in Office Hours. As a recent new mother myself, I'd be intrigued to hear what have you learnt speaking to other female leaders who are mothers specifically within the tech industry? What advice would you give to those looking to juggle progression in a demanding industry with navigating family life?
Hi Liv, Congratulations on your new addition! Becoming a momma and finding my new identity has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life. Leading up to the birth of my first son, I spent a lot of time reading, listening to podcasts and talking to other mothers, especially in tech.A few things I’ve found helpful have been;- Moms in Tech group on FB. You may not agree with everything posted there but there are so many shared experiences with those ladies that it’s been a great solace for me.- My mama tribe. I found a moms group and rely on them to be my sanity when I’m out of my depth and need a safe space.- I also realized early on that I wanted to bring my whole self to work, always. Part of my new identity is being a mom and that’s ok, not someth to hide.So I normalized it within my team, my peer group as well as senior leadership that being a mother is a part of me and something I will not hide. I have pumped during meetings, turned off the camera but acknowledged that I’m pumping.I talk about how tough being a mom and really a parent had been during the pandemic.I’ve been surprised honestly by how that’s encouraged more people, especially women to feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work.Work life balance before having kids was the ability to unplug on the weekends, go for a hike or the spa. These days, its about being present for bath time and being on at 7am for that exec presentation.So sometimes, I miss bath time, my husband does a great job with that. And other times, I miss that presentation.But thats the trade off, it's impossible to expect to do 100% of either one of these roles.Here's the honest to God truth of how I achieve any work-life balance:- I married the right partner, he picks up my slack and I pick up his.- I outsource a lot of things like housecleaning- I have let go of mom guilt, well, I'm trying very hard to.- I have normalized being a mom with my team, my kids pop up in meetings, they know when I'm off camera I'm nursing or pumping.- I rely on my working mom friends to commiserate with on how hard this is.I hope you find this helpful and please feel free to reach out with any other questions.
Hi Priya, Thank you for such a thoughtful and honest response ❤️ I definitely know what you mean re: finding your new identity as a mother, I’m in the process of this but your words have really given me a lot of food for thought, some great actions and also optimism for going forward as a mum in this industry ☺️Thank you!
Hi @priyakcutts!I’m new to product management and was so excited to see your post this morning! Part of my role is to keep all product owners aligned with each other and other stakeholders. As a junior woman in my role, I sometimes find it difficult to feel authority in my position when working with senior men. Do you have any suggestions as I navigate this challenge?Thanks!
Hi Bianca,Thank you for the question, it’s one that is very close to me. I’m often the only woman in meetings that’s trying to wrangle and focus stakeholders. A few things that have helped me in my career have been:- I always send an agenda ahead of any meeting, this way from the get go everyone involved knows that I’ll be leading the discussion. - Seek ally’s, men that clearly see the bias against women and want to be part of the change. Use them as a place to practice being assertive.- This next ones hard and has come to me over many years. I tend to leave titles at the door. I show respect but if I am ultimately responsible for something, I can’t allow rank to get in the way. Finally, be kind to yourself. As women we’ve been conditioned to normalize negative self talk. Imposter syndrome. The reality is, you’re in the role you’re in because you deserve to be there. Lean into that reality to help find confidence. I hope this is helpful!
Hi! I accepted a partner position in a Chilean start-up that offers online, microlearning PD courses to educators. Our biggest issue as a small development team is scaling - in 4 months we´ve made like 10 courses and we´d like to have 50 or so in the first year. Also, any going to market advice is great. We´re working with a consultant to define our early adopters and MVP, but even with lots of strategizing it still kind of feels like we´re going in blind... Thanks and looking forward to office hours!
Hi Emily, Scaling is hard, I think what I’ve found the most helpful has been a LRP (Long range plan) which tends to be more waterfall, as an anchor.From there really digging deep on non negotiables, what has to be in there for MVP.Once you have than, plan it out. Have a plan B if you have variables like headcount or budget.Putting multiple plans together especially for an initial launch has been extremely helpful in my experience.This also tells a clear story with trade offs that need to be made to your stakeholders.I’d be happy to answer more in depth if you’d like to follow up.
Thanks Priya! I´d like to know more about what you mean by putting multiple plans together going into an initial launch. And I definitely am with you on having a LRP - I think sometimes we´re so obsessed with launching that no one really thinks beyond the first couple of months. Would love to follow up if you´re available.
Hi Priya! I'm also in the gaming world. Have you found any differences in product management best practices between gaming and healthcare? How was that transition for you?
Hi Jennie,I’m more focused on the product delivery side of things so can speak more around that.In my experience, gaming moves much faster and you have a lot more leeway with what you am experiment with.In helathtech you have to work within certain parameters depending on how you’re engaging with PHI so that can often curb how creative you can get.
Hi @priyakcuttsI would love to hear what are some of your favourite podcasts?
Hi Molly,Right now I’m listening to Brene Browns Unlocking us on Spotify and am absolutely loving it!Some others that I enjoy are:- The Women in Tech Show hosted by Edaena Salinas - Something Ventured – Silicon Valley Podcast hosted by Kent Lindstrom- Women Tech Charge hosted by Dr. Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, CEO of Witty: Women in Tech Talk to Yaz hosted by Yasmin Alameddine- She Did It Her Way hosted by Amanda Boleyn- Unchained Podcast hosted by Laura Shin - Leaders With Babies by Leaders Plus- She Talks Tech- getWITit | Women in Technology by Elizabeth ToliaHope you find some of these interesting!
Fantastic, thank you so much!
@priyakcutts I’m interested in transitioning in product management in the healthcare space. I have a lot of transferable skills, but no ‘product manager’ title in my background and am finding that to be my biggest challenge. Do you think a product management certificate is of value to making this transition or in the role?
Hi Naini,Certifications can sometimes help but I would recommend trying to get exposure to the actual work in your current role. Being able to answer product management questions and think critically through strategies will go a longer way than any certification.I’d also recommend looking at online courses through LinkedIn learning and Coursera as a starting point.Good luck!
Hi Priya!What have been the biggest challenges when building/launching a software product in healthcare?Also - what have been your favorite places to travel so far? 😊
Hi Mollie!!The most challenging thing about healthtech has been the regulations that we have to work within when dealing with PHI and PII. The other things I would say is that genre healthcare is a slower moving industry compared to tech. Marrying those two together can sometimes be challenging. Oooh favorite place to visit, I’d have to say Switzerland and Turkey. We took our 1 year old in 2019 and both places were very kid friendly, rich in culture and gorgeous!
Hi Priya!From your experience at Rally + Zynga, are there any differences in driving consumer adoption for a game vs. a behavioral health product? I can see a lot of similarities, but would be curious to hear your POV :)
Absolutely, I’m in a similar role (moved from games into fit tech) and would love to hear that POV
Hi Jessalyn,There are similarities for sure but behavioral health is still a new concept. Gaming on the other hand is an old industry and consumers are familiar with the major core loops and how to engage.In behavioral health, there’s still a lot of research being done on how success is linked to new neuropathways being formed. Traditionally that is t how people have engaged with their health before. The more tech savvy generation has an easier time engaging but it’s a slower roll with the elderly population. I hope this is helpful!
Very interesting, especially around the research part. I'm excited to see the results from longitudinal studies then. Thank you for the insight!