My Name Is Emily Yankush — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

Emily hiking in Polk, PA | Photo by Aha!

February 11, 2023

My Name Is Emily Yankush — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

by Why I Joined Aha!

Variety energizes me. Growing up in a small town in Ohio, I enjoyed participating in a bunch of activities — from calculus classes to band practice and soccer. I relished the opportunity to learn about multiple areas and interact with different types of people. In college I majored in business management and minored in communications — I wanted to keep my career options broad.

No matter what I am doing, I find joy when I am working closely with people and pushing myself to solve new challenges.

After graduation, I joined a software company in Pittsburgh as a business analyst. I focused on their tax collection product — discovering more about state and local tax codes than I ever imagined. Over time, I became heavily involved in the interviewing process and was asked to lead the human resources department.

While I loved the challenge of learning a new field and seeing what the team accomplished, I wanted to be closer to the product. So I shifted roles at the company — eventually to assistant product manager. I was particularly proud of helping to implement a new tax system for the county of San Francisco.

Six years in, I was ready to take on a new opportunity. I became a product manager at a small company that builds software for nonprofits and churches. Here I oversaw a new product launch for the first time. Going from concept to launch was a huge accomplishment and taught me a lot about the product world. I also applied my skills to helping the team be more efficient — we did everything from implementing new development planning tools to adopting agile and kanban workflows. When the company was acquired, I began to reflect on what I was looking for in a company and team long term.

I knew about Aha! through the book Lovability. I had read it several years prior, when I was searching for highly regarded books about product management. What stood out to me most was Brian's authenticity. He did not simply make claims about what a good organization should look like — he actually laid out, in detail, how to live your values and operationalize the culture you are striving for.

So when I saw an opening for a Product Success Manager role, I jumped at the chance to combine my love of product and helping people. The interview process was incredibly efficient and comprehensive. I appreciated that everyone I spoke to focused on my actual experience instead of "what if" questions. This led to deeper discussions about my approach to product strategy, understanding customer needs, and collaborating with the product team.

Transitioning from a product to customer success role has brought me sustainable happiness. I am able to do challenging work that is customer-facing — which I need to be truly engaged over the long term.

Our team follows The Responsive Method (TRM), a framework that enables us to have dozens of interesting, highly relevant interactions with customers (and each other) each week. Answering people's questions quickly and personally is tremendously satisfying. We are able to apply our deep product knowledge to address all kinds of nuanced and complex questions from our customers.

A big reason we accomplish so much is our onboarding program — which is especially impressive to the former HR manager in me. Each new hire at Aha! spends more than a month completing extensive training with a coach from our Product Success team

The onboarding program for Product Success folks is particularly notable. It is several months long and follows the framework of learn, see, practice, do, and maintain. We receive consistent and constructive feedback — the support and encouragement from my teammates is remarkable. The end result is that everyone receives the structure, documentation, and resources we need to succeed in our roles.

I am fortunate that I now spend a huge portion of my day doing the type of consultative, people-focused work that I love.

I absolutely adore the world of product and being able to serve all different types of product builders gives me joy. My teammates and I are empowering people to be their best, one interaction at a time.

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

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