My Name Is Erin Ward — This Is Why I Joined Aha!
Could you imagine going to medical school in your late 30s with four young children? It is hard for me to fathom. But that is exactly what my grandfather did. Already a professor of chemical engineering at Georgia Tech, he decided to become an ear, nose, and throat physician. This was not a whim — he saw a real need in our small town. So he founded the area’s first otorhinolaryngology clinic. This is just one of the many reasons he is a major role model to me.
Seeing a need and then learning the skills necessary to solve it is something I strive to do everyday — in my community and in my own career.
I entered Georgia Tech intending to pursue a pre-med track. I wanted to become a doctor too, but I quickly realized that I was more passionate about the business side of healthcare. My mom handled the administrative work at my grandad’s clinic and encouraged me to explore the business of healthcare as a career path. Seeing the impact she had on the clinic, I was inspired to pursue a degree in business administration and management.
Shortly after graduating, I started my career in healthcare technology as an implementation specialist. I traveled the country training both small community practices and large healthcare enterprises how to use electronic health record (EHR) software. It was an interesting time because the Affordable Care Act had recently passed in the U.S., giving doctors financial incentives to adopt EHR software. Business was brisk.
Working closely with hundreds of physician practices, I saw firsthand how access to data (and being able to report on it) was essential to improving patient outcomes. I loved understanding our customers’ pain points and helping them leverage technology to better serve their patients.
After three years as a road warrior, I was seen as a subject matter expert on reporting and analytics within our software. This helped me be successful in my next role as product analyst on the organization’s product team. I spent the next year identifying product gaps and developing custom reporting solutions. I found a mentor and taught myself some of the coding skills required to implement solutions for our customers’ problems.
I now understood deeply how to improve upon the technology to benefit customers. But I wanted to do more. I had that opportunity when I was asked to become a product manager. I led a team of product and business analysts, helping to launch a new analytics solution as well as hundreds of new features to our customer base. I also ensured regulatory compliance and coached my teammates on our product and the healthcare technology industry. I became passionate about product management and sharing best practices with my co-workers.
I first heard about Aha! while I was searching for a product management tool to use in my daily work. I had done most of my roadmap planning manually in spreadsheets and felt there had to be a better way. After reading some of the Aha! blog posts, I came across the Customer Success opening. I thought it perfectly aligned my skills, values, and desire to work closely with customers.
I was excited about the idea of leveraging my product management experience to make an impact at a high-growth and fast-paced company.
I knew it would not be easy to leave the healthcare industry, but I was ready to challenge myself to learn more things and serve a new community. Every single person I spoke to at Aha! during the interview process was transparent, responsive, and seemed to love what they were doing. It was refreshing to see.
Since joining the Aha! team, I continue to be impressed. I have learned so much from my teammates. We are all experts and everyone brings a wealth of experience across multiple industries. Each day I have the pleasure of working with product teams at companies of every size — from startups to large enterprises. I still smile every time a customer thanks us for providing quick feedback and assistance. I am proud to be a part of a company that delivers such exceptional service.
Working remotely, I love that I can help product builders around the world while still living in the town I grew up in. I know that I am making my grandfather proud — honoring his legacy of working hard, making a difference, and serving my community.
That is why I joined Aha! — and why you should too.