My Name Is Bonnie Trei — This Is Why I Joined Aha!
Teams are important to me. Growing up as an only child, I created “teams” of friends. I was fascinated by people who had backgrounds and strengths that were different from my own. My teams were incredibly diverse. This taught me the importance of building community and helped to develop a strong sense of empathy from an early age.
Born and raised in Dallas, TX, I went to a small liberal arts college about 60 miles north of the city. I was originally pre-med, but after two years, I changed to a double major in business and psychology. (And I still use both sets of skills daily.)
Studying business and psychology helped me to be acutely aware of my surroundings and how I contribute in a team environment.
After college, I started learning the ropes as a consultant for Fortune 100 telecom companies before exploring the excitement of the dot-com world. I discovered that leading product for startups in the hyper-growth phase was a perfect fit for me — I could be close to the initial passion and goal, while still helping the teams grow.
Product management involves leading many cross-functional teams, in a way that inspires them to build great things. The work requires balancing personalities and motivating factors. My empathetic side knew that no single approach works for everyone, while my analytical side enjoyed the challenge of finding the right solution.
Throughout my career, I found satisfaction in roles that centered around building teams and processes — either from the ground up or by fixing something that was no longer working.
I eventually transitioned into the agency world at Tribal DDB, where I combined the skills from consulting huge companies and small startups to create products and solutions for clients like Pepsi and Bud Light. Later I joined MaryKay.com, leading the international rollout of a new experience for the site and the personal websites for all Mary Kay consultants.
Most recently I was head of product at rewardStyle, an invitation-only web tool that helps top-tier style publishers find and monetize their content. The product management team grew to a size where we desperately needed consistency in our roadmapping and reporting.
This is when a colleague told me about Aha! and, during a holiday break, I added our strategy and started to build out our roadmap. In the process, I fell in love with the product and the company after taking some time to learn more about it. The more I read the Aha! blog, the more I realized I wanted to be part of this team — one that had solved 15 years worth of problems for me with a single product.
I was intrigued by the opportunity to work in the product management arena that I love but to do it differently — at an incredibly high-growth and 100 percent distributed software company.
Many company leaders fail to understand the currency of their team — what makes people work hard and love what they are doing. I quickly saw that Aha! has figured this out. During the interview process, I could tell that almost as important as the product itself was changing the paradigm of how teams work.
As a product manager, you sometimes get worn down working on the same problems. Since joining the Aha! Customer Success team I have found a new adventure — helping our customers solve those problems every day. And the company has truly mastered the distributed team. I am able to give my best to the team and our customers. Once I am done, I am already at home to spend time with my family. My commute is walking out from my home office.
I love the work. I get to apply my years of experience transforming teams to help others optimize their product management work. What could be better than that?
That is why I joined Aha! — and why you should too.