My Name Is Chrissi Bernardo — This Is What I Achieve at Aha!
What is the best way to accelerate your career? Work in a high-growth company that challenges you and puts learning first. An unwavering motivation to continue improving and achieving is also key. The highest performers constantly pursue new ideas and seek to understand the experiences and motivations of the people around them. We can learn a lot from them.
Curiosity fuels growth — which is why we want to bring you personal stories of achievement from talented people. Our hope is that some of their ideas are useful and maybe even inspirational as you work to become your best.
Meet Chrissi Bernardo — a product manager on the Aha! product and UX team. She loves helping build and deliver new customer experiences that make people's daily work more efficient and impactful. Chrissi lives in Long Beach, California with her husband, where she enjoys running and playing with her dog, Tuwa.
Watch the video and read on to learn more about how Chrissi finds meaning and joy in her work — in her own words.
What energizes you about being a product manager?
"Being a product manager at Aha! is a unique experience — we are building software for other product managers around the world. In prior jobs, I focused on how to help my customers. But in my role at Aha! I like to think that the value we create is amplified. When I deliver something valuable to our customers, they can then deliver something valuable to their customers in turn. It has a real multiplier effect."
Which recent accomplishment at Aha! are you most proud of?
"The work of product management is not always easy, but it is gratifying to collaborate with teammates to solve difficult problems."
"For example, I recently collaborated with our team to launch two significant features — automated scorecard metrics and new prioritization views. As product managers, we are constantly making decisions about what to build next. These two releases make it easier to evaluate the potential value of a new feature against the effort required to deliver it.
Our product team went through multiple iterations and many discussions about exactly what our customers needed. The work involved in identifying the ideal solution was certainly not straightforward. But in the end, it was extremely satisfying to know that we were able to deliver something that helps other product teams drive more efficient processes."
What has been the most rewarding thing about joining the Aha! team?
"While I am proud of the work that we accomplish as a team, I am equally proud to be part of a company that encourages us to reach beyond ourselves and serve our communities."
"Earlier this year, Aha! Cares contributed funds to a nonprofit in my community that provides food, hygiene products, and other necessities to underserved folks in Long Beach, California. It is humbling to think about how this contribution helped feed and clothe more than 3,000 people for two months."
What is the most surprising but useful career advice someone has given you?
"Professional development is not always linear — and that is okay. I grew up thinking I would follow in my father's footsteps and become a lawyer. I even took pre-law courses during college. Because I had invested all that time, it was tempting to continue that path even though my heart was not in it. It took some time to discover (and then transition into) product management, but now I am in a role that I genuinely enjoy. I know that everything I have done so far in my career has helped form me into the person and product manager I am today."
What advice do you have for an aspiring or early-career product manager?
"Remember that it is not always your responsibility to come up with all the ideas for your product."
"As a product manager, you are always thinking about ways to improve your offering and deliver more value to customers. But you do not have all the answers — nor should you. This is why you have to look outward. Spend time with your customers to discover what they really need. Listen to their challenges, understand their goals, and empathize with their struggles.
Then lean into the expertise of your cross-functional teammates — engineers, marketers, customer success, and more. Considering their perspectives helps you gain a more holistic understanding of the customer experience. This is invaluable for figuring out how to improve upon your product in a meaningful way."
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