My Name Is Debbie Fougere — This Is Why I Joined Aha!
Life is full of teachable moments. I grew up in a small town in New Brunswick, Canada, surrounded by educators. My parents, grandmother, as well as several aunts and uncles were all school teachers. While I always appreciated the value of teaching, I wanted to forge my own path. This required leaving my hometown and seeking out different people and opportunities.
Challenging yourself to seek new experiences is not easy — but it is essential if you want to grow.
I moved to Nova Scotia after high school to study business and management. Upon graduating university, I relocated to Edmonton, Alberta to begin my career in a bigger city. A local recruiter sent me to Intuit to interview for an open product manager job. This was the early days of product management and I knew very little about what the role entailed. But I was excited to learn and start my career at a highly respected software company.
Product management was the perfect fit for me. I loved being a product expert, working closely with cross-functional teams, and learning from customers about their problems. Advocating for our users and helping them succeed was incredibly fulfilling.
Seven years later, my husband and I moved with our children to Halifax, Nova Scotia. I enjoyed being closer to my extended family while continuing to gain valuable product management experience — first at a nearby telecommunications company, then remotely for an edtech organization producing software for interactive whiteboards.
Along the way, I built meaningful relationships with mentors who pushed me to challenge myself and grow in my career.
In my first leadership role, I directed product and delivery at a healthcare technology company. This entailed managing a product portfolio used by more than 1.5 million Canadian patients and healthcare professionals. I also led data privacy and security efforts to ensure legal compliance.
Later I became VP of product and delivery at a SaaS company using data to help athletes improve their performance. I oversaw the team of product managers, scrum masters, UI/UX designers, and QA analysts who were building the cloud-based platform.
At this point, I was already a big Aha! fan. I used the roadmapping software in prior roles and directed new hires to the blog and product management guides. I appreciated how Aha! helped teams stay focused on strategy, and I found the online content to be an invaluable educational resource.
I was gearing up to introduce Aha! to my team when I stumbled upon the company's careers page. I was not actively looking for a new opportunity, but I admired the product and connected deeply with the company's values of learning and growth. So I decided to apply to an open role on the Customer Success team. The next day, I received an email to schedule my first interview. Within two weeks, I received an offer to join the company.
Every day I relish sharing my two decades of product management knowledge and experience with customers around the world.
I enjoy speaking with product leaders on live video calls and seeing how excited they are to introduce Aha! to their own teams. It is so rewarding to show folks how to set strategy, build stunning roadmaps, and measure progress along the way.
Today I do not have to look hard to find mentors or teachable moments. I am constantly learning something new from my outstanding colleagues. Everyone is extremely passionate about their work and is always willing to answer a question or offer help.
I may not be standing in front of a classroom, but I am proud to help educate product managers around the globe. It is a privilege to share what I have learned about innovation and show people everything that is possible with our amazing product.
That is why I joined Aha! — and why you should too.