My Name Is Jessica Groff — This Is Why I Joined Aha!
In college, I was recruited to be one of the founding members of the St. Edward’s University women’s golf team. It was our job to help build a successful program and recruit even more talented players. We got a little better every year. Today, the program continues to thrive — 2016 was the 10th straight year that the team made it to regionals.
The lasting reward of that effort brings more pride than any individual accolades I received as a player. I loved being a part of building something great and lasting.
I followed that drive to build and accepted a job in the tech scene in Austin, Texas. I have been an early employee at several business-to-business SaaS companies. One grew from 30 employees to nearly 300, while another swelled to serve more than a million users. As the product marketing manager at both, I took pride in helping teams build and market great products.
But I wasn’t done learning. I decided to pursue a master’s degree in advertising to expand my skills. I took classes at the University of Texas at Austin by night while working at a startup by day.
I focused my studies on digital advertising and user behavior — it was obvious that was the direction that the industry (and product marketing, specifically) was headed. By the time I graduated, I had moved on to a product manager role at YouEarnedIt, a leading employee engagement SaaS company.
Employee engagement became a new passion. Once again, I took pride in setting the foundation of what we were building. I helped grow revenue and users by tenfold and mentored the rapidly expanding team.
I absolutely fell in love with product management. I read everything I could to become a better product manager and to build a product that people loved using.
I frequently heard about Aha! from my peers and started to read the company’s blog. The posts resonated with me, both from a culture perspective and from a product and marketing perspective. There were times it felt like certain blog posts were written just for me.
Here was a company that cared about all the things that matter to me: building a strong culture, treating employees with respect, and building brilliant products.
It was hard to imagine leaving YouEarnedIt. But I was at a fork in my career. I needed to decide if I wanted to continue in product management or return to product marketing; it felt like an impossible choice. Besides, I wasn’t sure that an entirely distributed company would have the type of culture that I knew was important to me. And yet I could not stop thinking about Aha! — I needed to find out more.
The interview process was unlike any I’d experienced. Each person I spoke with at Aha! was not only an expert in their field, but they were caring and genuine people.
It was clear that at Aha! I would have the opportunity to work with product managers from many of the world’s top companies and to market a product that’s changing the way those companies innovate. I would be able to do that and be a part of a team that values inspiring, mentoring, and investing in employees. I had to accept.
Even before I officially started, I felt welcomed. So many Aha! team members reached out that, by the end of the first week, I felt like I had been embraced by a new family.
Since joining Aha!, I have had the pleasure to speak with product teams from all over the world. It is rare for a product marketing manager to lead live product demos and work so closely with customers. At Aha!, it is just the opposite — I am encouraged to immerse myself in all areas of the business. It is infinitely rewarding to show product managers that there is a better way.
Now I get to do what I’m passionate about (product marketing) for a function that I love (product management) — all for a company that is changing the future of innovation right now.
That is why I joined Aha! — and why you should too.