My Name Is Chrissi Bernardo — This Is Why I Joined Aha!
Some kids know exactly what they want to be when they grow up. Not me. But my family always said I would make a great lawyer. My dad is an attorney — we are both detail-oriented, talkative (some would say persuasive), and intent on solving problems. So I defaulted to pre-law in college even though I was not sure of my path. In my first semester, I took a Psych 101 class and became enamored by the study of human behavior. I added psychology electives to my schedule and devoured every book on the topic.
Understanding how people think and behave fascinates me — I love applying this knowledge to influence people's lives for the better.
After college, I wanted to forge my own destiny. So I emigrated from the Philippines to New York City. Moving to another country by myself — with no job lined up, no real work experience, and no professional network — took guts. But I was determined to take advantage of every opportunity to grow and learn.
I researched roles that would pair psychology with my interest in technology. I soon discovered the field of user experience and joined a well-respected bootcamp program. Afterward, I accepted a job as a UX researcher at a large digital media company. It was thrilling to see how my research helped the product and engineering teams improve our readers' experience.
For my next challenge, I joined a small startup focused on building software for e-commerce companies. This was particularly exciting because I was the company's first full-time UX researcher. I established the UX function and conducted surveys, user interviews, and usability tests to better understand customers' pain points.
Identifying problems and communicating them to the product team was a good start — but I wanted to help build actual solutions.
I expressed this desire to the CTO, who encouraged me to transition into a product manager role. I loved working closely with engineers and other product managers to actually solve our customers' problems. After two years of doing this, I knew it was time to find a company with a larger user base where I could make an even bigger impact.
When I saw that Aha! was hiring a Customer Success specialist, I applied immediately. Even before becoming a product manager, I often turned to the Aha! blog and guides for advice. And I admired the company's values and customer-centric approach.
The interview process at Aha! was unlike anything I have ever experienced. It moved quickly — I was hired 15 days after I applied. And it was rigorous, with multiple rounds of conversations culminating in a product demo I gave to the team. Everyone I spoke to clearly cared deeply about their work and expected great things from each other.
Now as part of the Customer Success team, I am able to share my knowledge with a variety of customers. I encourage product managers at other companies to deliver more value for their users. And I am deeply invested in our own software, reviewing new features for the product team with that lens of our customers' experience always in my mind.
Instead of building one product for a single user base, my reach is infinitely larger because I help teams all over the world create better products.
The Responsive Method (TRM) is not just for our customers. We all treat one another with kindness and transparency. It still amazes me that I can report a bug to the engineering team and see a fix within minutes.
Working remotely is also a joy. Although many companies have shifted to remote work recently, Aha! has been entirely distributed from the beginning. Living in New York City energizes me, but if I ever decide to move to another state, I will not have to say goodbye to the job I love. I am making a positive difference in people's lives and I love every minute of it.
That is why I joined Aha! — and why you should too.