My name is Justin Waldorf — this is why I joined Aha!

Justin helps our customers build product with confidence. | Photo by Aha!

December 8, 2023

My name is Justin Waldorf — this is why I joined Aha!

by Why I Joined Aha!

How often do you try new things? Many people say it is always a good idea to stay open to new experiences. In general, I agree that curiosity helps you grow. But venturing into the unfamiliar can also be daunting, and especially if you are already happy where you are. If you are unsure, I find that it helps to focus on the "why" behind what you want to change.

To me, the best reasons to make a change — personal or professional — are sparked by a genuine desire to grow or learn something new.

I grew up in Buffalo, New York. From my family to football and of course, the chicken wings — it is a special place to me. My avid interest in volleyball led me to attend school out of state in Pennsylvania, where I played for a Division III team. After earning my degree in business, I was happy to return home to Buffalo to start my career.

My first job after college was in sales support at a major IT distributor. In that role, I helped to manage orders and create quotes for our resellers. This work was somewhat behind the scenes. But it felt good to help our sales team succeed. It also introduced me to what it is like to work for a large technology company.

Over the next few years, I became fascinated with the inner workings of the business. Working for a distributor meant I was exposed to hundreds of vendors and teams — each with its own ways of operating. I wanted to learn how different groups support each other and the overall organization. I also wanted to understand the processes that tie everything together. As my curiosity grew, I decided to transition roles.

I transferred to a program specialist position within the same business unit. My focus shifted to sales enablement: automating processes and improving our subscription billing, for example. I enjoyed that this work was different from the transactional nature of my first role. It was more project-based. But the best part was gaining a deeper understanding of how all the internal teams collaborated cross-functionally.

Almost six years into my time with the company, the COVID-19 shutdowns began. I was visiting Dallas, Texas, at the time and I was stuck, so I started working remotely like many other folks. The weeks passed, then months. I missed Buffalo, but it proved to be refreshing — so I decided to stay in Texas long-term. Being in a new place got me thinking about what else I was ready to change. And it felt like a good time for another shake-up.

I was ready to immerse myself in learning something new again. This time, that meant finding a new environment to grow.

In my job search, I came across Aha! and was immediately intrigued. The company's emphasis on remote work and sustainable happiness seemed genuine. And when I saw a post about the Aha! Associate Program, everything clicked. The program combined the support and project management elements of my past two roles, all while offering a lot of deeper knowledge about product development.

I joined the Aha! team as part of the first cohort of Product Associates with Finn and Becca. It was a new type of role for me and a new program for the company, which made it exciting. It felt like a bootcamp for all things product management and Aha! software — designed to help us get to know who our customers are as well as their goals for using our products.

Working on the Product Success team has helped me learn about creating lovable experiences. Each customer has their own products, processes, and challenges — it is a great feeling when I can help them get the most out of our software, whether that means offering a simple tip or answering questions on advanced functionality. I know it makes our customers happy, too. We share all of their positive feedback in our #lovability channel on Slack. That motivates me every day.

Building new skills is essential for improving your career — it also helps you to be more dependable and helpful to others.

Outside of the program, I have learned so much from the wonderful folks on the Aha! team. You can ask anyone on any team a question and get a thoughtful answer. You will hear the "how" and "why" behind every response. This team is already exceptional, but the way we help each other grow is what makes us even better.

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

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