My Name Is Dale Potter — This Is Why I Joined Aha!
December 4, 2020

My Name Is Dale Potter — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

by Why I Joined Aha!

A small amount of courage can have a huge impact. I was introverted as a kid and struggled to form meaningful friendships. I wanted to participate in team sports and join a band, but my shyness held me back from connecting with the people around me. When I was 15, I had a major realization — I could either stay in my comfort zone or push myself to contribute. I decided that putting myself out there was worth the risk of rejection.

The greatest growth occurs when you challenge yourself to move beyond what is comfortable.

Once I overcame my mental block, making friends came naturally. I loved helping people and realized I wanted a career where I could be of service to others. HR sounded ideal, so I studied organizational psychology and business management at the University of South Africa. But halfway through my degree, I realized that most HR teams spend a lot of time on administrative work.

I faced another big decision — stick to my original plan or find something more fulfilling. Still working on connecting with more people, I befriended someone who worked at a software company that built HR products. He suggested technology might be a good fit for me. So I joined the company as a software tester.

But the CEO quickly noticed my passion for people. I began helping customers directly, meeting with five to 10 each week to train them and learn more about their problems. Eventually I grew into a product manager role. I still worked closely with customers but now I was in charge of building solutions.

One of my proudest moments during this period happened on a business trip to the Middle East. I was tasked with giving a demo to a prospective customer, a massive company that employed more than 100,000 people. Upon arrival, I discovered that I would be presenting not to a conference room but to an auditorium full of executives and board members. I mustered all my courage and gave the demo. In the end, we signed the customer and grew our market share significantly as a result.

Saying yes to anything difficult was a good lesson — the most daunting challenges often reap the biggest rewards for yourself and your team.

After working as a product manager for several years, I wanted to gain experience leading the development teams building our products. So I transitioned to an operations management role, where I oversaw an agile transformation. Helping my teammates work more efficiently and deliver value faster was incredibly rewarding.

Next I lead the dev teams at a major financial software company — first as a program manager, then as the executive responsible for product strategy and execution. I discovered Aha! while overseeing an initiative to adopt the SAFe framework. Aha! Roadmaps revolutionized the way I thought about building products. I finally had a tool to link strategy to work and prioritize what to build next.

A few years later, my wife and I were ready for another adventure and decided to move our family from South Africa to the U.K. I met up for coffee with my former colleague Madeleine Black, who now worked at Aha! on the Customer Success team. She told me about The Responsive Method, extolled the benefits of remote work, and suggested I consider one of the open roles.

I was not sure if I would fit in with the high caliber of people who work for Aha! — but I decided to be bold and apply.

I am ecstatic I did. Now I spend each day ensuring the happy use of our software. It is gratifying to interact with a variety of people and help them achieve their goals. Working closely with customers again is a joy.

Aha! is a totally different kind of company. Our leaders genuinely care about our team, our customers, and our communities. Even though we are distributed all over the world, we work with one heartbeat. Everyone is an expert — we act with transparency, kindness, and responsiveness. I love working at a company that values growth as much as I do. There is always more to learn and new ways to challenge myself.

That is why I joined Aha! — and why you should too.

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